A baby’s skin can be prone to many types of rashes as it is a lot more sensitive and vulnerable than adult skin. Most baby rashes are not serious and disappear on their own without causing any harm. But some baby rashes can be a sign of an underlying health issue and cause irritation and discomfort in babies.
Here you can find a list of the most common and some serious baby rashes, their causes, and treatment that can help you identify what kind of rash your baby has and know better about your baby’s skin problems.
Common Causes Of Baby Rashes
Babies’ skin is ultra-sensitive and there can be many different causes that can affect your baby’s skin. Some of the most common causes of baby rashes are as under.
- Moisture: damp diaper, saliva, sweat, and humid environment can cause rashes on baby’s skin.
- Heat: Heat, sweat in skin folds, high temperature, direct exposure in the sun can also cause baby rashes.
- Friction: Babies have soft and gentle skin, rough or tight clothes can also be a cause of baby rashes.
- Allergies: Some baby foods, products or environmental factors can trigger allergies in babies which can result in rashes.
- Chemicals: Some baby products can contain high chemicals that can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin and cause rashes.
Types Of Baby Rashes
Although babies rashes are rarely a matter of medical concern, some babies rashes can stay longer than usual and cause itchiness and irritation on the baby’s skin and needs to be treated medically.
Here, the types of babies rashes are divided into two categories depending on their severeness.
Common Baby Rashes
1. Drool Rash
Drool rashes, as suggested by the name, are caused by excessive drooling in babies. It is natural for babies to drool and that’s not a problem but the skin around their mouth, cheeks, chin, and even their chest area can get irritated by being wet all the time.
Babies Drool rashes generally look like red patches with little bumps around the mouth or other saliva-affected areas. It mostly occurs when babies drool while they’re asleep and the saliva remains on their skin for too long.
It is sometimes termed as milk rash in babies as it can also occur if smeared milk or food is left on the baby’s face or neck. Excessive baby lotion can also cause a baby rash on the face or body.
2. Diaper Rash
Diaper rashes are the most common type of babies rashes that a baby can have. These rashes are fungal rashes because fungus and bacterias multiply in warm, moist, and dark places and your baby’s diaper can be one such place.
A diaper rash or nappy rash can also occur due to irritation or infection by a baby’s own poop or urine.
These are red spots or marks that can be either flat or bumped in appearance, located at your baby’s butts or genital area or they can even be on the skin under the waistband of the diaper if the diaper is too tight.
3. Baby Acne
Acne in babies can occur at the mere age of 2-4 weeks and can last up to 4 to 6 months of age but it doesn’t cause any pain or leave marks on the baby’s skin so it’s not a matter of concern.
Baby acne is small white or red bumps that can be seen on a baby’s cheeks, nose, or forehead. Dermatologists are still unsure about the actual cause of baby acne but some believe that it occurs due to the presence of mother’s hormones in an infant’s body at the time of birth.
Usually, there is no need for any treatment for baby acne as any OTC ointment or cream can worsen the case so avoid using them. Also, don’t try to poke or squeeze them as this may hurt the fragile skin of your baby.
4. Cradle Cap
Just like adults, babies can have dandruff too and when a baby has the problem of dandruff he/she is said to have a cradle cap or crib cap, scientifically known as seborrheic dermatitis.
Cradle cap is commonly found in babies up to the age of 3 months and it naturally goes away at 1 to 4 years of age without any medical treatment.
The cradle cap should not be confused with baby eczema.
5. Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)
Heat rash in babies is very common in warm weather and especially if you live in a tropical region or warm coastal region then your baby is at a greater risk of getting a heat rash.
The main causes of heat rash in babies/kids are :
- Higher body temperature than adults
- Excessive sweating/ overheating due to playing
- Underdeveloped sweat glands
All this results in the appearance of small red or colorless bumps on babies’ skin which are also called prickly heat in common language and Miliaria in scientific terms.
Heat rashes can be commonly seen on more heated areas of skin or areas which mostly remain covered in clothes like:
You can see below for heat rash treatment.
6. Erythema Toxicum
Erythema toxicum is a type of baby rash which appears soon after birth in the initial 2 weeks of a newborn. It is usually harmless and doesn’t cause any itching or irritation to the baby. Though it can scare some new parents who don’t have the right information about it, like these red patches spread from the baby’s face to his/her entire body.
Its exact cause is still unknown but it is believed that it occurs due to the mother’s hormones or by an infant’s skin getting used to its new surroundings.
Milia is another type of common baby rash. It appears mostly on the nose as white or colorless bumps. If you think your baby has milia, you don’t have to worry as it is a harmless baby rash that occurs just because your kid may have blocked oil glands.
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Serious Baby Rashes
As said earlier, some baby rashes are harmless and don’t cause anything more than itchiness and little irritation but some baby rashes can signify an underlying health issue that can have a long-term effect on your baby’s well-being and therefore, are termed as serious baby rashes.
Here’s a list of some serious baby rashes.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a long-term medical condition in which skin becomes red, scaly, and itchy. This can be found in both adults and babies. Eczema in babies is often called infant eczema.
The thing about eczema that gets it into the serious baby rash category is that kids who have eczema at an early age can have hayfever or asthma in the future (in some cases).
But you don’t have to worry because in most cases, babies grow out of eczema with the help of the right treatment. Only in rare cases, eczema can stay till adulthood.
In babies, eczema is mostly found on the face and/or bends of knees and elbows. It can also occur on the scalp and sometimes people get confused in cradle cap vs eczema.
The main cause of eczema in babies is the genetics of the parents. Other than that, there can be other factors too that can trigger eczema in babies, which are as follows :
- Certain types of soap/shampoo
- Pollen or other irritants in the environment
- Some kind of baby food or cow milk
2. Hand Foot And Mouth Disease
Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is one of the viral rashes in babies. It is a contagious disease caused by coxsackievirus
As suggested by the name, it appears as sores or blisters in the mouth and rashes on hands and feet. It can be usually seen in kids under 5 years of age.
Although it can go away on its own, it is still kept on the list of serious baby rashes because it comes along with other discomfiting symptoms.
Symptoms Of Hand foot And Mouth Disease :
- Sore throat
3. Fifth Disease
The fifth disease is a viral baby rash disease caused by Parvovirus B19. In this disease, red rashes are seen mostly on a baby’s cheeks therefore it is also called Slapped cheek disease.
Rashes can also occur on a baby’s hands, feet, and/or torso. Rashes are the primary visible symptoms of this disease.
Other Symptoms Of Fifth Disease Are As Follows.
- Light fever
- Stuffy nose/ runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Sometimes even vomiting or diarrhea
Although it is very common in children under the age of 5, the fifth disease can be very harmful to pregnant ladies. So if you think your baby has fifth disease, keep him/her away from getting in contact with any pregnant women or other children.
No specific treatment for the fifth disease is required if your child is healthy but if your baby’s immune system is weak, you should consult your pediatrician.
4. Erythema Multiforme
Erythema multiforme is another form of a baby rash that occurs as a side effect of some sort of drug (medicine) or any other infection.
It appears as red bumps or spots on the hands and feet of your baby. Unlike erythema toxicum, these rashes can grow into blisters.
These rashes disappear by themselves in 3 to 6 weeks. Still, it is better to take the advice of your doctor because erythema multiforme has other symptoms too like fever and fatigue.
Ringworm, also known as tinea, is a contagious rash. It looks like a ringworm-like shape on the skin. It can be seen anywhere on your baby’s skin.
People get confused by its name and take it as a worm-caused rash but it is actually a fungal rash. It can be treated with OTC (over-the-counter) antifungal cream. But in the case of an infant baby, it is better to take advice from a doctor before using any OTCs.
Impetigo is a bacterial rash in babies. It is a highly contagious infection that is usually found on hands, legs, or face in adults.
Whereas in babies it is usually found in the diaper area as the bacteria needs a dark, moist, and warm place to grow.
It is most common in children under the age of 2 to 5 years. It appears as sores with a yellow crust which results from infection in any cut, wound, or broken skin.
If you see any sign of impetigo in your baby, take them to their doctor who can help in diagnosing and treating impetigo. Usually, it lasts not more than 7-10 days.
Hive is another form of a baby rash that occurs as a result of an allergic reaction to a medication and/or irritant factor present in the environment.
It occurs mostly in warm and humid environments therefore it is suggested to avoid tight or layered clothes for babies in warm weather.
It appears as red or skin-colored itchy bumps that can be stingy or painful at times. Though hive disappear in 2-3 days on their own, if it doesn’t, it is termed a chronic hive and in such a case, you should consult a doctor for your kid.
Baby Skin Problem Pictures
To better understand what baby rashes look like take a look at these pictures of baby rashes –
Home Remedies For Baby Rash On Body
As we read above baby rashes can occur due to many reasons. Some rashes need to be treated with medication and some others get better on their own.
But almost all types of rashes cause inflammation, irritation, and itchiness on the skin. You can try the following home remedies to treat baby rashes that can soothe down your baby’s skin without causing any side effects.
- Aloe Vera: Almost everyone is familiar with the healing powers of this plant these days. You can not just use aloe vera gel for your skin but it is safe for babies too. (only apply on the affected area or rash)
- Cool Damp Cloth: Cold treatment always works to ease down the irritation and inflammation of skin rashes. Instead of using a cold compress or ice directly, it is better to gently dab a rash-affected baby’s skin with a cool damp piece of cloth.
- Natural Oils: As you read above, many baby rashes can occur due to dry skin and natural oils like coconut oil and tea tree oil can rejuvenate your baby’s skin. Pure natural oils do not have any bad side effects thus are perfect for sensitive baby skin.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is an age-old home remedy for itchy skin. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is basic in nature and thus it can neutralize the acid of a rash, bug bite, or plant allergy on the skin. Use it in diluted form and apply to the affected area.
- Oatmeal: Oats are another great home remedy for skin information and itchiness caused by rashes. In fact, a lot of OTC skincare products contain oatmeals these days. You just need to soak a cup of ground oats in the lukewarm water and give your baby a bath with it.
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How To Get Rid Of Baby Rash On Face?
Rashes on babies’ faces are very common and mostly harmless. And no parent wants to see rash marks on their baby’s cute face so try these tips to get rid of baby rashes on face. (If the rashes remain and cause irritation, visit your doctor)
- Wash your baby’s face with lukewarm water at least twice a day.
- Avoid harsh soap or cleansers.
- Use fragrance-free mild baby soap.
- Always remember to hydrate your baby’s skin with a fragrance-free natural moisturizer.
- You can even use natural skincare solutions like coconut oil or shea butter to moisturize your baby’s dry skin.
- Use ointment with zinc-oxide or simply use petroleum jelly on the baby’s face
- Do not scrub sensitive areas while washing baby’s face
- Gently dab dry with a soft, clean cloth after washing the baby’s face.
When To Worry About Rash On Baby?
Baby rashes are hardly a matter of worry but if your baby is having all the following symptoms (or any of them) accompanied by rashes, you should visit a doctor.
- High fever
- cough/sore throat
- Pain or stinging (baby is crying more than usual)
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue (baby looks weak or inactive)
- Swelling on the neck or anywhere on the body
If your infant is having any of the above conditions, call your doctor immediately.
When To Take Your Baby To The ER For A Rash?
It is very rarely seen that a baby rash can cause an emergency.
But if your baby is showing the following symptoms it is possible that your little one may have Meningitis Rash
- High fever
- Stiffness in neck, shoulders, and back (baby trying to arch backward)
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Irregular behavior (neurological behavior)
- A bulge on the top of baby’s head
Meningitis rash or infection is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY. If you think your baby is infected with meningitis visit your doctor ASAP or CALL 911.
Baby Skin Rashes Treatment
1. Eczema Rash Treatment
If you think your baby is having an eczema rash, you should consult a dermatologist who can easily identify the type of eczema your baby has and will prescribe medication accordingly.
Along with that, you can yourself do some tiny things to ease down the irritation of your baby’s eczema which are as follows:
- Give your baby a warm water bath for not more than 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use fragrance-free soap/cleanser
- Avoid scrubbing as this can hurt the sensitive skin of your baby
- Don’t forget to moisturize your baby’s skin after a bath
- Use a fragrance-free moisturizer, twice a day
- Use topical corticosteroids on your doctor’s advice
- Keep a diary to record and identify what triggers flare-ups in your baby.
- Eliminate contact with triggers and allergens.
2. Diaper Rash Treatment
Although diaper rashes don’t need any treatment, they can disappear on their own in just 2-3 days but if a nappy rash looks irritated you can apply aquaphor healing ointment or petroleum jelly for babies to soothe the skin.
To prevent diaper rash, change your baby’s diaper frequently possibly, right after it’s soiled. Avoid draping the diaper too tightly and keep trying to keep the baby diaper-free at least once a day as this will help the diaper area to stay dry and clean.
You can use wet wipes to clean the baby’s sensitive skin.
But avoid alcohol-based, fragranced wipes as this can furthermore irritate your baby’s sensitive skin
3. Drool Rash Treatment
Drool rashes do not need any specific medical treatment but you can definitely soothe down your baby’s irritated skin.
If your baby is having drool rash, wash the affected area twice a day with lukewarm water and make sure to dry the area by gently patting with a soft, clean cloth.
You can use baby cream/healing lotion on the affected area or use petroleum jelly if you don’t have any healing ointment or cream. The petroleum jelly will act as a protective layer and will prevent the rash from getting in contact with more drool.
To prevent drool rash keep a soft clean handkerchief handy to gently wipe off excess drool or you can use a baby bib to prevent your baby’s skin or clothes from getting soaked in drool.
4. Heat Rash Treatment
Usually, a heat rash goes away on its own in 3 days to 1 week without any treatment but in the meantime, it can cause itching, irritation, and sometimes even pus on your baby’s skin, therefore some self-care is necessary.
To treat a heat rash baby, follow these tips :
- Keep baby in a cool ventilated room
- Avoid direct sun or heat as this can irritate the skin even more
- Do not use adults prickly heat powder or ice to cool down your baby’s skin
- You can use a cool, wet cloth or give the baby a bath with cold water (not too cold, room temperature water is enough for little babies)
- Avoid tight clothes, soft, cottony clothes are suggested
- You can use steroid cream or lotion on the advice of your doctor.
5. Treatment of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Although HFMD goes away on its own in 7 to 10 days after completing its course of time, it is still better to do some remedial actions to ease down its symptoms as it can be a lot to handle for your young ones.
You can take the following measures to treat the symptoms of hand foot and mouth disease
- You can give OTC oral pills or syrup for sore throat, headache, and fever on the advice of a certified doctor.
- Avoid giving aspirin or any other adult’s OTCs without the advice of a doctor.
- Keep your baby hydrated. Make sure the baby pees at least 3 times a day if not, contact your doctor.
- Give your baby cold or easy to eat food that can ease the pain of mouth blister
Hand foot and mouth disease is caused by getting in contact
with feces-contaminated surfaces. Therefore, prevention of
hand foot and mouth disease can be done by simply practicing daily hygiene.
- Make sure to wash your hands before getting in contact with your newborn
- If your child is a little older, teach them to properly wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating, and after coming from outside.
- Clean the surfaces of your home with a disinfectant.
- Clean your baby’s toys, high chair, crib with a mild ammonia-free disinfectant spray If your baby goes to daycare, keep him home until he gets well and talk to the daycare about cleanliness and hygiene.
Common Measures to Prevent Baby Rash
Yes, baby rashes are treatable and common but it is even better if you can prevent your baby from getting them.
You can follow these common measures to prevent baby rashes.
- Maintaining basic hygiene.
- Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry.
- Changing diaper frequently
- Avoid tight clothes.
- Be careful while choosing your baby’s skincare products
- Avoid contact with allergens, irritants, or persons with symptoms of any rashes or other infections.
- Vaccinating your baby on time as advised by your baby’s doctor.
- Maintain a dairy record for any reaction that the baby has against any new product, food, or any other factor.
As young parents, it could be very scary to see your baby suddenly having a spread of rashes all over their body or face but don’t worry as most of the babies rashes are either treatable or disappear on their own without causing much damage to your baby’s skin.
But if you are still worried about your little one having a fever or irritation from a rash, see your doctor. Also, it is very important to educate yourself about all the bad guy- allergens out there who can cause rashes to your baby and that is the only purpose of this article.
Hopefully, you found this read helpful.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
If your baby has any kind of spots, bumps, or patches on their face or anywhere on the body which could be red, pink, white, clear, or even skin-colored in appearance, your baby might have a rash.
If your baby is having a high fever, cough, cold, vomiting, or oozing then you should immediately call your doctor.
An allergy rash (usually food allergy) appears as red or pink bumps on the skin which are itchy and irritating.
If a rash is widespread on the body and is accompanied by high fever, oozing, spreading rapidly, and looks infected then you should visit a doctor.
If a child’s rash is followed by high temperature, is painful, pus oozing, and causing any other allergy then it is advised to call your pediatrician immediately.
Usually, acute allergy rashes last for a week or so and a chronic rash maybe last for almost a month (can vary depending on the type of rash, refer to above text for details)
A food allergy rash may be caused by cow milk, nuts, soy, eggs, shellfish, and/or wheat.
Viruses such as rubella, coxsackievirus, parvovirus b19, mononucleosis, zika virus, etc. are responsible for some known viral rashes.