Identifying Infant Skin Conditions

Baby and toddler skin conditions can be both an annoyance for the child, and a major concern for the parents.

Dr. Li-Chuen Wong, a dermatologist specialising in young skin, has spoken to us about infant skin conditions. Here is some information on common infant skin conditions. If you are concerned about your baby, seek advice from your healthcare professional.

Baby has spots at birth

Erythema toxican (or baby acne) is a rash that can come up after birth. This can usually be recognized by blotchy, red, scabby areas which resemble acne spots. The main areas that can be affected are the baby’s arms and face, however it can also appear all over the body. Although this rash may bother you, it does not bother your baby.

It is best to go to the doctor if: it doesn’t clear up after 2-3 weeks, or if skin is noticeably inflamed or red.

Ego recommends: Baby acne does not require treatment. Continue with regular cleansing and moisturizing as part of your baby’s skincare routine, using products which are fragrance-free, soap-free and suitable for sensitive skin, such as QV Baby Gentle Wash which will avoid drying out the skin during cleansing. For moisiturising, consider using similar products with no fragrance additives such as QV Baby Moisturising Cream.

Baby has a crusty, flaky scalp

This may be a common condition called Cradle Cap, which in most cases lasts for no more than the first 12 months. It can be very tempting to pick the crusty areas off, however resist this urge and instead use a suitable cradle cap cream or lotion to gently massage into the baby’s scalp an hour or so before bath time, and then wipe over the scalp during bath time. The cradle cap may appear to clear after daily management using the above method; however it is likely to return so continue this routine on a daily basis. If you are concerned, seek advice from your health practitioner.

Ego recommends: The use of a cradle cap lotion, which is specifically formulated with an oil-base to help loosen and remove the signs of cradle cap.

Baby has armpit, groin and face cradle cap Flaky, crusty skin on the armpit, groin or facial areas may be seborrheic dermatitis which appears as a waxy scale with a yellowish colour. Similarly to cradle cap, it is advised to massage a suitable cream or lotion onto the areas an hour or so before bath time, and wash over with a warm cloth. Repeat this daily.

It is best to go to the doctor if: The areas start to worsen. It may be worth asking your health practitioner about the use of a mild topical steroid on these areas.

Ego recommends: The use of a cradle cap lotion, which is specifically formulated with an oil-base to help loosen and remove the signs of cradle cap.

Baby has blistering sores suddenly appearing

If you have noticed blistering sores appearing on the body or face, these may be chicken pox. The chicken pox virus is very common, and even children that have been vaccinated have a small chance of catching the virus. It is important to keep the child away from others while the virus is most active

(or until the spots have dried out), as chicken pox is infectious. If you are pregnant, it may be wise to have your partner look after the unwell child as chicken pox can have some consequences for unborn babies.

It is best to see a doctor: See a doctor straight away to receive a diagnosis. They may suggest the use of antihistamines to reduce scratching and the resulting scars.

Ego recommends: Using a product such as Pinetarsol Solution to soothe the itch and relieve inflammation.

Baby has dry, itchy and red patches

The appearance of these red, itchy & dry patches can start in babies while they are quite young. It is most commonly known as eczema. Eczema has no known cause; however it is believed to be linked to certain genes which make it hereditary. Although it is manageable, there is no known cure.

There are some common triggers of eczema flare-ups including, woolen or lamb skin clothing, changes in the weather, even certain foods. For this reason it may be wise to list what your baby eats to monitor possible triggers. Also, avoiding rough surfaces and substances on baby’s skin may help reduce instances of eczema.

According to Dr. Wong, the most effective strategy for resolving eczema quickly is to see your health practitioner and begin using a prescribed cortisone cream. Eczema flare-ups can result in loss of sleep for children and babies, which can impact their moods so it is best to act quickly.

It is best to see a doctor: At the onset of symptoms appearing go to your doctor for advice and a professional diagnosis. Also seek professional advice during severe eczema flare ups.

Ego recommends: It is best to avoid products with perfumes, including soaps, bubble baths, shampoos and even fabric softeners. Consider using bath oils and washes that have been designed for use with eczema flare-ups, such as QV Flare Up Wash and QV Flare Up Oil.

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Baby has nappy area inflammation or irritation

Nappy rash is very common for infants and can be more difficult to deal with if eczema or psoriasis is also involved. Nappies that are not absorbent enough – such as cloth nappies – can be problematic, therefore it is encouraged to change cloth nappies more regularly to prevent moisture lingering on the skin.

It is best to see a doctor: If skin degradation or ulceration begins to occur. The skin condition psoriasis can also be seen in babies. Psoriasis appears as a honey-glazed area of rash with some clear demarcation.

Ego recommends: It is best to only use wipes without fragrance on nappy rash.

Baby has fine pink rash

The combination of a runny nose, temperature and fine pink rash is usually a good indicator that this is a viral rash. There are many levels of severity, from hardly noticeable to very obvious, and in most cases this will take 7-10 days to come and go. However, if baby contracts another virus, the rash can reappear.

It is best to see a doctor if: You have any concerns about the viral rash, however most of the time these rashes do not require treatment.

Baby has visible pearly papules

Kids and babies may develop these pearly papules after swimming in heated swimming pools. This is usually an indication of the molluscum virus, which appears as raised bumps resembling whiteheads on the skin. It is advised to stop swimming and bathing in a bath temporarily, instead showering kids and babies until the virus clears. Go to see your health practitioner, as they will provide advice on how to remove the virus, and may even prick the papules to remove the viral particle within each papule.

Dr. Li-Chuen Wong helped us identify some of the above infant skin conditions. In the case of most of the above skin conditions, it is encouraged that you take your child or baby to see your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns.

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