Minor bumps, spots, and rashes are common as your baby’s delicate skin adapts to the environment around them. It might feel quite alarming to see something unusual on your baby’s skin, but rest easy that many of the most common irritations - such as cradle cap, nappy rash and mild cases of eczema - are relatively easy to manage, and usually clear up over time.
Despite that, we know it’s hard to see your baby in discomfort, so here’s a look at some of the most common irritations that affect young skin and what you can do about them.
Be on the Alert for Nappy Rash
Up to a third of babies and toddlers will experience nappy rash at some stage, so if you spot it, don’t worry - it’s very common. It often appears as red patches on the bottom, but can be visible around the whole area in contact with the nappy. Usually, the rash is caused by:
- Your baby’s skin being in contact with a wet nappy for a long time
- Nappies that are too tight
- Alcohol-based baby wipes
- Allergies to certain soaps, bubble baths, or even dyes in some nappies
If you notice a nappy rash, wash the area with a warm cloth and apply a zinc cream which has a drying effect that should help to clear up any seeping rashes. With proper hygiene and care, the issue should clear within around three days.
The good news is that most nappy rashes generally aren’t painful, but if it becomes severe you may notice that your baby seems a little uncomfortable.
To protect your baby’s skin against nappy rash in the future use a balm such as such as La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume, which protects and strengthens the barrier function of the skin.
Deal with Dry Skin
Dry, peeling skin is very common in newborn babies, especially if they are born a little late. The underlying layer of skin is usually perfectly healthy and the dryness should clear as the skin becomes less delicate to environmental stresses.
If you notice dry skin on your baby, add moisturising cleanser (such as Cetaphil RestoraDerm) to bath times to soothe and rehydrate the skin. Limit bath times to 10 minutes or less as longer exposure to warm water can remove the skin’s natural oils, and slather on a thick moisturiser directly after washing to lock in the skin’s hydration. Try a thick moisturising cream such as Unguentum M Cream, which is formulated with a blend of cream and ointments that have emollient properties to help prevent evaporation of moisture from the skin.
Control Cradle Cap
Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap can often show up during the first two months after your baby is born, but usually clears up within the first year. It commonly appears as a scaly, greasy, yellow rash on the scalp, eyebrows and eyelids, but it can also appear on the nose or behind the ears. Though it can look alarming, it is completely harmless and generally doesn’t cause discomfort.Most cases of cradle cap will clear by themselves without the need for intervention, but you can help to reduce the build up of scales by:
- regularly washing the scalp with a delicate baby shampoo
moisturise the patches overnight with a moisturising cream such as QV Intensive Ointment to soften the skin, and gently shampoo the area in the morning.
Outbreak of eczema?
Eczema is common in children who have a family history of asthma, allergies, or atopic dermatitis, and usually appears before the age of 5. In babies, it tends to show up first on the cheeks and scalp as a weepy rash, but over time it may spread to other parts of the body and become thicker and more scaly.
If eczema flare ups appear, it’s important to manage the symptoms with a daily routine (also known as an emollient therapy) to keep your baby’s skin well hydrated.
Replace drying soaps with a moisturising formula, such as Oliatum Junior Bath Additive, to cleanse the skin, and apply moisturisers morning and night. Cetraben Emollient Cream is specifically designed for delicate baby skin, and because of its irritant-free and protective nature, it is suitable for long-term use and can be applied to eczema patches on the face or over large areas of the body.
If your baby suffers from more severe eczema and requires prescription medicine, continue to incorporate a regular moisturising regime into your their daily routine to to protect the skin and prevent flare ups.
Stay safe in the sun
We all know how important it is to protect your baby’s skin from the sun, so be sure to apply a cream with a very high SPF (ideally 50+) that is has a broad range protection against UV-A, UV-B and Infrared-A to any exposed skin.
Choose a suncream or spray that is specifically formulated for young skin and that is free of preservatives, parafens and colourants, such as Ladival Sun Kids Lotion. Most guidelines suggest that creams shouldn’t be applied before your baby is 6 months old. If your baby is below 6 months old then instead cover their skin with loose clothing and keep them in the shade at all times.