The skin is the largest organ of the body , and it completely covers it. It is a waterproof layer that offers us protection against heat, light, injuries and infections, preventing access to our body by bacteria and viruses. In addition, the skin prevents us from losing what we carry inside, especially water.
But this amazing organ has certain peculiarities when we talk about babies and children, which is why in childhood the skin needs more specific care.
With the aim of helping parents understand all the secrets of the baby’s skin, its peculiarities, care and main alternations, the WaterWipes wipes brand has produced a practical guide in downloadable ebook format .
It is a selection from A to Z of the most common problems and peculiarities of the baby’s skin, which has had the advice and endorsement of the well-known pediatrician Nerea Sarrión .
From Babies and More we encourage you to download this free guide , as it has very valuable information for families to know how to recognize and treat the most frequent dermatological problems. Below we offer you a selection of some of the topics that you will find in the WaterWipes guide.
A: Neonatal acne
Neonatal acne are white or red pimples that appear between the first and fourth week of the baby’s life . They usually spread over the nose, chin, forehead and cheekbones. They are not itchy or painful, and eventually go away on their own without the need for treatment.
It is produced by the effect of hormones that have been transferred to the baby through the placenta, and that stimulate a greater production of the sebaceous glands.
It is not recommended to apply any product, let alone rub the baby’s skin, as we could damage it.
The most frequent bacterial infections on the skin of babies and children are pyoderma or diseases caused by microorganisms that can be located in the most superficial part of the skin.
One of the most common is impetigo. It is a skin infection that appears when certain bacteria ( Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus ) penetrate and proliferate in damaged skin: friction, wounds, bites…
At first, we can see some red pimples and then a blister that breaks leaving a yellowish crust . It is a fairly contagious infection , both in the child himself (he scratches or touches the lesions and passes the infection to other areas) and by contact with the lesion to other children.
As for the treatment, we must keep the area clean with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment or cream . In most cases, the evolution with the treatment is very good; only some children need to take an oral antibiotic.
C: Cradle cap
Cradle cap appears in about ten percent of newborns and usually begins in the second or third week of life. This crust is nothing more than dry fat, a seborrheic dermatitis whose impact is merely aesthetic.
The causes of its appearance are variable, since it can be a genetic factor, a hormonal disorder resulting from maternal hormones that arrive through the placenta and cause the sebaceous glands to secrete excess fat, or meteorological factors.
It is an inflammatory disease of the skin , non-contagious and hereditary, associated with dry and easily irritable skin . It can affect any part of the baby’s body and manifests itself with lesions that cause intense itching.
To prevent the appearance of outbreaks, it is important to keep the skin clean and moisturize it frequently with the help of specific products for atopic skin. You also have to avoid excess sweat, opt for natural and soft fabrics and avoid environmental dryness.
Special mention deserves diaper dermatitis, a skin irritation, rash or inflammation that affects the area of the genitals, buttocks and crotch of the baby. It can be caused by various causes, and to prevent it it is important to always keep the skin dry and clean.
E: Erythema toxicum
Toxic erythema or urticaria of the newborn is a benign inflammatory skin disease that does not need treatment and usually disappears on its own.
It consists of a small papule 1 to 3 mm in diameter , which evolves into a pustule with a prominent erythematous halo. The lesions occur in a variable number and can join in plaques of several centimeters, concentrating on the chest, extremities and back.
It usually appears between the first and third day of life, and its duration can last up to the fourth week, although during this period, they can disappear and appear again.
It does not require treatment or antibiotics, just moisturizing the newborn’s skin as part of their regular care .
Contains the G: Hemangiomas
Hemangiomas or angiomas are red spots caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the most superficial layers of the skin, which have grown more than normal and can form a kind of ball.
Many babies are born with these marks, although in other cases they form in the first months of life. They have a first phase of rapid growth in which their volume and size increase rapidly, followed by another phase of rest, in which the hemangioma changes very little, and a phase of involution in which it begins to disappear.
They require frequent control by the pediatrician , of the color and size of the spot in case it could change its appearance, but most of them reduce over time until they disappear completely.
H: Candida fungus
About a third of babies up to six months old may have thrush , a very common infection caused by a fungus called “candida albicans” (hence also called oral candidiasis) that shows up as irregular white patches inside the the cheeks, the palate, the tongue and the lips.
In principle, it is completely harmless, although sometimes it can be a bit annoying for the baby, causing burning and therefore the rejection of food.
It is necessary to consult with the pediatrician, who will prescribe an antifungal or antifungal medication . With treatment, the fungus disappears in a few days.
Jaundice is the yellowish color of the skin as a result of the accumulation of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a pigment in the blood that is produced when red blood cells break down. The liver is the main one in charge of its elimination. In newborns, and even more so in premature babies , jaundice is very common because their liver is immature.
When the bilirubin levels are very high , the baby will need to be treated with phototherapy (it is placed under a special lamp that favors the elimination of bilirubin). In some cases, jaundice can be a symptom of an underlying problem ( blood group incompatibility between mother and baby, cephalohematoma, bleeding, excessive weight loss, liver problem…), although fortunately these are rare problems.
When caring for the newborn’s skin, it is very important to know how to choose soft products that are consistent with their characteristics. Thus, for example, when we talk about soaps and gels for babies , we have to opt for those that dissolve quickly with water, make very little foam and are suitable for both skin and hair.
In a newborn it is advisable to avoid any synthetic substance with a high foaming power . Avoid products that contain alcohol, dyes, preservatives or perfume. Any product used to protect baby’s skin should be very mild and pH neutral.
Regarding the cleaning of the genital area , we can use soap and water, or wipes for sensitive skin if we are away from home. Once the area is clean, you can apply a protective cream to prevent irritation.
M: spots on the skin
Babies often have spots or birthmarks. It is something that worries parents a lot and is usually one of the first reasons for consulting the pediatrician. Most of these marks will fade quickly without any treatment, but some may last longer or even be permanent.
In this article, you will find everything related to the marks or spots on the baby’s skin after birth.
Contains the O: Mouth-Hand-Foot
It is a very common rash disease in childhood, especially in children between one and five years of age. It is benign and caused by several viruses of the enterovirus family.
The disease is characterized by the eruption of small, non-itchy blisters inside and outside the mouth (palate, tongue, gums, lips…), the diaper area, the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and sometimes also the fingers.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for this disease, and the only thing we can do if it appears is to treat the discomfort caused by the symptoms ( anti- pyretics and analgesics), increase hydration and rest.
Q: Fifth disease
Infectious erythema or fifth disease is a very common viral disease in children between the ages of five and 15. It is caused by Parvovirus B19 , a virus that spreads very easily, being more typical in the spring and summer seasons . Its most striking feature is the appearance of a red rash on the cheeks, as if they had been slapped, hence it is also known as ‘slap disease’ .
The initial symptoms of this disease are very similar to those of a mild catarrhal process: low-grade fever, headache and general malaise. After a few days these symptoms will have subsided and the child will seem recovered, but then the characteristic rash of this disease will appear: an intense red rash that is initially located on the cheeks.
In the vast majority of cases , children recover quickly and without any complications .
Skin chafing is common in babies in their first weeks of life, as their skin is very sensitive and delicate and clothing, diapers or other objects in contact can cause this injury. To prevent it, it is important to change the diaper frequently, dress him in natural and breathable fabrics and moisturize his skin with suitable products.
As they grow, chafing tends to be linked above all to footwear , especially in summer, when the shoe size is not appropriate for the size of the child’s foot, or when the footwear presents some condition that hurts or exerts pressure on a specific area of the foot.
For this reason, it is very important to choose the right footwear for children at each stage of their development and avoid those shoes that can lead to the appearance of this annoying injury.
They are small red or white pimples that appear as a result of the obstruction of sweat glands, which is why it is usually a more frequent problem in summer .
They appear mainly in areas of the face, neck, chest or back. In most cases, no treatment is needed and it resolves in a few days. However, it is advisable to keep the area dry and avoid applying very thick creams that cover the clogged glands.
The most characteristic feature of hives is the appearance on the skin of so-called “wheals” , small elevations of a more or less reddish color and with very irregular edges. They tend to bite a lot and it is also very typical for them to appear and disappear quickly, so it gives the feeling that they are changing places.
Hives are a reaction to many different triggers. Sometimes no specific cause is found, although it is most often due to viral infections or allergic reactions.
V: Vernix casesoso
Many babies are born covered in a whitish ointment, especially in the folds of the extremities, the scalp, and the back. It is the vernix caseosa or sebaceous oil , a substance that protects your skin inside the womb.
Vernix also fulfills important functions once the baby is born , as it protects the skin against bacterial and fungal infections, and even promotes the healing of skin lesions. In addition, newborns who keep vernix on their skin regulate their temperature better, have fewer lesions, greater skin hydration and greater skin elasticity.
For all this it is so important not to bathe the baby in its first hours , nor to take care to clean it so that it looks perfect.
Contains the X: Sudden exanthema
Sudden exanthema, also called infantile roseola or sixth disease , occurs most of the time (90 percent) in babies up to two years of age.
It is a skin rash almost always caused by the herpes virus, specifically 6 (HHV-6), and 7 less frequently.
Its symptoms include very high fever (more than 39 degrees) of sudden onset, nasal congestion, pharyngeal redness, eardrum redness, conjunctiva redness, and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. When the fever goes away, a rash or pink skin rash appears that begins on the chest and spreads to the face and almost nothing to the legs and arms. It lasts a couple of days, it doesn’t sting and when you press the skin with your finger the spots disappear.
Contains the Z: Baltz stain
Congenital dermal melanocytosis , better known as Mongolian spot (MM) or Baltz spot, is the most common pigmented lesion in newborns.
These are large, smooth, highly pigmented areas of skin that appear blue or green (like bruises) and usually appear on the buttocks or back. They are very common, especially in brown-skinned babies. They are benign and are of no importance and do not need treatment.
The spots disappear over time, although their duration is variable.