After having three babies, I can safely say I'm an expert in treating baby rashes. From a diaper rash and baby acne to eczema to hand, foot, and mouth disease, I've pretty much seen it all. Unfortunately, this knowledge didn't happen without extensive online research, a few doctor visits, and some trial and error. When it comes to how to treat a baby rash, there's no "easy," or even one, solution. In fact, the best remedy totally depends on what caused the rash to begin with.
Fortunately, I've gathered some expert opinions regarding baby rashes and presented it all in one easy-to-find spot, so you, dear worried parent, don't have to blindly Google or post images of your baby's rash on social media to find answers. According to Healthline, diaper rash can be caused by everything from what your baby ate to their diaper contents facilitating friction and irritation. Other rashes can be due to eczema, which, according to BabyCenter, can be caused by something your baby ate and are best treated with moisture, like lotion and baths. As Loraine M. Stern, MD, writes for Parents, baby acne — which is surprising similar to adult acne — is caused by hormones, and doesn't require any intervention from you at all.
No matter what causes their rashes, it seems like no baby is immune to red bumps or scaly patches. So, their parent, you might just need to find some remedies that work, including a few of the following:
What is it? As Loraine M. Stern, MD writes for Parents, baby acne, or pimples that appear on your baby's face when they are a couple of weeks old, is actually caused by hormones from you during your pregnancy.
What to do: Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it. While it might look bad, baby acne is not a big deal, so it's best to just let it run its course.
What is it? According to Healthline, diaper rash is a broad category to describe the various rashes a baby can get in their diaper area. They can be caused by a ton of different things, including irritation, sensitivity to the type of wipes or diapers you use, friction from moisture or a diaper that's too small, yeast, and bacteria.
What to do: When it comes to diaper rash, according to Healthline, prevention is the best cure. It's best to use a barrier cream with zinc or a petroleum base to protect your baby's sensitive bottom from irritation. If your baby's diaper rash is caused by something they ate, the answer is obviously to not feed them that food or, if you are breastfeeding, to eliminate that food from your diet.
In the meantime, though, and according to the same site, you might try using plain water to clean their diaper area and make sure it is super dry before using diaper cream to reduce irritation and allow the rash to heal. If your baby's diaper rash doesn't go away with these treatments, you should consult their doctor, as further treatment might require a prescription.
What is it? According to Healthline, a diaper rash that won't heal or includes bright red spots near the edges, might actually be Candida — which is more commonly called a yeast rash or yeast infection.
What to do: This type of rash is different from regular diaper rash in that it requires an anti-fungal cream and possibly a prescription from your baby's doctor. The same site adds that yeast loves moisture, so if your baby has this type of rash, you might just leave their diaper off for a while, and make sure their bottom is dry before you add any treatment or diaper cream.
What is it? If your baby has an itchy, scaly rash on their face or head, they might have eczema, according to BabyCenter. Unfortunately, doctors don't really know what causes eczema. They do know, though, that it can be triggered by a number of things including food allergies, heat, environmental pollutants, chemicals, and stress.
What to do: According to BabyCenter, your doctor can advise you on treatment for eczema, which might include frequent bathing, moisturizing creams and ointments to seal in moisture, avoiding heat, and preventing scratching.
What is it? Almost everyone who has had a baby has dealt with cradle cap — the gross, scaly rash all over their head that can totally ruin their new baby smell and baby pictures.
What to do: The good news, according to Parents, is that cradle cap will eventually go away with no treatment. But if it bothers you, you can remove their cradle cap scales with olive or baby oil, a soft brush, and a little anti-dandruff shampoo.
Hand, Foot, & Mouth
What is it? According to Mayo Clinic, if your baby has a rash on their hands and feet and sores in their mouth, along with other symptoms like a fever and sore throat, they might have the virus commonly known as hand, foot, and mouth disease. It's extremely contagious, and I know first-hand how much this particular virus can suck.
What to do: Unfortunately, the same site adds that there's nothing you can do to cure hand, foot and mouth, other than treat the symptoms by sucking on ice, eating soft foods, and taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, depending on your baby's age.
What is it? According to Mayo Clinic, if your baby's rash is itchy and shaped like a ring, it might be ringworm. You might be relieved to hear that ring worm is not actually caused by worms, but rather, a parasite called tinea corporis that lives on human skin (which is just as horrifying, if you ask me).
What to do: Fortunately, the same site adds that it can generally be treated with over-the-counter or prescription anti-fungal creams designed for athlete's foot, as the parasites are related. In the meantime, you should note that it's extremely contagious, so you should avoid skin-to-skin snuggles and wash your damn hands until it heals.
What is it? According to BabyCenter, if your baby's rash follows a high fever, and is accompanied by cold symptoms like a sore throat or cough, it might be Roseola.
What to do: The same site notes that if you think your baby has Roseola you may want to call their doctor. Unfortunately, there's not anything you can do to treat it, except to keep your baby comfortable.
What is it? According to Parents, if they suddenly develops an itchy red rash that moves from one area of their body to another, your baby might have hives.
What to do: The same site adds that hives are generally caused by an exposure to an allergen, like food or medicine. So, if your baby gets hives, it's a good idea to contact their doctor, especially if they have other symptoms like breathing problems or swelling around their mouth, which constitutes a medical emergency. In the meantime, cold compresses or antihistamines like Benadryl might help ease their symptoms, if your doctor says it's OK.
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