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How to Treat Your Baby's Acne, Cradle Cap and Other Rashes (Plus, Why It Happens!) - What to Expect



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- Your baby is precious perfection from soft, downy head

to improbably tiny toes, even more snuggly

than you could have pictured in your expectant daydreams.

Still, you may be wondering:

is something wrong with this picture?

What are those yucky scaly flakes

doing on his soft, sweet scalp?

Those whiteheads covering his button nose?

Those red bumps dotting his kissable cheeks?

Isn't baby skin supposed to be clear,

smooth, flawless and flake-free?

Let's face facts: few babies escape

their first few months without a bout

of complexion bumps, none of them especially pretty,

but all of them totally temporary.

Milia, those white heads you may have discovered

on your newborn's nose, chin and cheeks,

are caused by dead skin skin getting caught in pockets

on the surface of your little one's skin.

Milia often make their debut at birth.

Resist the urge to scrub or squeeze those mini whiteheads.

They'll clear up completely on their own,

without any treatment at all.

Weren't prepared for pimples in your baby either,

at least until she reached middle school?

Just like the adolescent variety, infant acne,

characterized by bumpy red pimples,

is believed to be caused by hormones.

Not hers, but yours, which are still

floating around in baby's system.

Unlike milia, pimples don't pop up until at least two

to three weeks after delivery, sometimes later.

What's a parent to do?

Really, nothing at all, no zit zappers necessary.

Just rinse the pimples with water and pat them dry.

Gently does it.

The acne, like the milia, will clear on their own.

And more good news: neither predicts a pimply future.

Got breast milk?

Dabbing drops of that liquid gold on baby breakouts

may fast track the all-clear,

helping heal complexion concerns of all kinds.

Hey, maybe even yours!

Is cradle cap top of your mind,

topping your little one's scalp and sometimes showing up

behind his ears, on his eyelids or eyebrows,

or on the side of his nose, with greasy scales that end up

flaking or forming yellow or brownish crustiness?

There are plenty of gentle baby shampoos

designed to curb cradle cap.

Ask your baby's doctor for a recommendation.

Adding a gentle scalp massage with her shampoo or before it

may help loosen up scales so they can be washed away.

That didn't do the trick?

Ask about whether a pre-shampoo rubdown

with a few drops of a recommended oil or ointment

may get this baby-variety dandruff to flake off.

A truly tough case may require

a medicated shampoo or lotion, but don't use any

unless it has been prescribed by the pediatrician.

Once again, the best treatment may be the one

you may have on tap: breastmilk.

Rub it into baby's scalp often,

or use some in baby's bath water.

Since sweating steps up those scales, skip the hat

unless it's necessary to protect against cold or sun,

and opt for one that's made of a soft, breathable material.

Remove hats as soon as your baby is indoors or in the car.

And of course, no hats during sleep.

Like most infant skin conditions,

cradle cap rarely outstays baby's cradle days,

though in a few little ones it may persist,

or even clear up and then return,

which should prompt a return to the doctor for advice.

Here's to smooth sailing for your baby's skin,

which is likely just around the bumpy bend!

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