A Guide to Baby Rashes: Baby Diaper Rash, Eczema, Heat Rash & More | Baby Brezza
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Baby Rash Guide: How to Treat Eczema, Diaper Rash & More

While a baby’s skin can easily become irritated, it’s important to know the difference between rashes –– and how to treat each one. 

Sometimes, even a small change can cause an outbreak, but most rashes can quickly be cured by following the right protocol. Other irritations like eczema and diaper rash require more thorough treatment, and being able to tell the difference when it comes to irritations like baby eczema vs heat rash is crucial in finding the best, safest remedies. Below, we’ll discuss common rashes and the typical treatments that go along with each, from identifying and treating eczema and diaper rash to everything in between.

What are Common Baby Rashes?

Sadly, newborns and babies are susceptible to a variety of common rashes and skin conditions, from baby heat rashes and allergic reactions to the old-fashioned diaper rash. Let’s take a look at the most common rashes new parents run into while caring for their babies:

  • Eczema - eczema appears as sections or patches of dry, itchy, and rough skin, most often on the cheeks or around your baby’s arm and leg joints
  • Diaper Rash - diaper rash can be identified by inflamed, painful, bright red skin on the legs, thighs, and buttocks
  • Heat Rash - heat rash on babies causes red bumps and blisters on the skin due to blocked sweat ducts on humid, high temperature days
  • Thrush - thrush often causes a rash very similar to diaper rash, along with painful symptoms like mouth and tongue sores

What is the most common newborn rash?

To kick off our baby rash guide, we’ll get the big one out of the way first. The most common baby rash is called Erythema Toxicum. While it sounds scary, this highly common rash appears on up to half of all newborns. And while the root cause of Erythema Toxicum remains a mystery, most cases clear up within a week without medical intervention.

What Does a Diaper Rash Look Like?

Diaper rashes, while fairly common, are still uncomfortable for newborns and can cause a lot of pain. New foods, antibiotic medications, and diarrhea can all lead to diaper rashes, but the most common reason babies develop diaper rash is prolonged exposure to wet or infrequently changed diapers. Ensuring proper identification will help get the diaper rash healing stages underway much faster and more efficiently, without playing a guessing game of what’s going on.

Parents can spot an early diaper rash by watching for:

  • Red bumps and larger reddened areas of skin around the diaper area or in the folds of your baby’s upper thighs
  • Peeling, flaking, or scaly skin
  • The affected area may look puffy or tender, and feel warm to the touch
  • Your baby seems significantly more irritable or fussy

How Do I Treat or Prevent Diaper Rash?

Fortunately for babies and parents alike, treating diaper rash is a straightforward process, and the diaper rash healing stages don’t take too much time. If your baby is developing or has diaper rash, follow these steps to help.

  1. Prioritize diaper changes - keeping the inflamed area as clean and dry as possible is crucial for supporting a quick healing process
  2. Be gentle and ditch the “extras” - diaper rashes can become more painful and widespread with rough cleaning. Wipes, diapers, and creams that contain fragrances or alcohol should be avoided while your baby’s rash is healing. 
  3. Use zinc oxide - diaper rash creams containing zinc oxide are effective on even the most serious diaper rashes. Using calamine lotion for diaper rash can also be effective.
  4. Visit a pro - If your baby’s diaper rash is worsening or your baby is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and fussy, consider visiting a pediatrician or dermatologist.

    What Does an Allergy Rash Look Like on A Baby?

    As your baby is exposed to new environments, foods, creams, lotions, etc. they may experience an allergic reaction. While most allergic reactions are minor, some allergies may require medical attention. The two most common allergic reaction side effects are:

    • Hives - hives can appear anywhere on the body as pink, blotchy bumps
    • Eczema - eczema appears as dry, itchy, flaky patches of skin

    How can I treat my baby's skin allergy rash at home?

    Whether it’s an allergic reaction or heat rash, baby is sure to need a little care in order to get the reaction treated properly. Luckily parents can help treat allergic reactions to minimize their baby’s discomfort with simple strategies at home.

    Here are five of the best tips and tactics for treating your baby’s allergic reaction.

    • Cut back on scents - the first step in treating your baby’s allergic reaction is ensuring you don’t make it worse. Even scented diapers, wipes, lotions, and creams your baby has used since birth can cause irritation and inflammation to damaged skin.
    • Wash, don’t wipe - It’s best to use extremely mild soaps and warm running water to keep affected areas clean. Rubbing the area with wipes or washcloths can cause more pain for your baby and spread allergens to other areas of the body.
    • Moisturizers and Hydrocortisone creams - Hypoallergenic moisturizers can help soothe irritated skin after bath time and 1% hydrocortisone creams can be extremely effective for treating allergic reactions and eczema.
    • (Note: Be sure to speak with your doctor before using any hydrocortisone creams.)
    • Use scratch mitts to speed up healing - scratch mitts are designed to prevent newborns and babies from scratching and irritating itchy or dry patches of skin with their fingernails. This also helps prevent the infection from spreading further, and speeds up recovery time.

    What Causes Baby Heat Rash?

    Beyond eczema and diaper rash, another common irritation for your little one may be heat rash. Baby heat rash is caused by blocked sweat ducts on your baby’s skin. As ducts get blocked, sweat is trapped and begins creating bumps and blisters on the body in areas of high friction. 

    There are three main types of baby heat rashes.

    • Miliaria crystallina - The mildest type of heat rash, this rash only affects the top layer of the skin. Common symptoms are small, clear, bumps and blisters that don’t itch or cause discomfort. 
    •  Miliaria rubra - This rash affects the mid-epidermis, which is a deeper layer of your baby’s skin. The bumps caused by miliaria rubra often sting, itch, and are tender to the touch.

    Miliaria profunda - Miliaria profunda is the most serious type of heat rash and is very rare among babies and toddlers. The bumps and blisters caused by profunda are typically much larger than other types of heat rash.

      How Do You Treat Baby Heat Rash?

      While not an allergic reaction, baby heat rash can still cause plenty of discomfort, and will still need soothing or treating. Despite being easily avoided, heat rash on babies is extremely common and has a range of simple treatment options. If your baby has heat rash, a few steps to take include:

      • Keep skin cool - You can cool down your baby’s skin by removing extra clothing and moving indoors or to shaded areas. It’s also vital to keep your baby cool and comfortable while sleeping for the quickest recovery.
      • Use water - Treat small heat rashes by gently dabbing the skin with a cool, damp cloth.
      • Consider steroid creams - If your baby is uncomfortable or fussy, consider using an over-the-counter steroidal cream to provide relief and quicken healing.
      • Use calamine lotion or anhydrous lanolin - Calamine lotion helps treat itching while anhydrous lanolin clears blocked sweat ducts.
      • When to take your baby to a doctor - If your baby is still dealing with a heat rash after one week, seek medical attention.

      What does Eczema look like on a baby?

      Identifying baby eczema is yet another important part of keeping baby comfortable and treated properly. Eczema can appear differently on babies, but the most common symptoms are patches of reddened, dry, or cracked skin that feels scaly, raised, or tender. At more severe stages, these patches may ooze or crust over, and should be treated more attentively. It’s important to note that eczema can appear differently on babies according to complexion: on lighter complexions, eczema appears red or pinkish, while on darker complexions it can appear brownish, grayish, or purplish.

      How do you get rid of Eczema in babies?

      As your little one ages, baby eczema can calm down and reappear over time. Knowing how to treat it will enable you to keep outbreaks under control. Some common baby eczema treatments include the following:

      • Bathing technique - limiting time in the bath and using lukewarm water, lightly wash dirty areas with a fragrance-free cleaner, and avoid scrubbing.
      • Keep the skin moisturized - after bathing, apply a fragrance-free moisturizer twice a day, and avoid lotions or oils when possible: thick creams and ointments are generally more effective.
      • Consider topical corticosteroids - to help reduce inflammation and other symptoms, topical corticosteroids can be applied to your babies skin after bathing and before moisturizing, to help control and prevent eczema outbreaks; be sure to work with a dermatologist to determine which corticosteroid(s) to use
      • Identify and eliminate triggers - try to discover when and where your baby tends to have outbreaks, and adapt to avoiding those triggers: bodily triggers include sweat, saliva, and scratching; environmental triggers like dry air, smoke, pet dander, and pollen should be noted; product triggers include detergents, soaps, clothing, and baby products like wipes or powder.

      How Can I Safely Treat My Baby's Rash?

      As babies continue to grow and develop, their skin changes and adapts– and this includes dealing with baby eczema, heat rash, diaper rash, and allergic reactions. Rashes of all kinds are common in the early stages of a baby’s life, and once identified, are nearly always treatable. Whether it’s diaper rash, eczema, heat rash, or thrush, the most important tool for prevention is knowing the differences between each one, and knowing how to adapt to each. Remember:

      • Rashes are common, and can be treated quickly with the right solutions.
      • Your baby’s skin may take a while to heal, or could clear up within a few hours. 
      • If a rash persists for longer than a week and treatments are not lessening symptoms, consult a pediatrician about more specialized treatment options.


      Baby Diapering

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