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Smooth as a baby's bottom...or not

Skin like a baby? That can mean a lot of things. An infant's skin can experience numerous changes in the first few weeks of life. Here are a few common conditions you might see.
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Parents may be concerned by their "bundle-of-joy's" less than perfect skin, but a dermatologist can evaluate and determine which conditions will resolve themselves and which may need additional treatment.

Recurrent diaper rash is the most common skin condition for which new parents seek a dermatologist's advice. This condition is caused by persistent wet, soiled diapers and the use of unnecessary baby products, such as powders, creams, lotions and oils. "When a baby has diaper rash, parents should remember to change diapers frequently, use a warm, wet washcloth instead of pre-moistened baby wipes on the bottom, and apply a barrier cream with zinc oxide to the affected area," stated Dr. Cambio. "Also, keeping the area open to the air as long as possible before putting a clean diaper on can help prevent the condition."

Atopic dermatitis or eczema, also is a common condition found in newborns and young children. This itchy, oozing, crusting rash occurs mainly on the face and scalp, but patches can appear anywhere. "This condition also can be confused with cradle cap, a common, red, scaly rash most commonly seen on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids and the skin behind the ears," said Dr. Cambio. "Eczema treatment can include the use of an over-the-counter or prescription topical, steroid-free antihistamine, while cradle cap usually clears without treatment by 8 to 12 months."

Baby acne, which can have the appearance of pimples and whiteheads along the nose and cheeks, is quite common in newborns as the hormones from the mother increase oil production in an infant's skin and the immature oil glands get clogged. This condition usually clears within three weeks without treatment.

The appearance of a birthmark on a newborn's body can be stressful for parents, but there are many treatments available to fade and even remove these skin conditions, especially from the face. The two most common types of birthmarks are hemangiomas and port-wine stains. Both types can grow as a child grows, but port-wine stains are present at birth, while hemangiomas may not immediately appear. Oral corticosteroids can be prescribed or a pulsed dye laser can be used to significantly improve the appearance of these birthmarks.

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