Taking care of common baby skin issues
Babies have especially delicate skin, and there are a range of skin issues that can develop quite suddenly. Some skin issues can develop even when you’re taking as much care as you can and remaining diligent at all times.
Thankfully, many babies experience skin issues that can be taken care of within the home. Whether it’s taking the right preventative care to stop an issue developing or worsening, finding the right skin cream treatment, or simply waiting for an issue to resolve itself, looking after a baby’s skin has a lot of different approaches depending on what the issue actually is. This blog goes through some common baby skin issues and what you can do to help where you can.
Preventing and treating nappy rash
Nappy rash is something that most parents will run into at some point, as up to one-third of babies will develop it at some point.
The most common causes of nappy rash are a lot of friction on the skin from the nappy, and situations where they aren’t able to get changed and cleaned for a length of time, like when they’re asleep.
But there are also plenty of other ways that it can develop. It might just be that your baby’s skin is particularly sensitive to an ingredient in a new washing powder you’re using, for example, or a recent course of antibiotics has made them a bit more sensitive than usual to skin issues.
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to both prevent and treat it when it does develop.
- Use baby wipes that are both alcohol-free and fragrance-free when thoroughly cleaning the area after each change.
- When dry, wait a while before putting on a new nappy to let fresh air get to the skin
- Instead of using talcum powder, apply a thin layer of a cream like zinc oxide to the area, which creates a protective barrier on the skin.
If nappy rash still occurs or worsens even with these steps, it may be that it’s case of fungal nappy rash instead. A conversation with your GP will help you find the right kind of effective treatment for your baby’s skin.
‘Prickly heat’ and why the right clothes are important
There are some skin issues that can develop in babies just through the environment they’re in. For example, a common problem that babies deal with is sweat rash, which is known as prickly heat.
Because they’re still young, their sweat glands haven’t fully developed yet, which means they can become easily blocked, especially when the weather is especially hot and humid. This can lead to trapped sweat, which causes a rash to develop.
Making sure that your baby’s clothes are breathable and comfortable is usually enough to help prevent this issue. Thick, padded clothes will stop sweat from evaporating properly, while looser clothes, possibly made from organic cotton, can help air circulate and keep your baby comfortable and happy while out in the sun.
Some clothes can cause skin issues just through constant friction, such as through fastenings like buttons and zips rubbing against the skin. If your baby doesn’t show discomfort, it can be hard to notice it until a visible rash develops. Consider using clothes that have protected fastenings, like with a strip of soft fabric between the fastening and your baby’s skin.
Harmless common baby skin issues
There are some skin issues that almost all babies develop and go through at some point, but, in many cases, there’s usually nothing to worry about and can be dealt with simply and easily within the home.
For example, most babies will experience cradle cap at some point during the first year or so of their life. This looks like greasy yellow scales, often found on the baby’s scalp and surrounding areas, but it can also affect the nappy area and armpits.
While it might look worrying, especially to first time parents, this is a harmless skin issue that doesn’t cause your baby any discomfort. It’ll usually clear up within a few weeks on its own, but you can help treat it at home simply by using a gentle shampoo on the baby’s scalp and following it up with a gentle brushing, which can help remove the scales.
Over half of all babies also experience what’s known as Erythema Toxicum, which looks like blotchy red skin patches with white or yellow spots. It might sound and look bad, but it’s actually completely harmless. It may show up after the first week of birth and clear up within a few days, while appearing to move around, appear and disappear in new places by the minute or hour.
If you’re ever concerned that something that could be a minor issue may be something worse, it’s always helpful to talk to your doctor or pharmacist, who can help provide you with advice and help provide you with peace of mind and treatment to help get your baby back to health and happiness.