Baby rash: A visual guide to skin rashes in babies

When your baby is born their body begins to react to their new environment as they experience things like different fabrics and even air for the first time.

Because of this, in the first few days of your new baby’s life it’s completely normal for them to develop little rashes or reactions to their new world. It’s amazing to think that their skin is completely untouched, so remember they need to adjust to every encounter with the previously unknown.

However, if your baby’s redness or rash comes with other symptoms or it looks more than a simple irritation, then you might want to find out more with our baby rash guide.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s health it’s best to go to your GP right away, but this simple guide to baby rashes may help you get an understanding of what the cause could be at home.

Use the baby rash pictures and descriptions below to compare with your baby’s skin and see if you recognise what could be affecting them.

Baby acne


You may not have realised it, but baby acne is a thing. When babies are born their pores are so unused to the grime and pollution of our environment, it’s pretty normal for them to get a few little zits whilst their skin adjusts. These should clear up on their own after a few weeks but you can gently wash your baby’s face with water and gentle moisturiser to help.

Cradle cap


It may not sound pretty, but even though cradle cap affects lots of babies, it isn’t painful or harmful. This condition sees yellow, greasy, scaly patches appear on your baby’s head – which can sometimes move down around their face and ears too.

We spoke to Dr Shefali Rajpopat, who is currently working with AVEENO® Baby to help launch their baby skincare range, and she gave us some advice on how to deal with cradle cap.

‘Cradle cap is commonly seen in babies within the first 6 weeks of life. It is not due to an allergy or poor hygiene and is not infectious. In newborn babies the sweat glands can be overactive and release an oily sebum that prevents skin cells from naturally detaching from the surface. The built up cells appear as greasy yellow scales across the scalp that sometimes extend onto the face. In most cases it is not itchy or uncomfortable.’

‘From six weeks old you can use a mild baby shampoo such as AVEENO® Baby Daily Care Baby Hair & Body Wash (£5.99), followed by gentle brushing to help loosen the scales. For the majority of babies that is all that is needed. However if the scalp is red and itchy then your doctor may prescribe a medicated shampoo or a mild steroid cream. Cradle cap is a temporary condition that usually clears up between 6-12 months.’

Eczema


Eczema is a skin condition that most people have at least heard of, being pretty common among children and adults alike. If you have eczema there’s a chance your tot could too as it’s a skin condition that can be hereditary, causing red, dry and irritable patches that usually show up in folds of skin or at the backs of knees.
Find out more about eczema with our guide.

Hand, foot and mouth disease


Don’t get this one confused with the similar sounding disease that can affect animals. Hand, foot and mouth is a viral disease that creates sore blisters on your youngsters little paws and even ulcers in their mouth.
Find out more about hand, foot and mouth disease with our guide.

Hives


One of the defining symptoms of hives is a red rash that sits raised above the skin and can be very itchy. Hives is usually triggered by something, like an allergic reaction, which then causes histamine to be released into the skin and creates a rash. The trigger for babies is usually a food or drink that they are allergic to such as egg or milk. The rash is usually short-lived and can be controlled with antihistamines but if your baby keeps getting hives repeatedly you will need to speak to your doctor about their allergies.

Impetigo


Impetigo is a bacterial infection that causes sores and blisters on the skin that not only look quite shocking but are rather uncomfortable. Although they tend to heal on their own and should disappear within seven to ten days, the real kicker is that this infection is highly contagious. It’s not usually serious but if it persists see your doctor for a prescription of antibiotics.

Nappy rash


Nappy rash is a real downer, but the causes are quite explanatory when you think about it, and therefore easy to avoid. The dampness sitting on your baby’s skin around their nappy area can rub and cause irritation which results in a rash. This means it’s important to always change your baby’s nappy as soon as you realise they have soiled it, not even letting a wee sit in there for a while. Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry and all should be fine, you could even use a barrier cream for an extra hand.

Ringworm


The clue’s in the name with this fungal infection, which leaves circular red patches on a baby’s skin, usually on the scalp, feet and groin areas. Luckily ringworm can be treated with over the counter creams and isn’t a serious condition.

Scabies


Scabies is an unpleasant infection which happens when tiny mites burrow under the skin and create an infestation resulting in small, itchy spots all over a baby’s skin. The spots usually occur in areas such as the feet, armpit or genital area and are passed on by another host meaning that someone in your family or friends has passed it on. To treat a baby with scabies you can use over the counter creams but you will need to make sure anyone who could have been a carrier is also treated.

Slapped cheek syndrome


Slapped cheek syndrome is a viral infection which can leave your little one feeling under the weather with cold like snuffles, a fever and the added symptom of bright pink patches on their cheeks. The condition is considered pretty mild and should pass within a few days without treatment.
Find out more about slapped cheek syndrome with our guide.

Meningitis


Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that surround the spinal cord and can be life threatening. There are two types of meningitis, bacterial and viral, and both can be recognised by a pale, blotchy rash as well as other symptoms.
Find out more about meningitis with our guide.

Has our guide helped you identify your baby’s rash? Let us know in the comments below