Special Interest: Dermatology / Skin disorders
Concerned about a rash that's appeared on your baby's skin? “Oh no what's that?" you may ask. One day your baby's skin is clear and smooth but the next day there's an unknown rash, swelling or discharge on the skin.
The human skin acts as a defensive barrier against all sorts of elements, from bacteria to sun, but it takes about 2 years from birth for that epidermis to get up to speed and function effectively.
When it comes to your baby’s skin you can depend on one thing: It's guaranteed to erupt into a rash during the first year. Not surprisingly, the number of infants experiencing skin disorders is rising and over 30% of unscheduled visits to the paediatrician’s office are caused by skin problems.
The growing reality for many parents, however, is learning to help their children handle irritating skin disorders. Although many parents have found ways to temporarily suppress symptoms, many have now become determined to resolve their child’s skin condition altogether. Eliminating a skin condition takes a great deal more effort than suppressing the symptoms, but the reward is once again seeing that perfect, baby soft skin on your child.
With infant skin care, the saying is "less is more."
- Resist the urge to bathe your baby frequently. Too-frequent bathing -- more than three times per week during the first year of life -- removes the natural oils that protect baby's skin. That may leave baby's skin vulnerable and dry.
- Don't use Scented baby products in the early months. This can irritate your baby's delicate skin.
- Wash baby's clothing before it's worn. Use only baby laundry detergents that are fragrance- and dye free. Wash baby clothes, bedding, and blankets separately from the family's laundry.
1. Nappy RasH
A yeast nappy rash can also happen if your baby is taking antibiotics as they kill the good bacteria that normally keep the yeast in check.
Yeast is a fungus that lives on your skin and in the intestines, and when you have a warm, moist environment like in the nappy area, it can cause a bit of a rash. The rash will begin as tiny red spots that multiply and mass into a solid red blotch which may include pus-filled bumps.
- Keep a nappy rash under control by changing your baby often and letting their naked bottom air out occasionally. Cotton nappies are also a better alternative during acute stages of a nappy rash.
- Wash the diaper area with plain water. If the rash is severe, use a squirt bottle to cleanse without rubbing.
- Use a soft clean cloth, not baby wipes. The perfume or alcohol in some wipes can further irritate and dry baby's skin.
- Disinfect the area with calendula tincture or calendula soap, make sure to dry the area completely before putting on another nappy.
- You can apply colloidal silver gel mixed with a few drop of liquid probiotics to the affected area.
- If you don’t have any products in range, you can always boil a cup of oats and while letting it cool, collect the gel layer accumulated on top of the oats and apply it to your baby’s bum. Works every time!
Approximately 40% of infants develop milia.
Milia are tiny, white spots that may appear usually across your baby’s nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, or around the eyes.
Milia looks raised, but if you touch them, they will feel smooth and flat.
Your baby's milia spots should clear up on their own within a month or six weeks.
3. Molluscum contagiosum
If infected with the virus, your baby is most likely to get these spots on the belly, chest, around the bottom and genital area or on the inside of joints (such as on his inner elbows and behind his knees).
Molluscum contagiosum looks like shiny pink pearls with a dimple in the middle or a pus-filled centre. They can range in size from 1mm to 10mm across and can continue to grow over several weeks, there are rarely more than 20 spots on the body.
Don’t worry it usually clears up within 18 months without treatment. If the lesions are itching, bleeding, or making your baby uncomfortable make an appointment with your Homeopath.
The rash has dry, itchy, red, and cracked areas of skin, which can sometimes ooze fluid and bleed.
Eczema usually occurs in flare-ups, your baby's skin may have red and itchy patches of skin most of the time, but during flare-ups these areas worsen and may need more intensive treatment.
- Try once-a-week bathing and make bath time short while using lukewarm water.
- Keep your baby's nails trimmed to prevent them from scratching at the rash.
- Limit your use of baby scented skin products.
- Messy feedings and drool can further irritate sensitive skin.
- For treatment consult your homoeopathic practitioner where remedies such as the following might be prescribed:
- ARSENICUM ALBUM: Intense itching. Turns to burning when scratches till raw; when burning stops, itching returns. Skin dry as paper. Flaking. Pussy. Small vesicles. Eczema worst on uncovered parts or areas. Chilly, weakness. Sips cold water. Restless. Anxious, worried about health, death, security, picky, miserly.
- GRAPHITES: Red itching pimples; oozing of honey like liquid, which crusts over. Infects and scars easily, heals slowly. Overweight, sweaty, constipated. Scalp. Hairline, behind ears, genitals, back of hands, palms, skin folds. Thickened skin.
- SULPHUR: Moist, weeping eruptions, foul odor. Intensely itchy; scratches till it bleeds, causing burning. Skin bleeds easily. Dry, scaly, cracked areas. Unhealthy skin, pimples, easily infected. Burning hot feet at night. Hair margins, face, areas of perspiration, feet, bends of elbows, knee. Intellectual dreamer. Lethargic, unmotivated.
- In severe cases if they don't respond to treatment, the Homeopath might recommend allergy testing to rule out triggers.
5. infantile acne
Your baby's acne can become more pronounced when he is hot or fussy, or if his skin is irritated by saliva, milk residue, or fabric that's rough or that's been washed in strong detergent. Baby acne will go away on its own without treatment.
6. Chicken pox
A chickenpox rash starts as little red spots that develop tiny fluid-filled blisters in a few hours. They will show on your baby's face and then spread to her body appearing in groups.
Chickenpox is a very contagious disease, caused by the varicella-zoster virus and mainly affects children. They will be infectious until the blisters dry out — about a week — and are covered in scabs.
It will go away on its own, but you can help to relieve your baby’s symptoms.
- Keep their fingernails short to minimize skin damage from scratching and the associated complications of bacterial superinfection.
- NB!! Parents should not use aspirin for fever control, because the development of Reye syndrome is associated with salicylate administration in children with chickenpox.
- Remember Chickenpox is a virus, so your baby won’t respond to antibiotics.
- Give your baby plenty of fluids to prevent him getting dehydrated. Offer him extra breast or bottle feeds. If he is formula-fed or on solids, he can have water too.
- To soothe your baby’s itchy spots, you can use calamine lotion.
- If your baby has chickenpox, keep him away from pregnant women who have not had chickenpox before as it can cause problems for an unborn baby.
- Homeopathic remedies to consider:
- ACONITUM: This remedy should be considered at the initial stages of chickenpox when there is fever, restlessness, and increased thirst.
- APIS: Children who have itching and stinging pox that is worse from heat and in warm rooms and better from cold and in cool rooms should be given this remedy.
- BELLADONNA: Chickenpox with severe headache, flushed face, hot skin, and drowsiness with the inability to sleep well should be treated with this medicine.
- RHUS TOX: This is the most common remedy for chickenpox. These children experience intense itching, especially at night and from scratching. They are very restless.
7. Cradle Cap
Cradle cap can cover the whole of your baby's scalp. It can also appear on your baby's face and neck, and around her nappy area, armpits, and nose.
The cause of cradle cap is not known. One contributing factor may be hormones that pass from the mother to the baby before birth. These hormones can cause too much production of oil (sebum) in the oil glands and hair follicles. Cradle cap usually clears up on its own in a few months.Cradle cap isn't contagious, and it's not caused by poor hygiene.
- You can treat your baby's cradle cap at home by washing her hair regularly and using a soft brush to loosen the flake.
- Rub almond oil or coconut oil into your baby's scalp. If you want, you can leave the oil on overnight, and then brush off the softened flakes in the morning. Clean the remaining oil off by shampooing with mild baby shampoo.
- It is tempting to pick at the scaly patches on your baby's head, but try not to. Picking at it can leave sore patches that could become infected.
- If your baby's cradle cap starts to look red and swollen, take her to your Homeopathic practitioner. This could mean it is infected.
- Homoeopathic remedies to consider:
- CALCAREA CARB- The eruption is covered with thick scabs, with yellow pus underneath. The stools are white like chalk and the child has cold damp feet.
- DULCAMARA-Thick, brown herpetic crusts on the face, forehead, temples and chin, with reddish borders, bleeding when scratched.
- GRAHITES- The eruption exudes a sticky fluid. It appears mostly on the chin and behind ears, unhealthy skin, very little injury causes suppuration.
- LYCOPODIUM- The eruption suppurates and had a bad smell. Thick crusts form having deep cracks on the skin underneath.
8. hand, foot and mouth disease
The blisters in the mouth can be very painful and your baby may not want to drink or eat, accompanied with a mild fever for a day or two and a general unwell feeling.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is very contagious and easily passes from person to person. It usually takes between three to five days for symptoms to appear once your baby is infected. Hand, foot and mouth disease will be uncomfortable for your baby, but rest assured that it’s not a serious illness.
You’ll probably want to call your Homeopath, to check and confirm that it is hand, foot and mouth disease.
- Hand, foot and mouth disease can’t be treated with antibiotics because it’s a virus.
- Also watch out for signs of dehydration, especially if your baby won’t eat or drink and has fewer wet nappies than usual, call your Homeopath.
- Baby teething gel (Pure Beginnings, soothing teething gel) may also relieve your baby’s pain in his mouth. Rub some gel on his gums, tongue and the insides of his cheeks where you can see sores.
- Spraying Colloidal Silver into your baby’s mouth might also relieve the pain.
- Homeopathic remedies to consider:
- MERC SOL: Mouth sores can be very severe, and the person is very sensitive to hot and cold; may have a fever before getting the blisters and may alternate between getting too hot with perspiration and becoming chilled at night; becoming too hot or too cold makes the person worse in general.
- ANT TART: Chill stage of fever: gooseflesh and icy cold skin; heat stage of fever: clings to those around and wants to be carried; does not want to be touched or looked at; thirstless despite the dry parched tongue.
- BORAX: Refuses to talk during fever; desire for cold drinks and cold food during fever; great heat and dryness of mouth with white ulcers (aphthae).
- If your baby has measles, the first symptoms of measles can include a runny nose, a fever of 38C, sore and red swollen eyes (conjunctivitis), dry coughing and white spots in the mouth (Koplik spots).
- Three or four days after these symptoms appear, you will notice red spots behind your baby’s ears and on his face and neck.
- As the rash appears, his fever may rise. The spots will spread over his body and develop a bumpy texture. The rash may be itchy, and will last for about five days.
- As it fades, it will turn a brownish colour and leave your baby’s skin dry and flaky.
However, occasionally measles can cause other problems such as: diarrhoea, vomiting, an ear infection, an eye infection, febrile convulsions and laryngitis.
Pulsatilla 1M and Morbillinum 200CH are used as homoeopathic prevention for measles instead of the MMR vaccine. If your baby has measles, consult with your Homeopathic practitioner immediately. Depending on your child’s personal case the Homeopath will decide on which homoeopathic remedies to give.
- EUPHRASIA: Inflammation of the mucous membrane of eyes and nose. Sneezing with bland discharge from the nose and acrid discharges from the eyes It turns measles in to simple form, bringing out the eruptions controls the fever and relieves the cough.
- To relive the coughing, place a bowl of warm water or a humidifier in the room to make it more humid, you can add eucalyptus oil.
- Lots of resting and fluid intake is required.
- Avoid sunlight as measles damages eye tissues. The room should have subdued light, so as to not further cause damage to the eyes.
- You can make Calendula tea for you baby, it heals from the inside out.
10. Rubella / german measles
German Measles is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. German Measles is caused by a different virus than measles, and is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles.
Mild fever, Headache, stuffy or runny nose, inflamed red eyes and enlarged tender lymph nodes at the base of the skull the back of the neck and behind the ears.
The rash is a fine pink rash that begins on the face and quickly spreads to the trunk and then the arms and legs, disappearing in the same sequence.
- GELSEMIUM: When the patient is drowsy and indifferent. Face ouffed and flushed. No thirst. Pulse full and soft but slow.
- BELLADONNA: If Aconitum fails, there is sore throat, headache, cough and swollen face give this remedy
- Preventative homeopathic treatment involves RUBEOLINUM.
- ACONITUM: In the beginning, on appearance of the catarrhal symptoms, the patient demands water at night though he has seldom done so in the past. He is chilly and restless.
For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Smit, please contact us on 012 460 9216
Richard P. j. b. Weller, J. A. A. Hunter, Mark V. Dahl; Clinical Dermatology 2008; 81.