Skin Conditions in Babies and Toddlers
Babies are prone to rashes, but the good news about your newborn’s rashes is that most cause no harm and go away on their own. In order to allay anxiety, it is important to recognise some of the common skin conditions we see in toddlers and learn how to manage them.
1. Diaper Rash
Most Diaper Rashes occur because of skin irritation due to diapers that are too tight, wet diapers left on for too long, or a particular brand of detergent, diapers, or baby wipes. The skin can become very red and inflamed and it can cause itch and irritation.
Avoid it by keeping the diaper area open to the air as long as possible, changing your baby’s diaper as soon as it is wet, washing with a warm cloth, and applying zinc oxide cream.
2. Pimples and Whiteheads
Babies can actually develop acne on the face, because of the exposure to mum’s hormones. This causes oil production in the facial glands and can result in clogging of the openings. Pimples on baby’s nose and cheeks usually clear up by themselves in a few weeks. If the pimples are very large or extensive, topical agents can be used for a short period of time until everything clears.
You should see your doctor if the toddler’s acne does not go away after a few weeks, and continues to persist for months. This is unusual and may occasionally indicate an underlying medical issue.
3. Cradle Cap
Cradle Cap can show up during baby’s first or second month, it usually clears up within the first year. It is also called Seborrheic dermatitis. Cradle Cap is caused by excess oil and shows up as a scaly, waxy, red rash on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, the sides of the nose, or behind the ears. Gentle shampoos, and the use of olive oil to dislodge some of the stuck on scales usually suffice.
4. Prickly Heat
Showing up as small pinkish-red bumps, Prickly Heat usually appears on the parts of your baby’s body that are prone to sweating, like the neck, diaper area, armpits, and skin folds. A cool, dry environment, and loose-fitting clothes are all you need to treat Prickly Heat rash.
Half of all newborns get the little white bumps known as Milia. These usually appear on the nose and cheeks, and can look a little bit like can. They are caused by skin flakes blocking oil glands, trapping the contents within. As the baby’s glands open up over the course of a few days or weeks, the bumps will disappear, and there is no need for any treatment.
6. Atopic Eczema
Atopic Eczema is the mostcommon skin condition affecting babies and children that we deal with. It is due to inflammation within the skin, and there is often a genetic predisposition (one or both parents may have a history of Eczema, Asthma or Allergic Rhinitis).
There are some clues as to the diagnosis, the baby has dry skin, and when Eczema flares up, it causes a red itchy rash to appear on various parts of the body, including the cheeks and skin folds. In toddlers, it also commonly causes fissures, or what looks like tiny cuts, at the base of the earlobes.
When Eczema flares, it can look oozy and have a wet appearance. When it is more chronic, the skin appears dry and can be thickened. Besides seeing your doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment, it is a good idea to use moisturisers and non-soap cleansers daily.
Anti-histamines may be given when required to relieve itching, and topical steroids may need to be applied to the red and rough areas until the rash clears. Although there may be some concern about possible side effects of topical steroids, in most cases they are very safe and effective, provided the appropriate strength is prescribed and you follow the instructions.