Mayo Clinic Health Library

Slide show: Common baby rashes

Updated: 10-12-2011

Cradle cap

Photo of cradle cap

You might expect your baby's skin to be flawless, but baby rashes and other skin conditions — such as cradle cap — are common.

Cradle cap appears as thick, yellow, crusty or greasy patches on a baby's scalp. Cradle cap is most common in newborns and usually clears up on its own by age 6 months. In the meantime, wash your baby's hair with mild baby shampoo and loosen the scales with a small, soft-bristled brush. For stubborn scales, rub petrolatum or a few drops of mineral oil onto your baby's scalp, wait a few minutes, and then brush and shampoo your baby's hair. If cradle cap persists, ask your baby's doctor about other treatment options.

Diaper rash

Photo of diaper rash

A patchwork of bright red skin on your baby's bottom is probably diaper rash, typically caused by prolonged contact with urine or feces. To treat diaper rash, air out your baby's bottom. Apply a diaper rash cream or ointment at each diaper change. You might experiment with various types or brands of creams and ointments to find out which works best for your baby. Consult your baby's doctor if the rash doesn't improve or begins to blister.

To prevent diaper rash, change your baby's diaper frequently, let your baby go without a diaper for short periods of time, and regularly apply a diaper rash cream or ointment during diaper changes.

Milia

Photo of milia

Many babies are born with milia — tiny white bumps that appear on the nose, chin or cheeks. Most cases of milia disappear on their own within a few weeks. In the meantime, wash your baby's face once a day with water and a mild soap.

Baby acne

Photo of baby acne

Baby acne appears as red or white bumps on a baby's forehead or cheeks. The condition often develops within the first month after birth, perhaps due to exposure to maternal hormones during pregnancy. Baby acne usually disappears on its own within a few months. In the meantime, wash your baby's face once a day with water and a mild soap. Consult your baby's doctor if the acne doesn't improve within a few months or you'd like to consider more aggressive treatment.

Heat rash

Photo of heat rash

Heat rash appears as fine, clear or red spots on your baby's skin. Heat rash is common in babies during hot, humid weather — often a result of overdressing. Heat rash generally disappears on its own. In the meantime, move the baby to a cooler environment or give the baby a cool bath. To prevent heat rash in hot weather, dress your baby in cool, lightweight clothing. In cold weather, dress your baby in layers so that you can remove items if the temperature rises.

Baby eczema

Photo of baby eczema

Baby eczema is characterized by patches of red, scaly, itchy skin. Occasionally the patches ooze and crust over. Baby eczema can occur when a baby is exposed to potentially irritating substances, such as bubble baths or rough fabrics. Baby eczema can also be a symptom of a food allergy.

Many babies outgrow eczema. To treat and prevent baby eczema, help your baby avoid extreme temperatures and anything that seems to bother his or her skin. Bathe your baby every second or third day, rather than daily, and dry your baby's skin with gentle pats. Use generous amounts of unscented moisturizing cream or ointment. Consult your baby's doctor if the rash is severe or doesn't improve.

Baby yeast infection

Photo of baby yeast infection

A yeast infection is a persistent, bright red rash on a baby's bottom or other areas where skin touches skin. You might notice small red bumps on the outer edge of the rash. A yeast infection can also develop in a baby's mouth. This type of infection, known as thrush, appears as creamy white sores in the mouth.

Yeast infections are caused by a microorganism that flourishes in a warm, moist environment. Babies who've recently taken antibiotics might be more likely to develop a yeast infection.

If you suspect that your baby has a yeast infection, consult your baby's doctor. Prescription antifungal medication might be needed.

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