Keep the skin dry. Change wet diapers as quickly as possible. Allow the baby's skin to air dry as long as is practical. Launder cloth diapers in mild soap and rinse well. Avoid using plastic pants. Avoid irritating wipes (especially those containing alcohol) when cleaning the infant.
Ointments or creams may help reduce friction and protect the baby's skin from irritation. Powders such as cornstarch or talc should be used cautiously, as they can be inhaled by the infant and may cause lung injury.
If your baby has a yeast diaper rash, the health care provider will prescribe a cream to treat it.
Heat rash or prickly heat is best treated by providing a cooler and less humid environment for the child.
Powders are unlikely to help treat heat rash and should be stored out of reach of the infant to prevent accidental inhalation. Avoid ointments and creams because they tend to keep the skin warmer and block the pores.
Erythema toxicum is normal in newborn babies and will go away on its own in a few days. You do not need to do anything for it.
White or clear milia/miliaria will go away on their own. You do not need to do anything for it.
For hives, talk with your provider to try to find the cause. Some causes require prescription medicines. Antihistamines may help stop the itching.
Normal washing is all that is necessary to treat baby acne most of the time. Use plain water or mild baby soap and only bathe your baby every 2 to 3 days. Avoid acne medicines used by adolescents and adults.
For cradle cap, wash the hair or scalp with water or a mild baby shampoo. Use a brush to remove the flakes of dry skin. If this cannot be removed easily, apply an oil to the scalp to soften it. Cradle cap most often disappears by 18 months. If it does not disappear, it becomes infected, or if it is resistant to treatments, consult your provider.
For skin problems caused by eczema, the keys to reducing rash are to reduce scratching and keep the skin moisturized.
- Keep the baby's fingernails short and consider putting soft gloves on the child at night to minimize scratching.
- Drying soaps and anything that has caused irritation in the past (including foods) should be avoided.
- Apply a moisturizing cream or ointment immediately after baths to avoid drying.
- Hot or long baths, or bubble baths, may be more drying and should be avoided.
- Loose, cotton clothing will help absorb perspiration.
- Consult a provider if these measures do not control the eczema, (your child may need prescription medicines) or if the skin begins to appear infected.
While the majority of children with eczema will outgrow it, many will have sensitive skin as adults.