Baby Rashes 101


Concerned by blotches or bumps on your baby’s skin? It may help to know that most rashes on babies are not serious and generally clear up on their own. Here are some common types of rashes to watch for and how to treat them at home.

Prickly Heat Rash

Prickly heat rash is most common among very young children but can occur at any age. It appears as small red bumps or blisters on an infant's head, neck, and shoulders. The rash usually occurs during hot and humid weather and is caused by blocked sweat glands. To help prevent prickly heat rash, keep your baby cool and dry in warm weather and dress your baby in lightweight cotton. Creams, powders, and ointments will not help prickly heat rash and may make it worse.

Baby Acne

Although it shows up most often on babies from 2 to 4 weeks of age, baby acne can appear as late as 4 months old and last for 18 months. The acne appears as red bumps on the face. Sometimes these bumps have a white center. You can treat the acne by washing with plain water or mild baby soap. Bathe your baby only once every two to three days.

Erythema toxicum

This rash of small yellow or white raised spots surrounded by red skin appears on at least half of all babies. Erythema toxicum usually appears on the face or trunk, but may also appear on the thighs or upper arms. This rash needs no treatment and usually clears up on its own within four months.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is a skin irritation the diaper area. It's caused by prolonged dampness under the diaper. You can help prevent diaper rash by changing your baby’s diaper as soon as possible after it is wet and allowing the skin to air dry as long as possible. Some wipes can be irritating, especially those containing alcohol; avoid using these on infants. If the diaper rash is very red and has small red bumps on the outer edges, talk with your pediatrician. This may be a yeast diaper rash that requires medication.


Most common in babies between the ages of 6 months and 1 year, Roseola usually starts with a high fever. Then a pink or rose-colored rash develops, starting on the trunk, and spreading to the legs, arms, and face. The fever usually drops just as the rash appears. The rash can last from a few hours to three days and is not itchy. Roseola usually goes away without treatment.


Online Medical Reviewer:

Date Last Reviewed: 4/6/2010

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.