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10 Common Newborn Skin Ailments

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What do you do when your baby has a fever or tummy ache, or she can't breathe because of a stuffy nose? With so many over-the-counter medications available for relieving infant ailments, it's easy to reach for one. After all, they do the trick. But there is a downside. The fever reducer or decongestant that's in the drugstore today might be tomorrow's recall. Already, the FDA has withdrawn several baby cold and cough remedies, issued warnings on others and is being advised to regulate Tylenol, the number one cause of liver failure in the U.S.

1. Cradle Cap

Asian newborn baby having a bath

This common newborn skin affliction is caused by a build-up of oil, scales, and skin cells, according to WebMD. Redness, crusty scales, and flaking are symptoms of cradle cap, which can appear on baby's scalp as well as behind the ears, in the folds of the neck, and the crooks of the arms and legs. The rash is harmless and generally goes away within baby's first year.

Treatment: Gently massage baby oil into your child's scalp an hour before shampooing to loosen the scales. When you're ready to shampoo, first wet the hair and massage your baby's head with a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to further loosen the scales. If frequent shampooing doesn't help, contact your doctor, who may prescribe a stronger cleanser.

2. Diaper Rash

Parent changing newborn's diapers

Babies often experience diaper rash, which is red, inflamed skin on their bottoms and genitals. It can be caused by skin sensitivities to diaper brands or wipes, wet or infrequently changed diapers, a yeast infection, or chafing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Babies suffering from diaper rash may be fussier and more irritable than usual--after all, their bottoms are sore!

Treatment: Try to keep your baby's skin as clean and dry as possible, says the Mayo Clinic. Change diaper frequently, and apply a diaper cream to heal and protect the affected area. If possible, allow your baby to go diaperless several times a day. Call your doctor if the rash worsens after two days of home treatment, is bleeding or oozing, or if it is accompanied by a fever.

3. Baby Acne

a baby suffering from acne

Tiny pimples on a baby's forehead, cheeks, and chin might develop around two to four weeks after birth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Untreated, it should clear up within three to four months.

Treatment: The Mayo Clinic recommends gently washing your baby's face and patting it dry during regular bathtimes. Avoid squeezing or scrubbing, and don't apply lotions or gels to your baby's face. Some moms have luck applying a small amount of breastmilk to the affected area.

4. Milia

Baby Milia skin

These small white bumps may appear on a newborn's nose and face soon after birth. Caused by blocked oil glands, they will clear up untreated within days or weeks of their appearance, according to WebMD.

Treatment: No treatment is recommended.

5. Jaundice

Jaundice in a newborn baby

Jaundice in infants is caused by a build-up of yellowish red blood cells called bilirubin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Most commonly seen in babies born before 38 weeks gestation, jaundice often occurs because the baby's liver isn't mature enough to rid these cells from its blood stream. The most common symptoms are yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, usually seen within two to four days of birth.

Treatment: To check for jaundice, gently press your baby's forehead. If the skin looks yellow where you pressed, your baby might have jaundice. Contact your pediatrician immediately to discuss possible medical treatments. While mild jaundice often clears up on its own, moderate to severe jaundice can be dangerous and requires treatment such as light therapy or medications.

6. Baby Eczema

The hand of a mother applying ointment to a baby's check

About 10-15% of babies will have some baby eczema, which appears as red patches of dry, rough, and itchy skin. WebMD says baby eczema is most commonly seen on a baby's cheeks and at arm and leg joints. It can be caused by dry skin, heredity, irritants, heat and sweat, and possibly food allergies.

Treatment: Treat mild eczema by moisturizing baby's skin daily with a lotion containing ceramides, says WebMD. Give 10 minute lukewarm baths to ease the itching, and keep baby's nails cut short to avoid scratching the skin, which can make the rash worse. Choose fragrance-free laundry detergents and baby products designed for sensitive skin.

7. Birthmarks

closeup of a baby's birthmark

It's common for newborns to have a colored mark somewhere on their body. Birthmarks come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, according to WebMD. Some types of birthmarks are caused by blood vessels bunched together, and others are the result of extra pigment in the skin. A baby's birthmark might be smooth and flush with the skin, or raised and lumpy. Nearly all are harmless.

Treatment: Be sure your pediatrician has seen your baby's birthmark and evaluated it; a very small percentage of birthmarks require medical attention. A baby's birthmark may fade or even disappear over time.

8. Heat Rash

Baby at the beach

A baby might show heat rash if fine, clear, or red spots appear on his skin, says the Mayo Clinic. Heat rash is generally caused by overdressing baby in hot, humid weather, or piling on too many layers during cooler months.

Treatment: Heat rash will disappear on its own once your baby has cooled off. If baby is outdoors, move him into the shade or inside to a cooler location. A cool bath can also help. In the winter months, dress your baby in layers so you can monitor his temperature and adjust the amount of clothing as necessary.

9. Roseola

a baby suffering from roseola

A rosy-pink rash on the torso, neck, and arms is one symptom of roseola, a virus that causes a mild illness in babies between six months and two years old. The rash, which generally follows a high fever, is not itchy.

Treatment: The rash associated with roseola will go away without medical treatment,says WebMD. Call your doctor for diagnosis and advice on managing your baby's fever.

10. Erythema Toxicum

a baby crying

Also known as newborn rash, erythema toxicum consists of small yellow or white bumps surrounded by red skin. It can appear anywhere on your baby's body. The rash affects as many as half of all newborns, says the U.S. National Library of Health. It usually appears within days of birth.

Treatment: No treatment is required or recommended for erythema toxicum, which will clear up on its own by four months of age.

 
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