Skin conditions in newborn babies

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

You can cut down on a lot of skin problems by taking care of the baby’s laundry. Use a gentle detergent to wash everything that touches your baby’s skin.

Here are some tips that will help you take care of your new born baby’s skin.

  1. Know what to expect: The new born baby’s skin is prone to many conditions. Some, like rashes and bumps, go away on their own, while others like eczema or a cradle cap, may not. You should never panic, and know what requires medical treatment and what doesn’t.
  2. Diaper rash: Diaper rashes are the commonest of all problems. They can happen if the diaper is too tight, if it is left on for a long time even after being wet, or as an allergy to certain brands of diapers. Whenever you see a reddish mark on the diaper area, clean it with a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Apply some zinc oxide cream on it. Leave the area open for as long as possible. Keep checking regularly if the baby has wet the diaper or not.
  3. Baby acne: Now this is not the acne that teenagers get. These are mild eruptions on the cheeks and nose, and fade away in a couple of days. They are caused by yeast.
  4. Birthmarks: Birthmarks are seen in 1 out of every 10 babies. They may be present right from birth, or may show up months later. In either case, they are nothing to worry about.
    Majority of the skin problems in a baby are harmless. If your baby has dark spots, or fever and is lethargic and cranky, then it is time to visit your pediatrician.
  5. Atopic dermatitis or eczema- This is a red rash that itches, and makes the baby cranky. Found to occur mostly on the, it may also be seen on the hands, abdomen, chest, and behind knees. It is a common occurrence in babies whose parents have asthma, or allergic tendencies. See your doctor immediately as this will not go away without proper medications.
  6. Dry skin: You may be worried if your baby has a dry skin type. This is quite common in babies who are born late. There is nothing to worry, as the skin underneath is perfectly healthy, soft, and supple. If this problem persists for more than a couple of weeks, consult your doctor.
  7. Cradle crap: Also known as seborrhoeic dermatitis, this shows up within the first month. It presents itself as dry, itchy, whitish flakes over the head, ears, and eyebrows. This is caused due to excessive scalp oil. Consult a pediatrician who will recommend a mild shampoo to absorb the oil from scalp.
  8. Heat rash: Small red rashes show up on the baby’s skin, where a lot of sweating occurs. The neck, knees, and back are commonly affected. Keep the clothes as loose of possible, so that the sweat doesn’t get a chance to accumulate.
  9. Do not powder your baby: Babies can inhale the fine particles of a talcum powder that can lead to lung problems. So, try not to dust your baby with talcum powder.
  10. Milia: If you see small white eruptions around your baby’s nose, cheeks and eyes, do not worry. These are milia that occur due to blocking of pores. They will vanish in a few days as the pores get unblocked.