Babies have a whole range of skin conditions, most of which are nothing at all to worry about. Just so you know what they are, here's a rundown.
Most very newborn babies will have tiny white or yellowish pinhead spots on their noses. These are completely harmless and will disappear within about a week of birth. Don't squeeze them.
Cradle cap is a common name for seborrhoea, a yellowish/brown crust that babies (and sometimes older children) get on their scalps, eyebrows and behind the ears. It first appears in small patches but may soon spread over the whole head.
This crusting of the baby's scalp can look unsightly, particularly on a baby with very little hair. It is caused by oily secretion from the sebaceous glands. If you want to treat it, you can soften the crusts by massaging the top of the head with a little warm olive oil or sorbolene and glycerine twice a day. Leave it a few hours or overnight and wash it out at the next bath-time.
By massaging with a facecloth, gently remove any crusts that are soft enough to come off easily and continue this process until it's clear. Do not pick crusts off. Prevention is best, so gently massage your baby's scalp at each bath-time .
Little red spots on the head and face can appear, sometimes in large patches and often in the creases of the baby's neck. They will probably disappear and reappear at will. Although they are called "heat rash" and might seem to appear when a baby is dressed . warmly, it is not known for certain that they are caused by heat . They cause no distress and don't need any treatment.
Also, it's possible that what you wash your baby's clothes in may be irritating her skin. Note that it is not necessary to use antibacterial agents for washing baby clothes except for nappies. For clothes, use a pure soap melted in hot water before being added to the washing machine on gentle cycle with warm water - no added softeners are needed.
Take care of your baby's skin by avoiding using strong soaps on it. A good substitute for soap at bath-time is a sorbolene and glycerine cream. You can also apply an unperfumed moisturising cream after a bath - for example, sorbolene and glycerine cream, again, or a light almond oil.
Many newborn babies will have patches of peeling skin, often in the groin area. This is not a dry skin condition and it should not be confused with nappy rash. It causes no discomfort. It is the shedding of the skin that came in contact with the fluid inside the womb. Soon it will disappear.
The skin might appear bluish and mottled. This is particularly noticeable on premature babies. It is normal and is due to the immature circulatory system.
This fanciful name refers to the red patches which are often found on the back of babies' necks, on their eyelids or on their foreheads. They are due to prominent blood vessels which are easy to see under the babies' fine skin. They will be more visible when your baby cries. Storkbeak marks usually fade within a year.
So called because they are more common in people of Asian descent, as well as of southern European, African and Polynesian descent, these can look like bruises. They are benign and are due to accumulations of pigment under the skin. They will eventually fade.
These are not visible at birth but will start in the early weeks as a small spot which eventually grows larger and redder and is raised above the surface. Sometimes they can be very large, which is distressing for parents, and they can take years to disappear, but disappear they do. Also, they don't always remain as large as they are at their peak (sometime in the first year). After that, they start to shrink. They can appear anywhere on the body.
These brown marks are permanent. They vary in size and shape, can be lighter or darker in colour, some are raised and some are hairy. Consult your GP about these marks, as they need to be monitored for change.
Reviewed & Edited By Sue Prescott and Lindy Danvers