Oh Baby! Get the Scoop on Baby Skin Care from a Skin Care Therapist (& Mama!)

FamilyBaby Bath & SkinOh Baby! Get the Scoop on Baby Skin Care from a Skin Care Therapist (& Mama!)

Oh Baby! Get the Scoop on Baby Skin Care from a Skin Care Therapist (& Mama!)

Oh Baby - Baby Izzy and Bunny

Welcome to the first post of Oh Baby! – a monthly series where an expert shares the scoop on all you need to know for the littlest members in your family! Check out the 2nd installment in this video, where an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant shares her top 3 must-buys for breastfeeding mamas!

There are enough things to worry about as a new mom. Baby’s pesky skin conditions shouldn’t be on the list! When I had my son a year and a half ago, I had a suspicion — solely based on my own skin sensitivities — that I would be putting my skin care expertise to good use dealing with his ailments. The poor guy had it all: “baby acne”, eczema, severe diaper rashes, and cradle cap. We got through it, and I’m here to share some of my tips for dealing with it all.

Baby Acne

What is it?

Baby acne is very common. They are small red pimples and white heads that appear around 2-3 weeks of age. They can show up all over the body, but are often concentrated on the nose, cheeks and chin.

There’s debate over the cause. Some theories suggest that it’s a result of pregnancy hormones transferred from the mother, others say it’s a result of premature sebaceous glands and sensitive skin.

What can you do about it?

Short answer is nothing. This skin condition is best left alone and will resolve itself within a few months. Never pick or scrub the area, this will only leave scars! If it doesn’t resolve within 3-4 months, or you have concerns, always consult your child’s doctor.

Cradle Cap

What is it?

Cradle cap is an oily, yellowish crust that forms on the scalp of newborns, generally around 2-3 months of age as a result of excess sebum. It’s harmless and usually does not bother the infant.

How can you treat it?

The best way to treat cradle cap is to soften the crusts and gently remove them with a soft bristled brush. From 10 minutes to 1 hour before bath time, massage a generous amount of coconut oil or olive oil on the infant’s scalp. Once the oil has had time to soften the crusts, gently brush them away. Do not pick or force the crusts off prematurely, since this can cause bleeding and scabs. Follow up by washing the scalp with a gentle shampoo.

Soft Bristled Brush for Cradle Cap

Soft bristled brush to remove cradle cap

How can you help prevent it?

There’s no way to prevent cradle cap. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those conditions your infant will need to outgrow. My son’s cradle cap eventually went away around 8 months, but it was a lot less noticeable once his hair grew out!

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Starting around 2-3 months, my son developed eczema on his forehead and sides of his face. It became more of a problem once he started scratching his skin (!) and it didn’t fully resolve until he was around 8-9 months old.

What is it?

The most common form of eczema in babies is atopic dermatitis (rather than contact dermatitis, which is caused by exposure to an irritating substance). Eczema is a disfunction of the skin’s protective barrier and often appears as red, flaky patches. It can show up anywhere on the body, but is most commonly on the legs, arms, and face.

The jury is still out. But it’s generally accepted that atopic dermatitis eczema is connected to the body’s immune response to allergens and can be associated with asthma.

How can you treat it?

There are a few stages of eczema. A red, ‘angry’ rash is often the first stage. It can be very itchy and hot. The best treatment for this stage (without a steroid cream) is to apply a zinc cream a few times a day to the affected area. Zinc will help ‘dry’ the rash and calm the inflammation.

Once the rash dries up after a few days, the skin will become flaky. At this stage, avoid using zinc and steroid creams which will only further dry out the skin. Instead, consistently apply a skin balm onto damp skin to seal in moisture and create a protective barrier. This will allow the skin to heal and regenerate (which can take a few months).

How can you help prevent it?

If allergies are to blame for your infant’s flare-ups, it can be tough finding the potential culprit.  You’ll have to go through some trial and error since most allergy tests aren’t prescribed until after 1 year of age. In my son’s case, I found a correlation with dairy. This isn’t the solution for every child though. Each case is different and it’s best to consult a physician or naturopathic doctor to investigate possible causes. In many infant cases (like my son’s), eczema resolves itself around 1-2 years of age.

Diaper Rash

What is it?

A diaper rash develops when the skin stays wet for extended periods; this can happen with both cloth and disposable diapers. Cloth diapers allow the skin to breath but don’t wick moisture away, whereas disposable diapers keep the skin dry but aren’t very breathable.

It’s common to see diaper rashes arise with frequent loose bowel movements as a result of diet changes or illness. In my son’s case, I’ve noticed he’s more prone to developing a rash when he tries new foods, or when he eats lots of fruit (especially citrus!). Baby wipes and perfumed products can also cause skin sensitivities and contribute to diaper rashes.

How can you treat it?

When the rash is extremely red and irritated, rinse the area with warm water rather than wiping with a pre-moistened wipe. Pat the skin dry and apply a generous amount of zinc cream onto the affected area. Do this with every diaper change until the redness fades, which should only take a few days.

Oh Baby - Weleda Calendula Diaper Care

Weleda Calendula Diaper Care to treat diaper rash

How can you help prevent it?

Keep the bottom as clean and dry as possible. Use unscented, natural wipes and dry the area well before putting on a diaper.

At least once a day, give your infant some diaper-free time. If you’re worried about accidents, lay a dry towel down in an empty bath tub and let your baby play there with his/her toys.

Petroleum free “bum” balms can help prevent rashes by acting as an extra layer of protection. Personally, I only use a balm when my son’s stool is very loose, or his skin is starting to look chapped. Everyone is different though, so do what works for you and your baby. Generally speaking, it’s best to change the diaper more frequently than relying on a balm to protect your baby’s delicate skin.

If the diaper rash lasts longer than a few days, it might be a yeast infection and you should consult a doctor.

These are just a few of the most likely skin conditions you’ll come across as a parent, and I’ve offered some of those most common treatments that have worked for me and my son, but each case is unique. If you ever have questions or concerns, it’s always a good idea to check in with your child’s doctor. Or feel free to ask here and I (or one of your fellow parents) will try to help!


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