Delicate newborn skin is susceptible to any number of rashes and irritations.
Most are harmless and go away on their own, but if they are associated with fever, irritability, lethargy or poor feeding, you should seek professional health advice for your child.
Here are five common conditions to look out for...
This is a thick, yellow, oily crust that appears on a baby’s scalp and eyebrows, usually before three months of age. It’s unsightly, but not serious or contagious. The crusts form as natural body oils get caught in dead skin cells on your little one’s scalp. They can be removed by first softening them with natural products, such as breast milk or organic coconut oil. Leave the softening agent on the scalp for a few hours, before washing the area with a mild shampoo. Comb out scales using a soft brush or toothbrush, then rough up scalp with a wet washer. Repeat the process as often as the scales continue to appear.
These tiny, white cysts below the skin are formed when keratin is trapped behind oil glands. The bumps are usually seen on the nose, cheeks and upper torso a few days after birth and are not painful or itchy. They usually disappear within a few week’s once bub’s oil glands mature and expand. No treatment is required, but avoid lotions or fragrant products on the skin.
Also known as prickly heat, this consists of small red bumps that occur when sweat becomes trapped under blocked pores. Tiny, red, fluid-filled blisters appear in places that overheat, such as the back of the neck and shoulders, chest, armpits, elbow creases and groin.
Cool these areas by dressing your baby in clothing made from natural fibres. Remove the waterproof cover from your baby’s mattress, and keep the sides of the cot clear for airflow. If the rash doesn’t improve, get it checked by a doctor.
This rash tends to be red and weepy, appearing in the first six months on the face and scalp. As your baby gets older, the rash can form behind the knees, elbows and wrists. Protect bub’s skin as much as possible. Apply fragrance-free, non-plant extract moisturisers twice daily. Wash clothes in mild detergents and avoid fabric softeners. Topical ointments may be needed during flare-ups.
This happens when the skin under bub’s nappy becomes inflamed. Baby wipes, detergents containing preservatives, fragrances, stale wee and poo and other chemicals are harsh on delicate skin and damage its protective barrier. So, your main aim is to prevent nappy rash in the first instance.
If there is a rash, clean up after regular nappy changes with warm water and a soft cloth. Hold the little one over the bath and splash warm water with sea salt on the affected area for added cleansing. Gently pat dry with a soft cloth or air-dry with nappy-free time. Apply a thick layer of breast milk, natural yoghurt (sugar-free), or a barrier product such as pawpaw ointment before putting on a clean nappy. If it persists, talk to your doctor.