The skin of your baby is very sensitive and rashes are common. HEAT RASH, a fine red rash most commonly seen on the upper chest and diaper area, will go away in a few days if you avoid over-wrapping the infant. If the skin is dry, you may use a fragrance-free cream.
ERYTHEMA TOXICUM is a common rash that appears within the first few days after birth and lasts for up to two weeks. It is characterized by red blotches with a tiny white bump in the center. No one knows the cause nor the cure for this rash, but it will go away on its own and is no cause for concern.
Most infants will have small white dots on the nose called MILIA. These are oil glands that have not yet opened up to the skin. They will disappear during the first few months. Do not try to rupture these white dots.
If a DIAPER RASH develops, the diaper area should be washed at each diaper change with free flowing clear warm water, patted dry with a towel, and allowed to air dry (by placing your infant on the stomach and opening the diaper) before applying a protective ointment. If the diaper rash persists, especially in the skin folds, it may be caused by a yeast infection. This may be treated with Lotrimin AF (over-the-counter) or any of the vaginal creams used for yeast infection. Please call your pediatrician if pustules develop, if the rash is raw and weepy, or if the rash does not improve.
Scaly crusting skin on the scalp or behind the ears is called CRADLE CAP. If this occurs, wash the scalp three times weekly with shampoo. Some experts recommend a dandruff shampoo such as Sebulex or Selsun Blue. Use a soft brush or your fingernails to loosen as much of the scale as will easily come off at each shampooing. If the scale is particularly adherent, you may want to apply some baby oil before shampooing the area to soften the scale.
If mucous or secretions accumulate in the eyes, cleanse them with a clean piece of cotton dipped in fresh clean tap water. If there is enough thick yellow drainage from the eyes to glue the eyelids together, you should notify your pediatrician.
The soft spot or fontanelle is a diamond shaped area on the top of your baby’s head over which the bone plates of the skull have not yet grown. The presence of this area allows the five bone plates of the skull to slide over each other as the head moves down the birth canal.
After birth, these bone plates may still be overlapping forming ridges on the scalp. As the head grows after birth, these ridges will disappear and the soft spot will become progressively smaller. The soft spot will go away completely between 12 and 24 months of age. You will not hurt your child by touching the soft spot or even by scrubbing it vigorously at bath time.
The most common birthmark is called a SALMON PATCH or “stork bite”. These red patches are usually found on the eyelids, the center of the forehead, and the nape of the neck. They can also be found on the top of the head, on the nose and upper lip, or even on the back. The patches are made up of tiny blood vessels which will blanch if you press on them. They usually fade during the first few years of life. An occasional adult may still have a salmon patch, especially on the nape of the neck.