A baby’s skin is wonderfully delicate and very fragrant. But unfortunately – as new parents can often confirm – it is also still very sensitive and susceptible to external stimuli. For example, it is three to five times thinner than the skin of adults. In addition, due to the immature sebaceous and sweat glands, there is no sufficient protective barrier
Together with the developing immune system, this means that pathogens, for example, can penetrate more easily. Find out here what the most common skin conditions in babies are – and how they are treated.
- Diaper Dermatitis
- Diaper thrush
- Cradle cap
Table of contents
Miracle Baby Bottom: Diaper Dermatitis As A Common Skin Disease In Babies
Despite all precautionary measures and gentle diaper materials – a sore skin on the baby’s bottom sometimes simply cannot be avoided during the diapering phase. Diaper dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin or a skin rash that can spread in the diaper area, i.e. on the bottom, genitals and thighs. Infants between the ages of 9 and 12 months especially often suffer from the rash.
Symptoms of diaper dermatitis: the sore baby bottom is red and can cause sore burning, pain, itching, and open and slightly scaly skin. The baby cries very often and is restless
Various factors can be identified as triggers for this common skin condition in babies. But first and foremost, the baby’s secretions and body heat create a warm, moist climate in the diaper, and the “chafing” caused by the diaper material does the rest.
In order to make your baby feel comfortable in his own skin again and to treat the diaper rash, therapy should be started immediately. Attention should be paid to the special needs of sensitive baby skin:
- Especially in case of acute diaper rash, your baby should be diapered more frequently. It is recommended to change the diaper every two hours.
- If possible, do not use wet wipes during this time (they are often perfumed and sometimes contain skin-irritating additives), but lukewarm water to clean the bottom. Fresh, soft cotton towels are suitable for drying.
Tip: As often as possible, allow your baby to romp or crawl without a diaper, i.e. with bare skin, so that enough air gets to the bottom. Babies can, for example, lie on the changing mat under a heat source, such as a radiant heater, and kick. The skin then has time to dry well. The room should be sufficiently heated.
Here you can find more causes and tips for diaper dermatitis.
Diaper Thrush: Inflammation Due To Skin Fungus
If the baby’s sensitive skin is already affected, for example by minor injuries, dryness or a diaper rash, a wide variety of pathogens can penetrate the wounds in the skin. In babies, yeast fungi, such as Candida albicans, can be detected particularly frequently. In the case of such a fungal infestation of the skin, doctors speak of so-called diaper thrush, which is also colloquially referred to as diaper fungus
You can recognize this example of skin diseases in babies by the fact that the skin is reddened and the child suffers from itching as well as pain. In addition, small pustules and pimples are often seen on the baby’s bottom. The most obvious difference from diaper dermatitis is probably when the scaly areas of skin have a whitish coating and the infection gives off an acidic odor (the yeast fungi produce it as they multiply)
If you discover these changes in the diaper area, i.e. on your baby’s thighs, bottom and genitals, a visit to the pediatrician is highly recommended. Only a physician can make a clear diagnosis of diaper thrush – also in distinction to diaper dermatitis
When treating diaper thrush, the described measures for diaper dermatitis therapy can also provide relief, but they will not fight the fungus. Here it needs the action of so-called antifungals: These are special antifungal drugs (for example, with nystatin or zinc), in most cases in the form of ointments. They are applied to the affected and previously cleaned areas after diaper changes
Cradle Cap – Not Uncommon In Babies
Cradle cap is also a common skin condition in babies. It is a bark-like, yellowish, greasy, shiny crust that scales and affects the child’s hairy head and cheeks. Here, too, dryness and itching are triggers for discomfort and pain in the baby. The skin problem gets its name from its resemblance to overcooked milk
Cradle cap occurs mainly after the first three months of life and usually disappears on its own during the first two years of life. The exact causes of the baby skin problem are not yet fully understood. Massaging the scalp with baby care oil can bring relief and soften the dandruff, making it easier to remove.
If you notice skin changes in your child, you should react early and consult a doctor, so that your baby soon feels well again and does not have to suffer from one of the various skin diseases
Praun, Manfred: The big GU baby book. Munich: Gräfer and Unzer 2019. p. 58
Riedl, Matthias: Species-appropriate nutrition. Cure for ailments that leave doctors stumped. Munich: Gräfe und Unzer 2019. p. 166
https://www.dha-allergien.de/babyhaut.html (MAR. 05, 2021).
Fölster-Holst, Regina: Diaper dermatitis – a disease of civilization. In: The Midwife. Munich: Georg Thieme Verlag KG 2017; 30: 276-284. p. 276. URL: https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/pdf/10.1055/s-0043-111251.pdf (10.02.2021).