Tips to Keep Baby’s Skin Healthy

Tips to Keep Baby’s Skin Healthy
Father changing diaper on baby girl

Because most newborn’s rashes are “normal”, there is generally no treatment needed except for patience. It’s important to ask the doctor for some guidance about what to expect when it comes to rashes and which require some additional treatment.

How to Avoid Diaper Rash

Close-up of infant with diaper rash

Diaper rash is often caused by irritation to the skin due to contact with urine, stool, and detergent. Sometimes it can be caused by yeast infections, bacterial infections, or even due to an allergy to diaper material. In general, most diaper rashes can be prevented by changing diapers when they are wet or soiled and allowing the diaper area to dry between changes. Using a topical barrier cream or ointment such as zinc oxide or A&D ointment can help.

Baby Acne

Close-up of acne on infant's cheek

Acne neonatorum also called neonatal or baby acne is caused by maternal hormones. The same hormones (estrogens) are involved in causing acne in adolescents. The big difference is that this will resolve on its own within a couple of weeks, and no treatment is needed.

Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum

Babies with erythema toxicum neonatorum will have a flea-bitten appearance.

Erythema toxicum neonatorum is the most common pustular (fluid-filled) eruption in newborns. More than half of all newborns develop this rash usually within two to three days after birth. Generally, the rash appears on the face or extremities and initially as a red raised eruption. Then they develop into a pustule with a “blotchy” appearance. The cause is unknown, however the lesions fade after a week, and there is no treatment needed. Sometimes this is confused with more serious infections of the skin. If there is fever associated with the eruption, further evaluation is needed.


Close-up of cafe-au-lait spot on infant

Birthmarks can be found in 5%-10% of all babies. Most of these are common nevi (areas of skin discoloration) and need no further evaluation. Birthmarks are generally divided into three groups: pigmented, vascular, and anatomic. Some birthmarks develop over time, and some are present at birth. Always talk to a pediatrician about any concerns about birthmarks.

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) on an infant's back

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a pruritic (itchy) rash that occurs in response to a specific exposure or allergy. It is generally seen in children over 3 months of age and appears most commonly on the scalp, face, trunk, extremities (elbows and knees), and even in the diaper area. Treatment is focused on avoiding the trigger and then allowing the skin to “heal.” This may include using moisturizers and even topical steroids.

Newborn’s Dry Skin

Newborn dry skin

Newborns often have very dry peeling skin in the initial period after birth. This is due to the fact that the infant has existed in a fluid environment for several months, and after birth, the skin cells start to regenerate, which results in the peeling of the old skin cells. There is no need to do anything since this will resolve on its own.


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