Rash on baby


In medicine, the term skin rash (Exanthema) the sudden appearance of irritated and / or inflamed areas that show up on the surface of the skin. A baby's rash can appear on any surface of the body, be itchy or dandruff, and / or painful.

Affected children often find a severe, itchy rash to be very distressing and they become increasingly restless.

Please see the main article for more information skin rash


The causes of a baby's rash can be varied. These range from harmless changes that disappear after a few days to serious infectious diseases.

In the area of ​​the buttocks in particular, irritation from the urea contained in the urine is often a cause of the development of a rash. By wearing diapers, the skin is exposed to the irritating urine and thus increasingly attacked. The result is the development of slight redness, rashes and sores. Reactions to an allergenic substance (so-called allergen), which leads to a far-reaching immune reaction in the body, can also occur in early childhood. In the case of an allergen-induced rash, the red spots can be accompanied by moderate to severe itching.

However, rashes in the baby can also be due to various infectious diseases. So-called maculopapular exanthema (lumpy, blotchy skin rash) can be a symptom of an acute measles or scarlet fever infection. Other typical childhood diseases can also lead to rashes developing in babies.

Often stork bites are also mistaken for a rash in babies. However, these are harmless vasodilatations that usually disappear on their own in the course of growth.

Read more on the subject at: Causes of a rash

Baby acne

A baby may have an acne-like rash on the face at birth. However, baby acne does not appear in the majority of affected children until within the first few weeks of life. Typically, in the presence of baby acne, the rash has a central yellowish bump (pus) with a reddish environment. This type of rash appears on the baby's face, mostly on the cheeks, forehead or chin. Some of the affected children also develop similar rashes on their backs. In most cases, baby acne does not require treatment and will go away on its own after a few months.

Read more on the subject under: Baby acne


In many babies and toddlers, the first signs of chickenpox infection appear on the face. The rash typically begins with the appearance of small red spots that are often mistaken for insect bites. Within a few hours, these red spots develop into small fluid-filled blisters. The typical rash of chickenpox infection spreads from the face of the affected baby over the entire body. The rash with chickenpox is usually very itchy. In addition, common symptoms such as fever, vomiting, headache and increasing refusal to eat can often be observed in a baby suffering from chickenpox.

Read more about the topic here: Chickenpox rash


Herpes infection can manifest itself in a noticeable rash on the face as early as infancy and even in babies. Tiny vesicles or pustules typically form around the lips of an infected baby. In addition, it can lead to swollen gums and open areas in the oral cavity.

Babies affected by this type of rash often stop feeding because of extreme pain.

Read more about the topic here: Herpes in babies - how dangerous is it?

Cradle cap or infant seborrheic eczema

So-called cradle cap is a rash on the baby's skin that manifests itself in the form of scaly deposits. In most cases, seborrheic eczema occurs in infancy and primarily manifests itself directly on the scalp. However, cradle cap can cover the entire body of a baby and appear on the face, neck, armpits and diaper area. The best treatment for this type of rash in a baby is to wash them regularly with lukewarm water and a soft brush.

Read more on the subject at: Seborrheic eczema


The first signs of atopic dermatitis in babies are often a dry, itchy rash. The changed skin areas are usually reddish in color and appear cracked. Typically, this form of rash occurs on the baby's face (especially around the carriages), neck, elbows and hollows of the knees. Atopic dermatitis is in most cases a childhood disease (skin rash) that can grow up to teenage years.

Skin rash with fever and infection

A rash in babies is often a symptom of an infectious disease. The shape of the rash, the parts of the body affected by it and the course over time show characteristics that are very typical for some childhood diseases.

  • Three-day fever: The three-day fever that occurs between the ages of 6 and 24 months and is caused by viruses begins with a rapid rise in temperature to 40 ° C over three days and then quickly subsides again. With the drop in fever, an irregular, rosy rash develops on the baby's trunk. If the rash appears, the three-day fever is no longer contagious. The therapy is based on the symptoms: Make sure that your baby drinks enough and use anti-fever measures (e.g. calf compresses).
    Read more on the subject at: Rash in three-day fever
  • Measles: Measles, which are widespread all over the world, are caused by viruses, are characterized by their typical rash and are highly contagious. Measles start with flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis of the eye, and fever. After about two to three days, the characteristic white spots appear on the cheek mucosa near the front molars.
    After the third to fifth day, the baby's actual rash will appear. It starts behind the ears, spreads from there over the face and further over the torso, the arms and finally over the legs. The rash presents itself as initially light red and later darkening spots that can flow together over a large area.
    Treatment is symptomatic with sufficient fluids, cough suppressants and anti-fever measures.
  • Hand, mouth and foot disease: The hand, mouth and foot disease, which occurs particularly frequently in play groups and kindergartens, is also caused by viruses and is highly contagious. In addition to typical symptoms of the disease such as fever, the characteristic rash appears in and around the mouth, on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The blisters typical of the rash can be very painful but not itchy.
    Because of the pain in the mouth, it is possible that the baby does not want to be breastfed or refuses to eat. Here, too, the focus is on treating the symptoms.
  • Chickenpox: Chickenpox, which occurs a little less often in babies, is also caused by viruses and is characterized by very itchy blisters that can spread over the entire body starting from the face. It is even possible that the mucous membranes (mouth, eyes, genitals) are affected. In addition to the rash, there is a fever and a poor general condition.
    Scratching must be avoided as far as possible so as not to cause permanent scars. There is a possibility of vaccinating against chickenpox.
  • Rubella: The rubella that runs easily and causes a rash is caused by viruses. The disease begins with a fever and after a day or two the characteristic light red, lenticular rash behind the ears begins. From there it spreads over the face and the whole body and lasts about three days. Here, too, there is a possibility of vaccination from the age of 12 months.
  • Scarlet fever: Scarlet fever caused by bacteria is very rare in infancy and is more likely to affect toddlers between the ages of three and eight. It is highly contagious and starts with a sore throat, difficulty swallowing and a fever. A typical rash appears after one or two days: dense patches the size of a pinhead spread from the armpits and over the groin to the entire body. The disease should be treated quickly with an antibiotic.

You can find more on the subject under Is my rash contagious?

Rash in the baby by location

Rash on the face in the baby

Skin rashes are not uncommon in young children and babies. A rash on the face isn't necessarily a cause for alarm either. In many cases, a noticeable rash on the face in a baby is attributed to an infection with viral agents. For example, it can be an infection with the rubella virus. This is accompanied by a characteristic rash.

Read more on the subject at: Rubella rash

Rash on the neck in the baby

Rash in the neck area is often caused by the viral infections mentioned above. But stress and heat can also be the cause of a rash in your baby's neck. Allergic reactions can also manifest themselves in the form of a rash in the form of itchy wheals or inflammatory changes in the skin.

Small pimples on the face, cheeks, forehead and chin are usually symptoms of baby acne. This often disappears on its own.
Many newborns have a cradle cap in the face and neck area. The rash appears in the form of a red area and later begins to flake.

The newborn rash that appears two to five days after birth forms reddish dots with yellowish pustules in the center. In principle, this rash can appear anywhere on the body.

Rash on the stomach in the baby

If there are reddish skin changes on the child's stomach, this can be due to allergic reactions as well as mechanical irritation (e.g. rubbing the shirt on the back, etc.).
The skin can also react to sweat.

Drug intolerance is usually indicated by a rash on the trunk, but it can occasionally only appear on the back.
It is important to pay attention to the shape of the reddish spots. Converging, reddish skin changes are almost always a sign of a drug reaction, isolated reddish spots are more an indication of allergies (e.g. washing lotion or shampoo, etc.).
Fungal infections, which can also lead to reddish changes in the skin, usually occur on parts of the baby's body where skin lies on skin. In the groin or buttock area e.g. a fungus rash is far more common than on the back.
If the child has eaten something else or taken a new medication before, this almost always indicates an allergic reaction.

Read more on the subject at: Diaper thrush

Rash on the stomach and back in the baby

Rash on the abdomen and back can have different causes. For example, it can manifest itself in the form of red spots on the back.

Taking certain medications (e.g. penicillin) can cause a rash in the baby. This usually spreads over the entire trunk of the body. The rash can appear immediately or a few days later after taking medication. In addition, vomiting and diarrhea can occur. If these symptoms occur, the drug should be discontinued after consulting your doctor.

Shingles also appears in the abdomen and back and is a secondary infection with the chickenpox virus. It usually begins with a slight fever, fatigue and pain in a circumscribed area of ​​skin on the trunk of the body. Later, the unilateral and band-shaped rash appears in the painful area, which is formed by tightly standing blisters.

In ringworm caused by a skin fungus, the rash consists of one or more rings that are very itchy. The rash usually starts on a small area and widens over time.

The smallpox virus can cause a rash on the abdomen and chest - the pelvic warts.
The rash in pelvic warts appears in the form of round white or pink bumps on the skin arranged in groups. These can be provided with a depression in their center or a pus head. Scratching should be avoided to avoid causing inflammation.

Rash on the bottom of the baby

Rashes on the bottom are very common in babies. A distinction is made between an allergic and a mechanical cause. Infectious causes can also lead to a rash on the buttocks.
Allergies can arise from used diapers or various fabrics, lotions or shampoos. Usually a reddish and often itchy rash develops on the baby shortly after skin contact. The child starts screaming and is restless.
For mechanical reasons, strong rubbing of the diaper etc. can lead to a reddish rash. As an infection-related rash, fungal infections are very common in babies. Mostly in the groin or on the buttocks, a fungal infection leads to severe itching and burning, the skin in the buttocks area is very reddened, the babies are extremely restless and cry a lot. The diagnosis is usually made as a visual diagnosis or by a skin swab, which then detects the relevant fungus. The treatment is carried out with antifungal ointments.

Read more on the subject at: Diaper rash

Rash from specific triggers

Rash after antibiotics

Rashes in the abdomen are relatively common in toddlers and babies and have very different causes. One possible cause is a drug intolerance.
An antibiotic allergy is the most common cause of a rash. The clinical picture, also known as drug eruption, usually manifests itself a few minutes to hours after taking antibiotics. Especially on the antibiotic sold under the trade name Amoxicillin (penicillin) Children often react with a rash.

Since babies cannot swallow pills, the antibiotic is always given as juice.The first symptoms appear shortly after ingestion on the back and stomach, sometimes on the arms, legs or hands. Typical of a drug eruption is the rosy to deep red skin and the blotchy, confluent skin discoloration. Sometimes accompanying itching can occur, which is signaled by a restless and screaming child.
If the typical spots appear in the skin area after taking antibiotics, the drug should be discontinued very quickly and switched to another drug. However, this should always be done in consultation with the treating pediatrician. A drug intolerance can also lead to other accompanying symptoms such as shortness of breath, profuse sweating and malaise. In babies, however, drug intolerance is limited in the vast majority of cases to a rash.

Read more on this topic at: Rash after taking antibiotics

Rash after vaccination

Vaccinations for babies are one of the most important steps in disease prevention and can prevent the occurrence of serious illnesses. For this reason, the recommended vaccinations for the baby should be given as precisely as possible. However, many parents fear the side effects that vaccination may cause. In general, however, it can be said that the risk of serious side effects is much lower than the secondary diseases caused by an infection. For this reason, vaccination should never be omitted out of concern about side effects. In most cases, the baby will experience only mild side effects, if any, after vaccination. These can usually be treated without any problems and do not pose a risk to the baby.

Read more on this topic at: Side effects from vaccinations in the baby

One of the most common side effects to experience after giving a vaccine to a baby is rash. In this context, changes to the skin can occur directly in the area of ​​the puncture site or distributed over the entire body. Most frequently, localized reddening of the skin and slight swelling occurs shortly after vaccination. Although these are painless in most cases, they can also be associated with moderate pain. In addition, some babies and young children react with fever and restlessness after being given a vaccine dose.

A local rash in the area of ​​the puncture site can occur, especially with the combination vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. With this vaccination, malaise and / or fever occurs only in the rarest of cases. Polio vaccination can also cause a localized rash in babies.

The classic vaccination against mumps, measles and rubella is a so-called “combination preparation”. This means that these three diseases can be prevented by a joint vaccination dose. In general, the mumps, measles and rubella vaccination is easily tolerated by a baby and side effects are extremely rare. Nevertheless, a harmless rash can be observed in approximately 5% of vaccinated children. This rash can affect different parts of the body, but it goes away completely after a few days without initiating any treatment.

Read more about this under Rash after vaccination

Rash after bathing

If a rash occurs after bathing, it can have different causes. On the one hand, an allergic reaction, e.g. bath additives lead to a rash on the skin or overheating of the body.
In the case of overheating, the body does not manage to dissipate the heat created by bathing, which it then tries to ensure by widening the vessels. By widening the blood vessels, more blood gets into the skin, which then turns red. The point is to bring more blood to the surface of the skin so that the blood cools down there.
Reddening of the skin after bathing is quite normal and only indicates a marginal or too high water temperature and too long a bath time. If you see red areas of skin on the baby's body while bathing, the bathing process should be stopped. As a rule, the red spots on the body disappear after a few minutes or hours.

A heat-induced rash almost never has accompanying itching. However, if the reddish skin changes are due to an allergic reaction to the bath products, the babies usually cry and scream because of the accompanying itching.

Treatment of the rash due to the heat is done by cooling the skin, or by using antiallergic gels if there is an allergic component behind the rash. In this case, treatment with Fenistil Gel can be considered.

Rash when teething

Skin rashes in the form of slightly reddened cheeks and the skin around the mouth can also occur during teething. However, if the rashes are larger, elsewhere or accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or fatigue, there is usually a different cause.
However, infections and rashes or an outbreak of neurodermatitis in the baby may occur during teething. This is mainly because the baby's immune system is weakened during teething. The body "focuses" on growing the teeth.

Read more on the subject at: Teething rash in the baby

Rash on dry skin

If the baby develops a rash due to skin that is too dry, it is usually not caused by an allergy. The skin needs a certain moisture level, which should not be fallen below. The moisture in the skin makes it supple, more robust and less prone to infection.
Dry skin becomes cracked, itchy, reddened and is sometimes painful. Especially in winter, when the skin is constantly exposed to heated air, the skin often dries out. The skin becomes more sensitive and starts to itch and flake. Sometimes the skin's moisture levels can drop so much that a rash develops.

Fortunately, treatment is carried out using simple means that quickly resolve the cause. For a rash caused by dry skin, moisturizing ointments or creams are used, which make the skin more supple and less sensitive to pain. If the skin is supplied with moisture, the skin irritations and rashes also decrease. If your skin is very often dry, it is also important to ensure that you drink enough water.

More information can be found here: Dry skin in the baby

Rash after heat

Skin rashes in babies, which occur especially after extreme heat, are not allergic, but caused by overheating.
Especially when the sweat that is formed is no longer sufficient to lower the body temperature, the body tries to bring as much blood as possible into the overheated area by widening the blood vessels. This becomes clear in certain, then reddish-colored areas of the body. Viewed from further away, the picture of a blotchy skin change can then appear.
The first measure should be to move the child to the shade and a cool place as soon as possible. If you don't do this, there is a risk of sunstroke. Furthermore, cooling cloths etc. can be placed on the reddened area on the body. This should quickly restore the body to its usual temperature.

Read more on the subject at: Rash from heat

Skin rash after exposure to the sun

If a skin rash occurs immediately after exposure to the sun, there can always be a sun allergy.
Typical of a sun allergy are red spots that appear after a short period of exposure to the sun and can sometimes be associated with itching. In principle, any skin area of ​​the body can be affected. Most of the time, the areas that were directly exposed to the sun are affected.
The first thing to do is to take the baby out of the sun. The red skin changes will recede after just a few minutes. Cooling pads can also be placed on the rash.

Read more on this topic at: Rash from sun

Rash from UV rays

The human skin is very sensitive to an excessive dose of UV rays. Adults, but also babies who are unprotected in the sun for a long period of time, often develop sunburn.

Read more on the subject at: Sunburn in the baby

However, the sun and the UV rays it emits are many times more dangerous for the surface of a baby's skin. For this reason, a baby may develop a noticeable rash after excessive exposure to the sun. However, this rash does not necessarily have to be caused by the UV radiation. Small children and babies react much more frequently to the overheating caused by being in the sun by developing heat pimples (sweat blisters). This type of rash is a small skin irritation that occurs mainly in the area of ​​the neck, armpits and the edges of the diaper. So above all on the natural skin folds and on those parts of the body where the contact between clothing and the surface of the skin causes friction. The direct cause of the formation of such a rash in the baby is a combination of a hot environment (sun) and high humidity. In addition, excessive sweating can promote the development of heat pimples. Heat rash in itself is not dangerous in a baby either. However, it should be noted that this form of rash is an indication that a baby has been in the sun too long or is simply too warm.

In addition, a rash on a baby that occurs after being in the sun can be an indication of what is known as a "sun allergy". However, a sun allergy cannot be compared with a classic allergy. Usually, the sun-triggered rash in a baby is caused by increased sensitivity to UV-A radiation. In rare cases, UV-B rays can also be responsible for the development of a rash. Most babies and young children are allergic to the sun as a red rash and the appearance of small wheals or blisters. The skin rash typical of sun allergies is usually very itchy and occurs just a few hours after being in the sun. Typical locations for this type of rash are the shoulders, forearms, neck, backs of the hands, and face.

The best prevention against a sun-induced rash in a baby is to slowly get used to UV radiation. Especially for small children, the principle applies that the midday sun should be avoided and particularly light-sensitive areas of the body should be covered. In addition, beta-carotene tablets can be taken as a preventive measure. This medicine should be used for approximately 8 to 12 weeks. A baby who develops a noticeable rash for the first time after being in the sun should be presented to a pediatrician as soon as possible.

Read more on the subject at: Rash from sun


The basis of a suitable therapy for skin rashes in babies is the clarification of the exact cause of the disease and the appropriate skin care for the baby. If it is an allergic rash, it is essential to avoid the allergen in the future and to prevent the immune reaction with suitable medication. Baby rash that results from a mere skin condition can usually be treated with ointments and creams.

If an infection or an organ disease is the cause of the rash, treatment must primarily target the pathogen or the underlying disease. However, many of the typical childhood diseases are viral infections. As a result, you usually just have to wait and the treatment options are relatively limited.
Many herbal remedies also help for skin care and against possible itching.

Further information on the subject can be found at: Home remedies for a rash


Rash is generally accompanied by reddening of the skin surface, which can appear in the form of small red spots or over the entire area. In medical terminology, this phenomenon is known as rash.
A baby rash can appear on pretty much any part of the body and sometimes even spread to the mucous membranes in the mouth, nose and genital area. In most cases, a rash on the baby is a sign of a purely skin condition. But even with babies, irritated and / or reddened skin areas can be the first symptom of an allergic reaction or an organ disease.

Skin rashes are quite common in childhood. Rarely is a serious illness behind the appearance of the rash.


If the baby develops a rash, it makes sense to find out the cause of the skin reaction as soon as possible and to consult a pediatrician. The most important point in the diagnosis is a detailed discussion between the parents and the treating pediatrician.

In this conversation, existing pre-existing illnesses, current medication intake, risk factors for various infectious diseases and other points that can be the cause of the rash in babies are asked. After the subsequent assessment of the affected skin areas, it may be necessary in some cases to carry out further examinations.
The pediatrician may have to send in swabs from the affected skin areas, tissue samples (biopsy) or blood samples for laboratory diagnostics. If an allergic rash is suspected in the baby, it is also advisable to conduct an allergy test. It is precisely in these cases that the importance of a comprehensive anamnesis is clearly reflected, because an allergy test can only be carried out relatively specifically for a few possible allergens.

Illustration rash

Illustration rash face

a - Healthy skin
b - Subcorneal pus vesicle
(Pustule - under the cornea)
c - Intraepithelial pus vesicles
(Pustule - splits the epidermis)
d - epidermal nodules
(epidermal papule)
e - scleral nodules
(dermal papule)

Epidermis - epidermis
(1 and 2.)

  1. Horny layer -
    Stratum corneum
  2. Cornifying layer
    (light layer + grain layer)
    Stratum lucidum +
    Stratum granulosum

    Germ layer (prickly cell layer
    + Base layer) -
    Stratum spinosum +
    Stratum basale
  3. Dermis -
    Dermis (Papillary layer -
    Stratum papillary
    Network layer -
    Stratum reticularre)

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations