by Maureen Healy
'Smooth as a baby's bottom,' goes the saying. So what are all those bumps?! Learn what's going on -- and what to do about it
"Skin care can be confusing when you're a new parent," says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician and board-certified dermatologist in Omaha, Neb., and president of LovelySkin.com. "Infants may develop rashes or other skin conditions; most are easily treatable and disappear on their own or with minor treatments, but more serious conditions -- such as herpes, skin infections and viral diseases -- do merit professional evaluation."
Here are a few of the most common skin conditions your baby may develop:
Common Baby Skin Condition No. 1: Baby Acne
Babies can have what appears to be acne during the first months due to hormones being passed from the mother in utero and during breastfeeding, says Schlessinger. It usually resolves on its own.
Common Baby Skin Condition No. 2: Cradle Cap
Also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis, cradle cap looks like scaly yellow or brown patches on a baby's scalp. (It can spread to other oily parts of the body too, such as ears and eyelids.) For a natural treatment to remove the scales, massage your baby's scalp with almond or olive oil, leave it on for about 15 minutes, then brush lightly with a very soft-bristled brush or rub gently with a washcloth. Use a mild shampoo to clean the scalp to make sure no oil stays behind. In severe cases, your pediatrician can give you a prescription for a medicated shampoo.
Common Baby Skin Condition No. 3: Diaper Rash
Wearing tight or ill-fitting diapers, or leaving a diaper on for too long, can result in a red rash on your baby's bottom. Change diapers frequently and treat diaper rash by cleaning the area with a mild cleanser, then applying an ointment such as A&D or Desitin, recommends Schlessinger. If it persists, visit your pediatrician to check for yeast or another type of infection.
Common Baby Skin Condition No. 4: Eczema
These red, rough patches of skin are very common in children. Gentle baby moisturizers are helpful. If something stronger is needed, try a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream.
Common Baby Skin Condition No. 5: Milia
These small, harmless white bumps may be due to clogged glands because the skin hasn't yet started its natural exfoliation process, says Lawrence Samuels, M.D., chief of dermatology at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis. They are usually short-lived and disappear on their own.
If your baby's skin condition doesn't match any of the above descriptions -- or if you're still concerned -- see your pediatrician to rule out a virus or a more serious infection.