Baby skin: soft, delicate – and prone to a number of common conditions. Work out just what these odd marks and pimples mean – and what to do
If anything makes your complexion seem less than perfect, it’s looking at your baby’s skin. Soft, peachy, glowing with health.
But as your baby grows, her skin will need extra attention for it to stay this way as it starts to react to the environment.
‘Almost two-thirds of babies suffer from complaints such as dryness and cradle cap, and half of the mums I see at their six-week check-up have questions about their baby’s skin,’ says GP Leon Clark.
As babies get older, the natural bacteria on their skin kicks in and helps to protect it, but until then, you’ll need to play skincare detective to care for your baby’s skin.
Nappy rash is perhaps the most common skin concern with little ones. It happens when their skin is irritated by rubbing from nappies, wee, poo or cleaning products/wipes. Their skin will be red, sore and blotchy.
Changing nappies as soon as they are dirty, applying a barrier cream or changing nappy brain if a particular type sets it off are all ways to prevent nappy rash. It will usually clear up after a few days.
Read our guide to the three different types of nappy rash and how to treat them
Thrush is quite obvious in children as it results in a white coating on your baby's tongue or white spots that cannot be rubbed off. Babies are often affected by oral thrush and although it is harmless, you and your little need to use treatment to clear it up as it will be transferred by breastfeeding.
If left untreated, breastfeeding can become painful for mums.
Check out our guide to thrush in babies and how to treat it.
Chickenpox is commong and mainly affects children but it is possible to catch it at any age. After about a week it tends to get better without needing to see a doctor.
Chickenpox are red spots that can appear all over the body and the spots can fill with fluid or blister and burst. There are other symptoms such as a high temperature, aches, feeling unwell and loss of appetite. The spots are very itchy and can really irritate children but it is worse in adults which is why people often throw chickenpox parties to prevent their children getting it in later life.
Here's everything you need to know about chicken pox in small children
Atopic eczema is common in children and causes the skin to become itchy, inflamed, red and cracked. It often occurs in areas where the skin folds such as the neck, elbows, behind the knees and around the eyes and ears. Eczema is a long-term condition but often clears up in children at around 11. There are certain creams
that can be prescribed by your doctor to help soothe the symptoms.
Check out our complete guide to eczema in babies and toddlers
Baby skin is more prone to burning than adults’, so keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible.
‘Sun protection is very important,’ says Anna. ‘Studies have shown that if you are exposed to too much sun when you’re a baby, you’re at higher risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers as an adult.’
If your baby develops tiny red spots or blotches on her face or body, it’s probably heat rash
, which will disappear as soon as she cools down.
Now read: 5 things you should know about baby sun care this summer
11) Viral rashes
There is no hard and fast rule about viral rashes, so it’s best to see a doctor if you’re worried.
‘After a virus, a child will sometimes develop a harmless red rash,’ says Leon. ‘This will get better without treatment, but don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you’re concerned.’
If a rash doesn’t blanch when pressed with a glass, it could be meningitis – so you’ll need to call 999.
Occasionally a rash can be a sign of illness such as slapped cheek syndrome.
Both conditions are minor and usually clear up on their own, but you’ll need a doctor to make the diagnosis.
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