After being cleaned of amniotic fluid and vernix, your newborn’s skin will be exposed to air for the first time. This can result in patchy or peeling skin in the days directly after birth, which can be exacerbated by low humidity or very hot or very cold weather. Dry skin is usually just flaky rather than red and painful.
Avoid excessive bathing because this can remove your baby’s natural skin oils. If you live in dry or extreme weather conditions you might consider using baby moisturisers to help bolster their skin’s protection.
Nappy rash is a common condition in newborns and is a simple irritation and inflammation of your baby’s skin. Nappy rash usually arises from infrequent nappy changes, heat and moisture.
You can protect against nappy rash by increasing nappy-free time and changing your baby’s nappy frequently. Ensure your baby is dried thoroughly after changing and consider using barrier creams such as zinc or paraffin if the rash is persistent.
Yes, babies get pimples too – but these small red bumps aren’t cause for concern and aren’t painful for babies. They can appear in the first few weeks of life on your baby’s face and will disappear without treatment.
Like baby acne, erythema toxicum is a harmless condition that appears early in a newborn’s life. This condition manifests in small bumps or flat, red patches that can spread from the face to the body, arms and legs. It will usually disappear within a week.
Like in adults, eczema is usually triggered by environmental conditions that cause a reaction in your baby’s skin. It appears as red, patchy and dry sections of skin that is itchy (although your baby can’t control its arm movements yet to scratch).
Moisturisers and medicated creams can help reduce the symptoms of eczema and alleviate any pain or itchiness your baby is feeling.
Prickly heat or heat rashes commonly occur in hot, moist environments such as the tropics, or in areas like the nappy region or folds of the skin. It is not a serious condition and will usually disappear in a few days through keeping your baby dry and cool and increasing nappy-free time.
When skin conditions could be serious
Skin conditions, dryness, red marks and patchiness that don’t disappear after a few days can be signs of serious health complications. Redness that spreads, persists or that doesn’t turn white when you press on your baby’s skin can indicate an allergic reaction, infection, or contagious disease. Monitor your baby closely for changes and if you’re concerned, you should see a doctor immediately.