The skin is the largest organ in the body, and its function is very important to your health. It reduces the body’s loss of fluids and minerals, protects against infections and prevents the absorption of toxic substances. Add to that, the skin’s primary role in regulating the body’s temperature. So, if the skin’s function is vital for adults, what about the babies?! There is no doubt that your baby’s skin requires special attention and care, as it’s more vulnerable at young ages. Baby skin conditions can be caused by very high or very low temperatures, fungus and bacterial infections, drooling, allergies or wearing a wet nappy for too long. Most of these conditions clear up after a while without medical intervention, but some severe cases may require the use of creams, ointments, topical steroids and oral medications.
To give you an idea about these conditions along with the best ways to deal with them, The Dermo Lab reached out to the dermatologist Dr. Shaimaa Medhat.
The Most Common Babies’ Skin Conditions
Dr. Shaimaa shares with us the 4 most common babies’ skin problems:
1- Heat rash: You may wonder why this problem occurs much often with your newborn. The answer is, your baby’s sweat glands aren’t fully developed and can get blocked easily, especially in the hot and humid days. The excessive sweating may also be caused by the extra layers of clothing or swaddling. There are also some fabrics that do not allow perspiration to evaporate. In addition, high body temperature and certain creams and ointments might block the sweat glands and cause heat rash.
The most prominent symptom you can notice on your tiny one when suffering from heat rash is the appearance of small red bumps, especially on the covered skin areas, such as the back and bottom.
2- Nappy rash: It affects 35% of babies at some point in the first year of life and its incidence peaks at about 9-12 months of age. Nappy rash is caused by prolonged skin contact with urine and stools or excessive moisture from prolonged use of diapers. Friction from fabric, infection with a fungus or bacteria can also cause nappy rash, so it is always a good idea to consult a specialist.
The symptoms of such conditions are skin redness and blisters over the areas covered by diapers.
3- Cradle cap: Many mothers complain of this skin problem, as they witness pink to red patches on their baby’s scalp. Sometimes, other areas of the body are also affected, such as the neck, armpits and legs. Cradle cap causes skin to turn oily with white or yellow scales. This condition usually appears soon after birth and may recur 4-6 months after.
Cradle cap is a condition that occurs because of an overgrowth of a normal skin fungus, resulting from a stimulation from maternal hormones during pregnancy. It can also be caused by a high sebaceous gland secretion. However, in some babies, it may be an early sign of eczema.
4- Eczema (or Atopic Dermatitis): It does not only affect adults, but babies too. In fact, it is a skin problem that up to 20% of school-aged children suffer from, and for most patients, symptoms begin during the first year of life. And even though this condition improves as children get older, eczema can recur after months or even years, so you need to be aware of the good ways to control this problem.
Doctors still don’t know the exact cause of eczema but it is found to be a genetic immune response. Contributory factors that can trigger or worsen the condition include environmental factors (high temperature, house dust mites, viral infections, vaccinations …) or other factors such as soaps, creams and detergents.
So, be careful when you notice patches of red, itchy, rough and dry skin, typically on a baby’s cheeks and certain areas of the arms and legs joints.
How to Prevent baby skin conditions?
Dr. Shaimaa Medhat gives you some tips you can follow to prevent these common baby skin conditions:
- Put on your baby light clothes, especially at home.
- Avoid thick swaddling.
- Use mild cleansers without added fragrances or dyes.
- Keep the water’s temperature between 36 and 38 degrees Celsius during bath.
- Limit bath time to 5-10 minutes.
How to Treat these Skin Problems in Babies?
Sure, prevention is possible, but what if your baby has already developed any of the above-mentioned problems? Read the following treatment tips provided by Dr. Shaimaa Medhat.
1- Heat Rash Treatment
- Loosen your baby’s clothes and avoid swaddling.
- Give your baby cool and refreshing showers.
- Keep your baby’s room cool.
- Use light textured moisturizers instead of thick products.
- Use a mild topical steroid (e.g. hydrocortisone 1%, Desonide lotion) to reduce inflammation.
2- Nappy Rash Treatment
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently.
- Cleanse the diaper area with water and apply a barrier cream or moisturizer.
- In severe cases, the doctor can prescribe medicated creams or medications.
3- Cradle Cap Treatment
- Give your little one daily showers using a no-tear shampoo or a medicated one.
- Apply olive oil on your baby’s scalp, an hour before bath time. This will help loosen the scales.
- In severe cases, apply a topical steroid cream on the affected areas.
4- Eczema Treatment
- Give your baby a daily bath with slightly warm water and a mild soap or body wash.
- Use a towel to dry your baby after bath and gently pat the skin dry instead of rubbing to avoid irritation.
- Apply a moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients to prevent and control eczema flare-ups.
- In case of flare-ups, apply topical steroid creams.
So, to protect your baby’s skin, it’s crucial that you use the products from the leading brands in the field. That being said, we thought of sharing with you our favorite products from Klorane, the well-known brand for high-quality plant-based products.
For Baby Bathing:
– Gentle Cleansing Gel: This cleanser goes perfectly with your baby’s sensitive skin. It is a 2-in-1 product that you can use to wash your baby’s body and hair. Thanks to its natural ingredients such as calendula extract, this cleanser leaves skin moisturized and protected from dryness.
– Moisturizing Cream: This product is dedicated for your baby’s skin. It is enriched with calendula flower extract and plant oils which moisturize the skin and protect it against dryness. It also has a very soft and relaxing fragrance.
For Nappy Change:
– Cleansing Water No-Rinse: The easiest way to clean your baby’s skin when changing a nappy is to use a no-rinse cleansing water which removes all dirt and at the same time moisturizes the skin and soothes its irritation. Try it once and you won’t get disappointed!
– Eryteal 3 in 1 Diaper Change Ointment: Get rid of diaper rash with this cream that soothes skin irritation and reduces redness from the very first use. Apply it every time you change your baby’s nappy.