Skincare for Baby
3 Common Baby Rashes
Your baby’s delicate skin is prone to irritations that go beyond diaper rash. Here are some facts to help new parents recognize the three most common rashes: heat rash, baby acne and eczema.
What You Need to Know
Tiny pimples on the cheeks, red patches on baby’s torso or belly, white bumps on the nose: Baby’s delicate skin is vulnerable to irritations. Learn how to identify the most common infant skin conditions, gently manage them and keep your little one comfortable.
Tips for Baby Rashes
- Baby’s skin should be treated with products free of ingredients that may disrupt their delicate skin barrier.
- Use gentle products designed to support baby’s developing skin barrier, the skin’s outermost layer that helps maintain hydration levels and protect against external aggressors.1
- Look for skincare products, such as CeraVe Baby products, that contain ceramides.
- Seek treatment from a pediatrician or dermatologist, as some rashes require specifically formulated ointments and medications.
Miliaria (Heat Rash)
The tiny pink bumps caused by miliaria, also known as heat rash or prickly heat, can appear suddenly, often on the face, and sometimes on the chest or in the folds of the neck, arms, legs and diaper area. 2
Its cause? This rash occurs when sweat gets trapped under the skin.3 Babies are more prone to heat rash than adults because they have small sweat glands and are less able to regulate their body temperature2. As its nickname implies, miliaria often appears when it’s warm and humid, but it can also occur with tight clothing or swaddles.
If you suspect your baby has heat rash, keep skin cool, clean and dry. Make sure clothes are lightweight and loose, so they won’t further irritate. You could also let your baby go without clothing over the affected area when you’re at home together. At bath time, make sure the water is lukewarm, and pat skin dry thoroughly. If the rash is severe or doesn’t go away after a few days, see a dermatologist.
Neonatal Acne (Baby Acne)
Tiny red or white pimple-like bumps and red skin on the cheeks, forehead, and nose are common in newborns. In fact, 20 percent of newborns will experience baby acne before six weeks of age4. In most cases, it resolves on its own.
Baby acne is a bit of a mystery. Researchers don’t fully understand why it occurs, but one theory is that it’s due to maternal hormones the baby was exposed to in utero. Baby acne may also be an inflammatory response to yeast that’s present on a newborn’s skin.5
Experts agree that no treatment is needed for baby acne10—it will go away on its own. Just continue to keep skin clean with a mild cleanser such as CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo, which won’t be irritating or drying.
Likewise, avoid heavy ointments and balms on affected areas. Instead, use a lightweight lotion such as CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion on non-affected skin. It’s formulated with three essential ceramides and Vitamin E to moisturize and maintain baby’s delicate skin barrier, as well as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and vitamins. And it also contains dimethicone, a gentle, non-greasy moisturizing ingredient.
The term eczema is a catch-all for inflamed, itchy skin. The most common form in babies is atopic dermatitis, which presents itself as non-contagious flaky, crusty patches6.
Eczema is believed to develop from a combination of genetics and triggers in the environment that cause the immune system to react. Common triggers include irritants, sweating and heat, allergens, and infection. Saliva on skin, especially around the mouth from drooling, may also lead to eczema patches. 7
Dermatologists are not sure of the exact causes of eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis). It is believed this skin condition is caused by the immune system’s response to external irritants, and a compromised skin barrier seems to be associated as well 7. Research shows that skincare started shortly after birth may help your baby avoid skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.8
There’s no cure for eczema (although some children outgrow it), but you can manage flare-ups with moisturizers, prescription treatments and by avoiding triggers. A skincare routine with ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide will help moisturize and maintain the skin’s protective barrier.9
When bathing a baby who has eczema, use lukewarm water and a gentle, fragrance-free bodywash formulated for newborn skin such as CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo. Pat baby dry (don’t rub) and apply a fragrance- and sulfate-free moisturizer immediately to seal in hydration. For babies four weeks and older, CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream provides all day hydration in a fragrance-free formula. Your pediatrician or dermatologist can recommend eczema lotions or provide advice.
Finally, while rashes on baby may be concerning, many go away as quickly as they arrived. Others may require a gentle, hydrating approach that restores and protects the skin’s barrier. And some may need medical attention. Allergic reactions, hives, and rashes accompanied by a fever, swollen glands, or cold symptoms should all be examined by a physician. When in doubt about a rash, always consult with your baby’s pediatrician or dermatologist.
- Telofski, L., Morello, .A, Mack Correa, M., Stamatas, G.. (2012). The Infant Skin Barrier: Can We Preserve, Protect, and Enhance the Barrier? Dermatology Research and Practice. 198789.
- Guerra, K.,, Toncar, A., Krishnamurthy, K. (2020). Milaria. Stat Pearls.
- T. Ruzicka, B. Przybilla, J. Ring (2006) Handbook of Atopic Eczema; 2nd edition; Springer
- Schachner, Lawrence A., et al. “A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 19.8 (2020): 769-776.
- Sidbury R, Tom WL, et al. “Part 4: Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches.”J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul;71(1);1218-33
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