A baby's skin is delicate and needs extra care. Harsh skin products, bacteria and even weather conditions can trigger rashes on a newborn's delicate skin.
Natural remedies can play a vital role in baby care and often provide gentle yet effective relief from minor ailments - even enhancing many experiences associated with the care of a new baby. It is important to understand that to take care of Baby's skin the most natural way is often best. Offer only products which are as pure, natural and mild, baby-specific and bland as possible, particularly during the first weeks. The more complex an ingredient list reads, the more likely it is that the baby may get allergic to one of the ingredients. Seek out the products by the manufacturers producing specifically for infants, as this field is obviously their focus.
• Atopic Eczema-
Atopic eczema in the baby can be triggered by any allergic reaction or even by the anxiety. Atopic eczema is a sort of rash that is characterized by pink or red patches, which are dry and scaly. Affected areas include the face, especially the cheeks, and skin creases at the joints like the knees, elbows, ankles, wrists and the upper thighs. Babies with eczema usually suffer from intense itchiness and once they start scratching, the skin becomes red and raw.
The entire rubbing and scratching of the affected area can lead to a thickening or lichenification of the skin. And if the scratching causes the skin to break, secondary infections may be at risk. The cause can be hereditary and children who suffer from eczema are sometimes found to develop asthma.
Preventive measures can be taken after identifying the root of the problem - whether it's a reaction to dust mites, certain foods or fabric. Consult the pediatrician. If the eczema existing in the family, then the introduction of the dairy products into the baby's diet should be delayed until he is one year old.
Trim the child's fingernails and put on mittens at night to prevent further injuries caused by scratching. Avoid extreme heat and cold as it can aggravate the condition. It's important to keep the skin supple and moist. During baths, add a few drops of bath oil and avoid using alkaline soaps as they have a drying effect. After each bath, apply emollients (on doctor’s prescription), all over the baby to keep the skin moist. These should be applied frequently to hydrate the skin. Mild steroid creams can be used for serious eczema provided a doctor prescribes them and they are used sparingly. Clothes should be washed and rinsed thoroughly as any residual build-up can irritate the skin. Avoid irritating fabrics like wool or nylon. Cotton fabric is best for babies.
• Sun care-
It is very easy for babies and children to be burnt by the sun because of their ultrasensitive skin - even on cloudy days. It has been scientifically proven that if a baby or child has serious sunburn when they are young, they are more prone to skin cancer when adults.
So always protect your child by putting a sun block/ sunscreen all over the exposed skin on his body and giving him a hat to wear, which shades his face and neck. Sun block should in a formula which is specially designed for babies and children. While in the sun, reapply the cream every hour, taking care not to get any in his eyes or mouth. Do not put cream on the palms of his hands or his fingers since he may place these in his mouth and ingest the cream. Creams and lotions are much easier to apply and a lot less messy than oils or sprays. If the baby does get sun burnt, it is important to treat as soon as possible. Give the baby a cool bath to cool down his skin temperature then after drying apply a cooling aftersun gel or lotion. Aloe gel is particularly effective for treating sunburn. Make sure the baby is drinking plenty of water during hot weather so he does not become dehydrated or suffer from heat stroke. As far as possible, try to always keep the baby in the shade and out of direct sunlight.
• Cradle Cap-
Cradle cap is a harmless scalp condition, which tends to appear anytime in the first 10 weeks of the baby's life. It is characterized by oily, yellow scales on the scalp, forehead, and face, eye brows, behind the ears and around the genital area. In fact, cradle cap is similar to atopic eczema, but is less itchy and occurs in different areas.
In case of cradle cap, wash the affected areas daily. Excessive scaling on the scalp can be removed by shampooing regularly. Prevent the build-up of scales by brushing through your baby's hair with a soft-bristled brush. Applying baby or olive oil to the affected area and leaving it overnight before brushing and washing can remove scales.
• Heat Rash-
Heat rashes develop on the baby’s delicate skin when the pores of the skin are blocked. Causes of blockage include poorly ventilated rooms or thick layers of clothing. Products for oily skin can also block the pores. The rash often appears as small, red bumps in skin folds. And usually affects the cheeks, neck, shoulders, and diaper area. While a common occurrence, heat rash does not pose a major discomfort to babies, are potentially harmless and most outbreaks pass quickly.
Do not overdress your baby; light clothing made of natural fibers like cotton is best for the baby. Ensure the room is properly ventilated and wherever possible, have a through breeze in the room. Wipe away any sweat with a damp cloth and give frequent cool baths or sponge baths to help open the skin pores.
• Nappy Rash-
Nappy rash is a common problem that arises when a baby's urine or stool is left too long and it comes into contact with the skin. The bacteria in the stool react with urine to produce ammonia, which stings and burns the skin.
Symptoms of nappy rash can range from patches of mild redness to inflamed areas covered with tiny spots filled with pus. Areas normally affected are the buttocks, groin area and upper thighs.
If the baby shows signs of nappy rash, a barrier cream applied between the skin and diaper may help. Change the baby's diapers frequently and take care not to leave him in a wet diaper for long periods of time. Let the baby go bare-bottomed as often as possible to help the skin breathe. When washing cloth nappies, rinse them well to avoid any build-up of detergents or fabric conditioners. As a babies' skin is sensitive to these substances, consider using disposable diapers for a time instead.
Bathe the baby's bottom frequently and clean the sensitive areas gently with water. Avoid baby wipes containing alcohol as they have a drying effect on the skin. In case of very messy nappy, it may be easier to clean him with cotton wool and baby lotion.