Babies Skin Infections

Symptoms & Causes

Newborn babies have skin that is very sensitive and bacterial infection on baby skin is very common their skin also gets affected by heat, drool, etc. The Paediatric Dermatology Service hospital shared the symptoms and causes of various skin infections in newborn babies.

Skin infection is not a simple issue. The most important thing is the proper functioning of skin by the head and consultant of Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Mark Koh Jean Aan, who is also a member of the SingHealth group.

The loss of minerals and body fluids is protected by the skin. Skin regulates the fluids in the body and temperature is maintained and protected from toxic substances absorption.

Examples of the Baby skin infection caused is a fungal infection on the baby neck, nappy rash fungal infection, small boils on baby skin, yeast infection due to diaper rash, etc. The majority of these infections survive for a small duration and get cured with time. In severe cases, creams, ointments, natural oils are used to cure infections.

Common skin infections in babies

Heat rash

Commonly known as Prickly heat or miliaria, seen mostly in newborns. The sweat glands are not developed and get blocked. When perspiration and sweat get trapped in the skin instead of evaporating, it causes a rash.


Small red boils, yeast bum rash, usually over back and buttocks.


  • Perspiration due to hot weather

  • Having a high body temperature

  • Dressing in too warm clothes

  • Heavy oiling and cream block the sweat ducts

Fungal nappy rash

The fungal infection can also be treated as a Nappy rash as well as diaper dermatitis. Nearly 35% of babies at some point suffer from this within the year. The peak can be seen from 9-12 months of age.


The area diapers covered there is A red, scaly rash.


  • Continuous contact with urine and stools

  • Excessive moisture due to diapers

  • Fabrics friction.

Cradle Cap

Seborrheic dermatitis is present within the starting few weeks of life and can reoccur for 4-6 months. Cradle cap is an overgrowth of normal skin fungus/yeast or the other reason is stimulation from maternal hormone inside the womb. There are early symptoms or signs of Eczema or atopic dermatitis (by Dr. Koh).


The scalp start to have small pink to red patches and different parts of the body e.g. the neck & armpits


  • Oil gland secret excess oils and hair follicles

  • Yeast / bacterial infection

Atopic Eczema

Atopic dermatitis the most common infection in adults & babies. In Singapore, symptoms begin with birth or in the first year. Nearly 20 % of kids going to school gets affected.

“With the growing age in most children this condition gets improved. But the irony is it can reoccur after months or years. People suffering from eczema can have good control and live a healthy life. says Dr. Koh.


Mainly they are Patches of red, itchy on baby’s cheeks and joints of arms and legs and make it rough and dry skin.


The main reason for atopic eczema is still unknown. It is an immune reaction and is genetically obtained from the family.

Factors that worsen the skin condition

High temperatures, common viral infections, allergens like soaps, creams, detergents, etc.

Important tips for preventing Skin infections & Rashes

Newborn needs special care and careful handling, in order to protect babies from rash and other skin infections we can use light clothes for baby especially in the hot Singapore weather. We can use products that are specially designed for babies like soaps or cleansers without added fragrances or dyes. Antiseptic soaps which are very strong in nature, bubble baths in them are not recommended for small kids

The range of bathing water should be between 36-38 degrees Celsius, as hot water can have a serious impact on baby skin. The hot water removes natural protective oils of a baby’s skin and most important the bathing time remains 5-10 min.

For improving the skin and its protective layers a light moisturizer can be applied on the skin after the bath said by the Head and Consultant, Paediatric Dermatology Service Dr. Mark Koh Jean Aan, member of the SingHealth group.

Home is the best place to take care of a newborn baby and prevent any kind of infection. Mild infections such as heat rash and nappy rash get cured with time if properly cared for. In severe cases, medication as well as proper steroid creams are needed.

Overcome these Heat rash

  • Babies should have light clothes on their body

  • Periodically cool baths

  • Swaddling should be avoided

  • Keep the room cool with air-conditioning and fans

  • Avoid thick moisturizers

Measures for nappy rash

  • The diaper should be changed periodically

  • Lukewarm water should be used to clean the skin area covered by the diaper and a barrier of cream or moisturizer should be applied

  • In severe cases, medicated creams or oral medications may be prescribed

Measures for cradle cap

  • Child products like a no-tears shampoo or a medicated shampoo should be used for bathing

  • At least one hour before bathing, gently massage the scalp with olive oil, this will help to loosen the scales

  • Mild topical steroid cream is the best solution in severe cases.

Measures for atopic eczema

  • Cool or Lukewarm water with a mild soap should be used for bathing a baby.

  • Rubbing may cause problems to dry the skin gently after the bath.

  • To control eczema flare-ups, use a moisturizer which can flourish the baby skin

  • Encountering the flare-ups, we need to apply topical steroids or calcineurin inhibitors (e.g. Elidel)

  • Antibiotics should be prescribed in severe cases of infection.

There is no cure for eczema but can be controlled by:

“Frequently using the moisturizers and intermittent use of topical steroids or calcineurin inhibitors,” says Dr. Koh.

The skin of premature babies

Do you know, the skin of full-term new-borns functions almost like older children and adults? In contrast, the skin of premature babies has decreased barrier functions, but only for the first two or three weeks after birth.