Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A guide for parents and carers
Rashes & dry skin

Rashes & dry skin

Baby skin needs extra care

A baby’s skin is thinner and needs extra care. Dry, flaky skin, some blemishes, blotches and slight rashes are normal in newborns and will naturally clear up. If your baby is otherwise well but has a rash you are worried about contact your midwife or health visitor. Another common rash for babies is heat rash. This mainly appears on the head and neck as tiny red spots and is nothing to worry about. Keep them warm but not hot and try to dress them in natural cotton clothes, with nothing that can rub on their skin.

Your baby may also suffer from something called cradle cap. This is the name given to the yellowish, greasy scaly patches on the scalp of newborns and usually appears in the baby’s first three months. It can look like a bad case of dandruff and is harmless, it doesn’t cause any irritation to your baby and usually clears up by the time they are two years old.


GP says

Go to A&E immediately if your baby has a rash that does not disappear when you press a glass to it. This may be a sign of meningitis and needs to be seen by a doctor no matter how well your baby seems.

Seek immediate advice if your baby has a rash and a high temperature or vomiting (see the meningitis section for more information on meningitis).

Health visitor

Health visitor says

Baby skin is more delicate than ours. Try to limit the amount of products you use on their skin and never leave your baby out in the sun.

Cradle cap needs no specific treatment, although gently washing the baby’s hair and scalp may stop build-up of the scale. Use just a small amount of a pure, natural oil - such as vegetable oil - on your baby's scalp and leave it on at least 15 minutes before washing it off.

Source: NHS Choices


Your baby’s skin may be flaky and dry.


Dry skin is common in newborn babies, as their skin is 15 times thinner than that of an adult.


Avoid soap and using products on your baby’s skin. Wash your baby in clean water.