Rashes in Babies: Types, Symptoms, and More (2023)

Babies have incredibly sensitive skin, making them more prone to rashes than adults and older children. But with all the different types out there, it can be difficult to identify what baby rash is, what causes it, and how to treat it. Also, no parent wants to see their precious little one with a red or bumpy reaction on their soft skin. Many may be wondering how skin rashes affect a baby's well-being and whether they are itchy or painful. And how can parents tell if the baby's rash is harmless or a little more serious?

Because there are so many types of rashes in babies, it's important to know what symptoms to look out for and when to call the pediatrician. To help you better identify a baby rash, we've put together a handy guide to all rashes. Read on to learn about the most common types of rashes in babies, the telltale signs and symptoms, and the best ways to treat them.

In this article:
Causes of baby rash
Baby acne or baby rash?
baby heat rash
meningitis rash
streptococcal rash
baby drool rash
Baby Eczema Rash
allergic baby rash
baby fungal rash
When to worry about baby rashes

Causes of baby rash

When it comes to baby rashes, there are many types and many culprits. Some common causes are:

  • irritants.Common irritants that can upset babies' sensitive skin include saliva and drool, feces, baby wipes, detergents, soaps, sunscreen, and nickel.

  • allergiesAllergic reactions can cause a baby rash to appear in a number of ways. The rashes can be itchy, bumpy bumps or dry, itchy patches.eczemaIt's the most common version of a baby rash caused by allergies.

  • infections.Infections can cause different types of skin rashes in babies, the most common being fungal rashes. However, sometimes a viral baby rash can develop. "These rashes appear when babies have certain viral diseases and may be accompanied by a fever or other symptoms," she says.Ana Bieger, MD, pediatric dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian. A viral baby rash can appear as small dots on the upper body and sometimes on the arms and legs, and can last for several days to a week. This can last for a few days and then go away.

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“Babies’ skin barrier is particularly delicate because they have thinner, immature and still developing skin, making them much more susceptible to damage and dryness. It's also more reactive, especially to things that might be irritating," he explains.Lauren R. Crosby, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician at LaPeer Pediatrics in Beverly Hills, California. Babies' skin is typically ultra-sensitive from birth to around 2 years of age, although diaper rash can persist beyond this age until toddlers are potty trained.

In our guide below, we outline the different ways baby rashes look and act. Read on to learn the most common types of rashes in babies to look out for and how to prevent and treat them. From heat rash to chickenpox, we'll help you understand any bumps or spots you might find on your baby.

Baby acne or baby rash?

Breakouts aren't just for teenagers, it's actually quite normal for babies to get acne. "Also known as neonatal acne, it's a common rash in babies in their first month of life," says Bender. "It is believed that maternal hormones passed from mother to baby in the womb can cause the appearance of baby acne."

But how can you tell if it's baby acne or a baby rash? Baby acne usually looks like a bunch of small red bumps, as opposed to the lacy red of a baby rash.

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symptoms of baby acne

  • PimpleBaby acne is usually clusters of small red pimples and blackheads.
  • Cheeks irritated.Baby acne usually develops on the cheeks, but can also appear on the nose, forehead, and sometimes behind the ears and on the scalp.
  • persistent symptoms.Baby acne can last up to three to four months.

prevention and treatment

Baby acne usually clears up on its own with a gentle cleansing. On occasion, parents may need to see a dermatologist if it persists beyond the normal three to four months, but this is fairly rare.

baby heat rash

Baby heat rash often occurs when a baby's sweat glands become blocked and trap sweat under the skin, Crosby says. It is usually seen in hot weather or when the baby is overdressed. How do you know if baby rash is caused by heat?

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Heat rash symptoms

  • Small red bumps.They usually appear on the baby's head, neck, and shoulders, and sometimes on the chest.
  • Itching.Sometimes heat rash can be itchy, so use caution if baby is scratching irritated skin.

prevention and treatment

To avoid heat rash in babies, dress your baby in lighter clothing to make sure they don't overheat or sweat. In hot weather, it's okay to just let them sleep in diapers and overalls, and to keep a fan in the bedroom to keep the air cool and circulating. When baby's heat rash hits, "I recommend a daily bath with a fragrance-free sensitive skin cleanser to wick away sweat and keep skin clean," says Crosby. A baby's heat rash usually clears up on its own within three to four days, as long as the baby is not overdressed and is in a cool environment.

diaper rash in babies

It's self-explanatory where to expect that baby rash. "diaper rashit can result from irritation from wet diapers and friction,” says Bender.diaper rash in babiesIt's even more common in older babies, who sleep longer at night and can wet their diapers in the morning.

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Symptoms of diaper rash

  • Red stain.These usually appear in the rounded part of the baby's bottom.
  • Swollen and warm skin.In some cases, the baby's skin may be slightly raised and warm to the touch.

prevention and treatment

“Diaper rash can improve with frequent diaper changes and use of over-the-counter medications.diaper pasteit contains zinc oxide, which acts as a barrier against rubbing and irritation in the diaper area,” says Bender. Avoid baby diaper rash by making sure the baby's skin is completely dry before putting on a new diaper. In the past,Baby pillowsIt worked to absorb moisture and protect the baby's skin, but doctors no longer recommend using powder for diaper rash because inhaled powder can irritate the baby's lungs.

Sometimes a rash on a baby's butt can actually be oneyeast rashcaused by a fungus that lives on our skin.

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Symptoms of yeast rash

  • pink spots.These spots usually appear in the baby's skin folds, accompanied by small pink dots or pustules around the edge.

prevention and treatment

To treat a yeast rash in babies, apply an over-the-counter topical antifungal cream several times a day. Prevent yeast rash by keeping baby clean and dry.

meningitis rash

Meningitis is when the lining that lines the brain and spinal cord (the meninges) becomes inflamed and "is a serious infection because it can be present in the blood and brain and cause organ damage, permanent brain damage, or death," says Bender .

Although the viral form of meningitis is serious, it is almost never life-threatening, the government saidCenters for Disease Control and Prevention(CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION). However, bacterial meningitis can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention. There is a vaccine for bacterial meningitis, but it's usually not given until later in childhood or before college. They can't tell the difference between a baby rash caused by bacterial or viral meningitis, and in many cases the rash doesn't appear at all.

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Symptoms of meningitis

  • High fever.Take the baby's temperature, as a high fever is a classic sign of meningitis.
  • Lethargy.If the baby is less active than usual, this could be another sign of meningitis.
  • VomitThis symptom is more common in babies, along with loss of appetite and irritability.
  • eruptions.Meningitis rashes can vary in appearance, but the most common are pink or red patches all over the place, purple rashes that can look like small bruises or broken veins on the skin, and an itchy red rash.

prevention and treatment

Viral meningitis usually clears up on its own within seven to 10 days, but bacterial meningitis requires immediate medical attention so antibiotics can be given as soon as possible. Severe cases may require hospitalization. If you think the baby may have meningitis, call your doctor right away; They can determine if the baby has the disease and the type of meningitis.

streptococcal rash

A strep baby rash is another type of viral baby rash. Your child is more likely to get a strep rash if other family members have been exposed to strep infection.

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Symptoms of streptococcal rash

  • Bright red skin.The baby strep rash can appear bright red and fleshy with moist, weeping patches in the folds of the neck, or as a bright red circular patch in the area around the baby's anus, Bender says.
  • blisters and scabs.Seeing crusts and blisters on the baby's skin is another common sign of strep throat.

prevention and treatment

Because streptococci can be spread from person to person through close contact, keep your baby away from infected people. Unlike the common neck rash, which can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams, strep throat requires a visit to the doctor. Once the diagnosis of strep is confirmed, usually by a skin swab, your pediatrician may prescribe an oral antibiotic as treatment.


Chickenpox appears as a baby rash on the body. Before the vaccine against chickenpox, or chickenpox, became available in 1995, virtually all children under the age of 9 contracted chickenpoxAmerican Academy of Pediatrics(AAP). Nowadays it is quite rare for babies to havechickenpoxThanks to the vaccine. It is a super contagious viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. Therefore, avoid contact with infected people to ensure the safety of your baby.

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Chickenpox Symptoms

  • Red bumps and blisters.Chickenpox causes a blister-like rash on the baby's skin that starts on the back, stomach, or face and spreads throughout the baby's body. The blisters are often in different stages of healing, so some may look like pink bumps, others may look like scaly bumps, and others may look like blisters.
  • itchChickenpox rashes are notorious for being intensely itchy.
  • Fever.A temperature of 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit is common with chickenpox.

prevention and treatment

Doctors recommend bathing daily and keeping baby's fingernails trimmed to prevent scratching and digging into the skin, which could cause secondary infection. Usually treatment for chickenpox requires waiting (it can take five to seven days), but in severe cases (which are not common) an antiviral medication may be prescribed. To prevent chickenpox, theThe app recommendsthat healthy babies will receive the first dose of the vaccine between 12 and 15 months, followed by a second dose between 4 and 6 years.

baby drool rash

Notice a baby rash on your child's face? When babies' salivary glands become active, usually around 3 or 4 months of age, they start drooling. Lots. "If you think about it, saliva is part of your digestive tract," says Crosby. "It's not just water, so it's irritating."

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Bild:Courtesy of Wissabo/Instagram

Baby drool rash symptoms

  • A red, irritated baby rash on the face.Because the skin around a baby's mouth, chin, and neck is constantly moist, these areas are particularly susceptible to salivary rash.
  • desquamation of the skin.Baby drool rash can also appear slightly scaly and dry.

prevention and treatment

A way to prevent and cure baby drool rash? have a smoothbibUseful to keep baby's face and chest skin dry. Apply a mild over-the-counter ointment before and after meals to prevent saliva from touching the skin so the baby's salivary rash can heal underneath.

Baby Eczema Rash

eczema, dry and red skin patches, often chronic, is one of the most common skin diseases in babies; In fact, 60 percent of babies have eczema by the first year of life. "Sometimes babies scratch so much that it can cause bleeding and disrupt sleep," says Bender. "Babies with eczema often scratch more at night when they are put to bed or at night when they are not distracted by other activities." Eczema can become infected if left untreated, leading to crusting and weeping patches of skin.

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Baby Eczema Symptoms

  • itchThe more severe the baby's eczema, the more itchy the rash.
  • Dry patches of skin.This is a common sign of mild eczema.
  • Pinker patches of dry, scaly skin.This means a moderate case of eczema.
  • Red, scaly patches of skin.If the baby's skin is a darker red, it means severe eczema, which is usually accompanied by worsening symptoms and intense itching over a larger part of the body.

prevention and treatment

Keep baby's skin well hydrated with daily application of a thick creamCremeIt can prevent the occurrence of eczema in babies who are at higher risk of this condition, i.e. A mild case of this baby rash can sometimes be treated with just a moisturizer, while moderate eczema may require a cortisone cream or ointment to treat it. Severe eczema is treated with over-the-counter products.


"Hives can appear shortly after the baby eats something they're allergic to, or when the baby is fighting a virus, in which case the hives can last for several days," says Bender. They can appear anywhere on the body, even when caused by food. When the baby rash is caused by something your child has touched, it usually appears on the part of the baby's body that came into contact with the allergen. If the hives are accompanied by wheezing, or if the baby's mouth or tongue begins to swell, seek medical attention immediately.

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hive symptoms

  • Pink and spotted welts.These bumps can come and go on the baby's skin.
  • Itching.Hives are often very itchy.

prevention and treatment

An oral antihistamine such asBenadryl, may help treat hives. As a more natural remedy, try applying calamine lotion to the hives to calm the hives.

baby allergy rash

Whenever you expose your baby to new products, foods, and materials, there's always a small chance that they're allergic to a particular ingredient or chemical. These rashes can be caused by foods or medicines the baby is allergic to, or if the baby's skin comes into contact with an irritant, Crosby says.

So what does an allergic rash look like on a baby? An allergic rash in a baby can manifest itself in a number of ways, but the two most common signs are hives and eczema. As mentioned above, hives usually appear as pink, blotchy welts, while eczema appears as red, dry, scaly patches. Both rashes are itchy.

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If you notice the following symptoms, take the baby to the emergency room:

  • swelling of the lips or face.If the baby's lips or face become swollen, this is a sign of a serious allergic reaction and should be treated by a doctor immediately.
  • gaspingAny sign of shortness of breath is a warning sign.

prevention and treatment

"Treatment depends on the child's age and what's causing it," says Crosby. "You want to eliminate the allergen or trigger if you can and use a topical or oral allergy medication." Sometimes a blood or skin test may be needed to determine which baby is having an allergic reaction, and treatment for the baby's rash may then be prescribed.

baby fungal rash

A baby yeast rash is often caused by chronically moist or irritated skin. A yeast infection is the most common type of fungal rash. It can also occur in babies when another family member or pet has ringworm.

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Symptoms of fungal rash

  • Pink, ring-shaped, scaly patches on the skin.These scaly patches can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp and diaper area.

prevention and treatment

"A fungal rash needs a special antifungal cream, or if it's on the scalp and hair, you may need an oral antifungal," says Bender. Keep skin clean and dry to avoid fungal rash in babies.


Essentially baby dandruff,Milchschorfit is relatively common and is typically caused by yeast. This type of baby rash usually appears in the first month of life, but it can appear at any time, says Crosby.

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Symptoms of cradle cap

  • scaly skinRough, yellowish or pink scabs or oily scaly patches on the scalp are a classic sign of this type of baby rash.
  • A slight smell of oil.This results from the accumulation of oil on the baby's scalp in moderate to severe cases.

prevention and treatment

Most cases of cradle cap can be treated with a regular shampoo and ascalp brushto loosen the scales. If that's not enough, your pediatrician may recommend a medicated shampoo.

In general, the trick to preventing baby rash is to keep your child's skin healthy. It's best to limit baths to 10 minutes or less and use lukewarm water because "skin can lose a lot of moisture during a bath and babies are much more prone to dry skin," says Crosby. It is important to moisturize the baby's skin regularly. The best time to applyLotion? The first five minutes after bathing to retain moisture. "The skin is the body's largest organ and serves to protect us from the elements and infection," says Crosby. "The importance of really taking care of it from infancy through adulthood cannot be overstated."

Are your baby's lumps or bumps not matching those listed in this guide? The baby can also get a rash as a result of insect bites, sunburn, poison ivy, and even dry skin. If you are still unsure if there is a baby rash, do not hesitate to call your pediatrician or make an appointment.

When to worry about baby rashes

Now that you're familiar with some of the most common types of baby rashes, you're probably wondering, "When should I be concerned about my baby's rashes?"

The truth is that many baby rashes are harmless, and some will come and go on their own without medical treatment. The other good news is that there are vaccines that prevent many serious rashes from developing in the first place.

That being said, there are a few signs to look out for when you notice a baby rash on your body. Some rashes in babies can indicate a potentially serious condition, especially if the rash is persistent or the baby swells or wheezes.

Contact a doctor if the baby has any of the following problems:

  • If there is pain at the site of the rash.
  • When the baby has a fever
  • If the rash develops bruising-like lesions
  • If the rash oozes, bleeds, or blisters
  • If the rash continues to spread over the baby's body
  • If the baby has cold symptoms (coughing, wheezing, etc.)
  • If the baby has swollen throat glands or swollen lips
  • If the baby rash does not go away after two days

It's true that babies tend to get left-to-right rashes, but that doesn't mean you should ignore them like nothing. Any time you notice a baby rash on your face or body, keep an eye on it and watch out for other symptoms. When it comes to baby's health, it's always better to be careful and proactive.

About the experts:

Ana Bieger, MD, is a pediatric dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2007. After completing his residency in dermatology at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center, Bender completed an additional year as a fellow for specialty training in pediatric dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Lauren R. Crosby,MD, FAAP, is a parenting expert and pediatrician at LaPeer Pediatrics in Beverly Hills, California. She received her medical degree from UCLA School of Medicine and then completed training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she served as an attending. He is a member and official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Please Note: The Bump and the materials and information contained herein are not intended and should not be relied upon as health or medical advice or diagnosis. You should always consult a qualified physician or healthcare professional regarding your specific circumstances.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Baby skin care 101

13 diaper rash creams that work wonders

The best creams, shampoos and soaps for baby eczema


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