A newborn baby’s skin is soft and also very delicate. It would be difficult to find a baby with “completely flawless” in the first weeks to months of life.
For a few weeks after birth, mums hormones will continue to circulate through a babies system. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands. Conditions caused by this over stimulation of maternal hormones can cause symptoms such as infantile acne and cradle cap.
A child’s skin defence system has not fully matured which makes their skin vulnerable to effects such as – irritation, nappy (diaper) rash, infection, temperature and other conditions such as miliaria. Most of these conditions are not harmful and will usually clear as baby grows.
Typical skin conditions found in young babies include:
Some baby’s will develop lesions on the face. These are thought to occur as a result of mother’s hormones which, as mentioned above, are still present in a babies blood system. The acne will usually clear up on it’s own. If the acne shows signs of being infected you may need treatment or advice from a doctor.
Babies will sometimes develop a build up of greasy white or brown scales on the scalp or forehead. It is not likely to occur after 12 – 18 months of age. It usually appears within days of birth. The condition is not serious and will usually clear up itself. For a natural approach to treatment try massaging the baby’s scalp with an organic marigold (calendula) ointment. This will help with healing and will ease any itching that may occur.
As we have learned above, a child’s skin is delicate and as such most babies will develop some degree of nappy rash from birth up to around 2 years of age. Nappy rash, which develops around the butt and genital area is usually caused by a reaction of faeces and urine. It can appear as red blotches in the early stages but can spread into generalised redness.
This condition which is more commonly known as “Sweat rash” or “prickly heat”, is caused due to a hot, humid environment causing a blockage of the sweat glands. The rash will develop around areas prone to sweating such as the folds at the elbows and knees and between the buttocks. It can occur at any age, however babies are more susceptible to miliaria. The rash should disappear in time. Keep your child cool and avoid over dressing during warmer weather. Frequent cool baths will help with itching and irritation while the rash heals.
If your child’s spots or rashes seem inflamed or infected you should take your child to the doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics or antiseptic cream such as lignocaine to be applied directly to the spots or rash. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for assistance and advice on managing your child’s skin irritations.
Eric J. Smith is a qualified Horticulturalist and Permaculturalist. Eric writes about his interest in many areas of Environmental concern and brings into focus Changing Economic paradigms. Eric has a passion for Organic Gardening and Permaculture with an emphasis on the sustainable use of environmental systems.