5 baby skincare solutions

Not sure what that rash on your baby’s thigh is, or what her flaky scalp means? Check out our list to see what your baby skincare problems mean…

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  • Cradle Cap

    What is it?

    Greasy, scaly and yellow patches that appear on your newborn’s scalp, “It might look ugly, but the good news is it doesn’t hurt your baby at all,” says Doctor Stephen Kownacki, executive chairman of The Primary Care Dermatology Society. “Cradle cap is very common in newborns as the scalp is immature and hasn’t developed enough to fight against the elements in the outside world.”

    What can I do?

    In mild cases of cradle cap, no particular treatment is needed, as it will clear up on its own. If you’re looking for a cheap, natural remedy, massaging olive oil into your little one’s scalp and leaving for a couple of hours before shampooing it off will help lift off the flakes. You can also buy cradle cap treatments from the chemists. “If it’s still persistent after 2-3 weeks, then visit your GP,” says Doctor Stephen.

    “When William had cradle cap, we rubbed E45 Cream into his scalp when it was sore. It was really easily absorbed and didn’t leave a greasy mess, plus the flakes combed out a couple of hours later,” said Louise Wright, 33, from Cheshire, step mum to Daniel, 8, and mum to William, 2.

  • Milia

    What is it?

    These small white spots may appear on your baby’s face a few weeks after birth as her oil and sweat glands start to develop. Milia spots appear to be raised but if you touch them they are really smooth. “They’re completely harmless and are often found on babies that have been kept in special care baby units where the temperature is very warm,” explains Doctor Stephen.

    What can I do?

    Unfortunately, milia needs to clear up on its own, so there’s nothing you can do to help. You can expect it to go within about 4 weeks. Just don’t be tempted to squeeze the spots as this can leave scarring. 

  • Baby Acne

    What is it?

    Just like teenage spots, with black and white heads surrounded by reddish skin. Baby acne is thought to be caused by you passing on hormones to your baby in the later stages of pregnancy. It can flare up anywhere she has grease glands, so the face, chest, and upper back can suffer.

    What can I do?

    If you’re worried about your baby’s spots, or they’re starting to aggravate her, it’s best to make a trip to the doctor, who may prescribe some cream. However, baby acne doesn’t usually irritate a little one. Never use over-the-counter acne creams on her delicate skin.

  • Eczema

    What is it?

    A dry skin condition common in babies from about 6 weeks onwards that can make the skin dry, sore and itchy. While most children do grow out of it by the time they reach their teens, it can be painful. “There are both genetic and environmental factors like pets, harsh soaps and raised temperatures, that can aggravate eczema,” explains Margaret Cox, chief executive of the National Eczema Society. “And although it usually starts to appear on cheeks, behind the ears, on elbows and in fractures of skin, it can flare up anywhere on the body.”

    What can I do?

    Moisturising is the key to soothing eczema. “It’s best to see your GP or health visitor if your baby starts to suffer, as they’ll be able to prescribe a cream to help,” advises Margaret. “Avoid soap on her skin and try and keep a regular temperature in your house, especially at night so she doesn’t get too hot, which can cause itching.” Go for loose-fitting cotton clothes and bed sheets, and keep pets away.

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  • Nappy rash

    What is it?

    A red, sore and angry rash around your baby’s bottom and genitals, and can also affect the inside of her thighs. It does tend to be worse in newborns. “A baby’s poo contains digestive enzymes, which can break her skin down if she’s left in a dirty nappy too much,” explains Doctor Stephen. “Nearly all babies suffer from it, and it’s important not to blame yourself as it’s just one of those things.”

    What can I do?

    For many babies, nappy rash isn’t a long term, continuous problem, and will clear up as she gets older and wees and poos less. Don’t leave her in a wet nappy for long periods of time, and try and leave her open to the air with nappy-free time as much as possible (easier said than done we know!).

    Nappy rash creams come in two types. Barrier creams work better before the nappy rash appears, while treatment creams are used once the rash is present. “You also can rub petroleum jelly on to the sore areas to stop moisture getting out of the skin,” suggests Stephen. “But if the rash starts to get inflamed or little spots appear within it, then it could be infected, so visit your GP for advice.”

     “Charlie loves having a kick around and we’ve found the more nappy-free time he has, the less his nappy rash flares up. We do it daily to give his bottom a rest, usually after his bath in the early evening,” said Bernadette Pelster, 32, from Worcester, mum to Charlie, 3 months.