When you were expecting, you probably envisioned having a soft, clear-skinned infant. However, face rashes are common among babies, and parents should expect to see at least one rash on their baby's face during her first year of life. Thankfully, most rashes aren't serious, and treatment--if any is required--is relatively straightforward.
Eczema in infants appears in tan-colored or reddish patches of rough, bumpy or scaly skin. As eczema grows worse, the patches become more itchy and may ooze and then crust over. It's important to prevent eczema from reaching this point, or it may lead to infection due to scratching.
If you suspect your baby has eczema, discuss it with your pediatrician. Sometimes eczema is preventable through changes in diet.
Treatment usually begins by switching to a gentle and moisturizing soap (like Dove), used only as absolutely needed. After baths, petroleum jelly or Aquaphor may be applied to the skin. Making sure the baby doesn't get overheated is also important.
If these measures don't help, your pediatrician may prescribe a steroid cream for the rash.
When your baby gets overheated, she may develop a clear or red rash on her face, neck, arms and chest.
Heat rash is preventable by keeping the baby dressed in light, loose clothing (or just a diaper) during hot weather. Air conditioning, staying in the shade, and sponging with cool water help, too.
Heat rash can also occur in the winter if you overdress your child or place him in a room that's artificially heated. To properly dress your child, consider what type of clothing you'd find comfortable under the circumstances (long or short sleeves, cotton or flannel, for example) and dress your child accordingly.
"Newborn rash" is a general term describing a range of common skin rashes in newborns, including erythema toxicum (a rash with blotchy red spots that have raised white or yellow centers), milia (white pimples on the nose and chin), and neonatal acne (which looks just like teen or adult acne). None of these needs treatment, and all go away within a few weeks.
If your baby's cheeks, chin and mouth area have a rash, it may be milk rash--an allergic reaction to milk proteins. Typically, milk rash goes away without treatment, but if it lasts more than a month, your pediatrician may have your baby try a soy formula or a formula with broken-down milk proteins. Nursing mothers may be able to cure the problem by not consuming milk products. Steroid creams can also help clear up persistent cases.
When your baby begins cutting teeth, he may drool more, causing a rash on his chin and perhaps his cheeks. The rash can be reduced by gently rinsing your baby's face morning and night (using water and no soap or washcloth). A layer of Aquaphor or petroleum jelly on her cheeks and chin can also protect from the irritation of drool.