15 Things NOT To Do If Baby Has A Rash

Babies are a lot of work. They need to be fed, changed, held, cleaned, soothed, loved... They are pretty helpless when it comes to taking care of themselves. But that's okay! They are adorable, and will one day grow up to be fully independent humans (hopefully). In the meantime, however, they need constant eyes on them. And that means checking out for anything wrong. One common issue with babies is that their skin is very sensitive, and therefore they develop rashes quite a bit.

However, every rash you see on your baby doesn’t necessarily mean anything malignant. Often times, especially diaper rash, the issue is just a normal condition of having an irritant on the skin and the baby, not knowing any better, as well as lacking the capability to do so, doesn’t clean it off himself. Therefore, bacteria just sits there and festers, which ultimately creates a rash. Rashes are itchy and uncomfortable, so treating the rash is an important part of taking care of the baby. 

The internet is chock full of things that a parent should do when they notice their kid has a rash. However, there is very little information on what not to do when they spot a rash. So, allow me to take this opportunity to present the anti list; a list of things to avoid doing if your baby has a rash, or keeps developing a persistent rash.

15 Start Panicking

The first thing to keep in mind when a baby develops a rash is try not to panic. Rashes are a very common occurrence in life in general, and especially so in babies. Their skin is super sensitive to pretty much everything, and in addition to that they poop, they pee, and they drool all over everything. So it’s important not to panic.

Babies get diaper rash all the time, they get eczema, they get teething rashes. Pretty much everything they do can give them a rash, especially since they have no sort of hygienic habits. They don't care, they don't have any sort of social structure to base their behavior on. So when they begin to break out, don't panic. Just take stock of what is going on in their life, see if you can determine the cause of the rash, and take it from there.

14 Do Absolutely Nothing

While you certainly shouldn’t panic if you spot a rash on your child, you also shouldn’t just do nothing. While rashes on babies are mostly nothing serious, every now and then the symptoms are indicative of something serious. But even if it is just a little diaper rash or something along those lines, you still don’t want to do nothing. Then the rash won’t go away.

The easiest things to try and fix are just using more natural alternatives to things you use on your baby. Maybe use a detergent with fewer chemicals in it, or switch to cloth diapers if you have been using the plastic ones. While the rashes aren't usually anything serious, they are always uncomfortable for the baby, so some sort of preventative action should be taken. Try rinsing it with plain, warm, not hot, water, and using a bit of baby safe, fragrance-free soap.

13 Rush To The Doctor

Again, most rashes on a baby are nothing to worry about. They poop all over themselves (and everything else), they pee all over themselves (and everything else), so it’s not hard to guess that a baby is pretty prone to skin irritations. So if you see a rash on the baby, do not just rush to the doctor. With that said, there certainly are times when it is acceptable to go to the doctor.

If the rash persists for three or more days, then it would be a good time to go to the doctor. He will most likely be able to identify exactly what the rash is and probably even what caused it, so he can tell you what direction to go in next. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor if the rash begins spreading to other parts of the body, especially if it started on the baby’s tush. If the symptoms change, like the baby breaks out in pimples or blisters, then that would be a good time to see a doctor as well.

12 Use Rubbing Alcohol

This is definitely something to avoid, on babies as well as on adults. Rubbing alcohol on a rash is pretty much completely ineffective, and actually, often has the opposite effect of what you want. It dries out the skin, often times making the rash worse, as well as making it more itchy. It doesn't kill any bacteria, really, not anything that causes the rash at least. In addition to all of that, it stings like crazy.

Instead of rubbing alcohol, use a gentle moisturizing soap. Make sure to keep the rash dry, and it might even be a good idea to let it air out. If it is a diaper rash that you’re dealing with, after a bowel movement let the kid do his thing without the diaper for a while, let the affected area breathe a little bit. It’s amazing what a little air can do for a dry derrière.

11 Use Bar Soap

Using a bar soap is a bad idea for the same reason that using alcohol is a bad idea. A regular bar of soap will dry out the affected area and could exacerbate certain conditions. There are also some cases of the soap causing rashes, although that is more common in adults who have recently switched soaps. For a baby, you should be using something like Johnson and Johnson anyways, something fragrance-free and moisturizing.

In addition to possibly exacerbating existing issues, regular soaps can actually cause some mild irritation on a baby’s skin. Believe it or not, there are quite a few active ingredients in regular old soap, and if there’s one thing baby skin doesn’t like it’s a lot of active ingredients. Honestly though, other than on a baby’s bum, any sort of soap isn’t super necessary unless the baby throws up all over himself or something like that. Maybe get in under the folds of skin too, as warm places like that are paradise to bacteria.

10 Scratch It

What are you, crazy? Why would you go around scratching your baby’s itches? Have you ever gotten a rash yourself? You know how when you scratch it gets a million times worse? That’s exactly what you’re doing to your baby if you scratch his rash. Depending on what the rash is, it’s possible to open it up and have it spread, or it’s possible to actually damage the skin by scratching too hard. Something to keep in mind, baby skin is very sensitive; what doesn’t seem like a hard scratch to an adult is like knives to a baby.

Itching in a rash is actually caused by inflammation. Scratching an itch, although it feels good, actually increases inflammation. Therefore, excessive scratching means excessive inflammation, which means the rash doesn’t get any better. Scratching stimulates the nerve endings, and then the immune system sends histamine to the area where you scratched, which makes more itch. It’s a vicious cycle, one that needs to be broken by not scratching!

9 Use Wipes With Fragrance

Scented wipes, although they may smell like a warm summer breeze or a bouquet of lilacs, are actually a fairly bad idea. The chemicals that make the product smell good actually get into broken areas of the skin and can burn like a forest fire. They even tell you not to use scented lotions after getting a tattoo for the very same reason.

In addition to the physical burning, the fragrance can actually cause additional irritation, especially on a fresh sack of skin. Scented wipes and lotions are probably a bad idea for adults at all times, not just on open skin, but it's extra important to keep it away from a baby. The chemicals, in addition to being irritants, could actually contain carcinogens, according to some recent studies. Therefore, you should ditch it even if you're only using it on your own self but definitely stop immediately if it's being used on a baby's skin.

8 Use Unprescribed Steroid Cream

If a person notices that their baby has a rash, it’s best to try and identify what’s causing it and just change that. However, as we discussed, if the symptoms persist then it is a good idea to visit the doctor. The doctor will then determine what the issue is. If he decides its eczema, then that is the time to utilize a steroid cream.

Without that recommendation, however, it is a bad idea to use steroid cream. If it is not in fact eczema, then a steroid cream will probably only make the situation worse. Even if it is eczema, if the cream is used too often, or for too long, or not long enough, then that could also make the situation worse. In short, only use the steroid cream when and if the doctor tells you to, and only in an exact way that he tells you to. If not used correctly, the rash could get worse.

7 Continue Using The Same Diaper

One of the biggest things that cause diaper rash is something that is being used to make the diapers the poor kid is wearing. Maybe there is a mild irritant in the material, or maybe the kid is slightly allergic to one of the ingredients. Then, as bacteria from urine and poop get into the irritated area, a lot of times that is when diaper rash pops up.

If there is persistent diaper rash in a kid’s life, and it doesn’t seem like anything is working, then the parents may want to consider switching to cloth diapers, or at the very least change brands, if hellbent on the disposable ones. Cloth diapers are (obviously) made out of a different material, one that is often gentler on the little tukkas of a youngster. Cloth diapers are often made out of cotton or wool, and often some other natural fibers, which are much easier on the skin of a baby.

6 Not Trying Different Detergents

Another thing for a parent to keep in mind when self-diagnosing their baby's rashes is that there are many chemicals in the type of laundry detergent being used. If the rash is mainly on areas where clothes often are, then that is a pretty good place to start. Or perhaps if the parents have already switched to cloth diapers, but diaper rash keeps afflicting their child, then maybe changing up the detergent used to wash the diapers is a good idea.

There are a few different options when it comes to a less harsh detergent. A parent could decide to just switch brands, some are marketed towards those with sensitive skin. Another option, however, is going fully natural. Without marketing for specific brands, I will say that there are a few out there who make a laundry detergent out of all natural ingredients. Giving one of those a try may lessen the baby’s rash.

5 Assume It’s A Certain Kind Of Rash

You know what they say about assuming... That applies here as well. Say the baby has some eczema on the skin, but the mom assumes it’s just a reactant to the soap or something like that. She may switch the type of soap, but not see any results. Same if she were to assume it was eczema but it turns out it was actually just a reaction to the soap. Now she’s putting on steroid cream and exacerbating the situation.

That’s why it’s a good idea to make the natural changes when you can, but get to a doctor if things don’t get better, or especially if they get worse. They will be able to tell you for sure what it is, without (hopefully) making assumptions. They have years of training and experience to back up their diagnosis, whereas most parents, especially if it’s their first kid, do not.

4 Use Hot Water To Clean It

It is not a good idea to try and clean a baby’s rash with hot water. Not only is a baby’s skin much more sensitive to temperature, but hot water actually strips the skin of its natural oils, which further dries out a rash. It’s also true that bacteria loves hot environments, so using hot water on a rash can often exacerbate many skin conditions.

Adults, if taking too hot of showers, for instance, can develop something called hot urticaria, which is basically a rash induced by heat. That’s why many dermatologists recommend taking a warm shower rather than a cold or hot shower. Cold showers actually help tighten up the skin and reduce wrinkles anyways, so if you’re into that sort of thing, try turning the temperature down. For babies, however, the hot water can often exacerbate the issue, so just using warm or even cool water should help a lot.

3 Use Baby Powder

This one seems counterintuitive; I shouldn’t use baby powder on my baby? That’s right, you shouldn’t use baby powder on your baby. It’s actually probably not a bad idea to stop using it on yourself. The talc is actually a carcinogen, and although it is likely to not get into your system if you use it on yourself, it’s not a bad thing to cut out of your routine.

As far as babies go, though, it’s definitely a bad idea to use baby powder. It can cause breathing issues if inhaled, and as anybody who has ever used it will tell you, it’s very difficult to keep the powder out of the air when using it. Even a very small amount of it can irritate a baby’s lungs, and if used a few times daily, they are inhaling more than a very small amount of the stuff. It’s also a good idea to wipe away excess powder (if you must use it) every time the baby is changed.

2 Feed The Baby The Same Foods

A big cause of rashes in babies is something that they are eating. This is especially true if they have recently switched to eating solid foods, something they are ingesting could be causing the irritation. It is important to know exactly what is in the food that a parent is feeding their baby, this way if something goes wrong there can be some trial and error in figuring out which ingredient is causing the baby issues.

By switching up the food, maybe giving more organic options or just trying to eliminate the irritating foods, this could easily clear up the baby’s rash, or at the very least keep it from happening with any sort of regularity. Without bashing any names, there are actually lists you can find online about what brands of foods commonly cause rashes in babies. If your baby keeps getting rashes and you can’t figure out why, maybe ask our friendly neighborhood google machine.

1 Let Baby Drool Sit On Skin

This one is actually pretty hard to enforce. If a parent knows that their child is teething, they want to do whatever they can to give the poor kid some relief. A teething ring is a classic tool for providing such relief. However, saliva is a huge skin irritant for kids, so letting them drool all over their face doesn't really help the situation. In fact, there is a condition so common with rashes and teething that there is actually a name for it: teething rash. The irritant, in this case, is the saliva that runs down the kid's chin and just sits there.

This doesn’t mean the parent needs to take the ring away from the kid, however. If they notice that there is an exceptional amount of drool, just wipe the kid’s face when he is done with the ring. After that, maybe rinse it with some cool water and a mild soap.

Sources: BabyCenter.com, Parents.com, SHLNews.com, MamaNatural.com, WebMd.com

More in Did You Know...