Having a new baby is exhausting. Aside from the constant feedings and diaper changes, conditions such as baby acne, cradle cap, and colic can cause worry and sometimes, sleepless nights. Infancy is an endless guessing game where moms try to decipher the meaning behind their baby’s every cry and frown.
When your sweet baby is on a crying tangent, it always helps to have a mental checklist of what most commonly ails babies. Are they hungry? Do they need to be changed? Are they sleepy? Do they have a skin rash? Are they in pain? The last question is the most difficult to address.
Most of us are familiar with diaper rash. A diaper rash consists of red, inflamed spots on a baby’s bottom and groin area, which can occur when a diaper gets soiled, and it is left on too long. Diaper rashes are fairly common.
Babies can develop many kinds of rashes. Parents must look closely at the symptoms. Milia are tiny white bumps that are very common in newborns. It disappears within a few months. Milia is very similar to baby acne. However, the latter consists of red bumps. This is different than infant eczema where the skin appears as dry, red, flaky patches. But what about a neck rash?
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Leading Causes Of Baby Neck Rashes
A baby neck rash is also quite common. However, because they are hidden in the folds of your baby’s skin, they are not as noticeable. To check if your baby has a neck rash, stretch or “open” the folds of the skin. Look for any signs of redness or dryness. Rashes can be flat or raised. Some are shinier than others. The chubbier your baby, the more he is at risk for developing a neck rash, but it is generally most common in babies aged three to five months old. This skin condition can have many different causes, such as:
A baby’s neck is short and full of folds. This is especially true for chubby babies. When they are feeding, either from the bottle or the breast, milk tends to trickle down their neck and get stuck in the folds. If their drool is not cleaned immediately, the moisture can cause irritation, and the neck skin will become red and inflamed .
Also known as heat rash, this type of rash most commonly occurs in the summer. In warm tropical climates, it can occur year round. Extreme heat causes irritation on the baby’s sensitive skin and neck, and red, itchy bumps start to form.
A baby’s neck is short and plump, with numerous skin folds. These skin folds will naturally rub against each other. This chaffing can cause irritation along with moisture from perspiration. Your baby’s head is heavy, and rashes from friction will most likely be a recurring thing in your baby until they are finally able to hold their neck erect and move it without any help from you.
Yeast Infection (Fungal Infection)
As mentioned, the folds and crevices in your baby’s neck is a moisture trap, be it from sweat, bath water, or milk. As such, it can become a hotbed for the development of a yeast infection which may manifest themselves as rashes.
Another type of common fungal infection is called ringworm. No worms are involved. Rather, it got its name from its appearance. It’s red and itchy. Treatment requires medicated ointment, so check with your pediatrician before applying any cream, even it is over-the-counter.
Water warts, or molluscum contagiosum, is another type of viral infection that can be itchy or painful. These may occur singly or in pairs. Typically, they are raised, round, and flesh colored.
A baby’s mouth muscles aren’t fully developed at birth. This and the fact that they don’t develop full control of swallowing until 18-24 months lead to baby’s and young children drooling. As soon as you see drool, pat the area dry. Use an organic ointment or cream to provide a protective barrier and heal any minor patches of irritated skin .
Infectious Viral Rash Outbreaks
An infectious viral infection or bacterial infection can produce rashes as well. A chickenpox rash or measles rash will leave a child with a fever and a general feeling of illness. Chickenpox rashes, in particular, can be extremely itchy. Call your pediatrician should your child break out in a rash while ill. Sometimes, infectious rashes must run their course. It can be a few weeks before these subside. Bacterial infections require antibiotic treatment.
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Neck Rash Treatment: The Natural And Organic Way
Depending on the cause of your baby’s neck rash, whenever possible, choose to go organic. This especially applies to anything you use on your baby, including your baby’s neck rash treatment. Avoid applying products with harsh chemical ingredients or on your baby’s sensitive skin and any rashes. Below are some treatments to consider.
Apply a cold compress on the affected area
Rashes are often raised and warm. A cold compress can provide instant comfort and cooling relief. Soak a soft, clean washcloth in cold water. Wring dry. Apply directly on your baby’s skin and let it rest for at least five minutes. Repeat as often as needed. Pat the skin dry afterward, especially in between the folds. If you don’t, the rashes might actually get worse.
Use aloe vera to treat the rash
Aloe vera is considered “Mother Nature’s” ointment. It is one of the most useful, most versatile, and safest skin treatments available. Many people keep an aloe vera plant in their home. It is low maintenance and will come in handy for scrapes, wounds, scars, and rashes. Break off a part of the leaf, squeeze the pulp out, and apply directly on the rash. It has a cooling sensation and is extremely effective in clearing up the skin.
Give your baby oatmeal baths
Oatmeal is also extremely versatile. It is not only a nutritious grain that is rich in fiber, but it also has many uses medicinally that can benefit the skin or treat a range of skin conditions. You can add some in your baby’s lukewarm water or make a paste to apply directly on the rash. This Do not rub it in. Rinse your baby and pat the skin dry with a soft towel.
Moisturize with natural oils
Organic olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and almond oil are a great natural and organic alternative to a store-bought cream, lotions, and ointment. Massage the oil gently onto your baby’s skin after the bath. You may repeat it at least twice a day. This will keep the skin soft and moisturized, and prevent chafing and peeling. Some oils also have antimicrobial properties and will keep the skin clean and free from infection. Please note that with oils, make sure your baby cannot ingest them and always check with your pediatrician first.
To prevent sweat and help absorb moisture in the skin, apply a bit of powder on any neck rash. Choose an organic, talc-free, and fragrance-free formula. Talcum and fragrance can make the rash worse by further irritating the skin surface or being absorbed through the skin. You can also check your kitchen pantry for baking powder or cornstarch and use those instead. When using powder, apply a bit to your hands away from the baby. Then, put it on your baby’s neck, making sure they are in no danger of inhaling it.
This type of skin irritation or in babies, although most common in the neck, can occur any area of the body with skin folds, such as the armpits, the back of the knees and the inside of the elbows. The same prevention tips, remedies, and treatments apply.
Neck Rash Prevention
Now that you know the best and the safest methods for treating your baby’s neck rash, here are some clues for how to avoid developing a neck rash or any rash altogether.
Dress your baby in clothes made of breathable cotton and similar fabrics. In conjunction, avoid using harsh soaps and bleach when laundering your baby’s clothes.
Practice good hygiene
Regularly bathe your baby using an organic mild, unscented body wash or soap formulated especially for their sensitive skin. Also, do not let drool, spit up, or milk trickles settle. Clean the skin immediately.
Keep your baby’s skin dry, especially crevices, folds, and hard to reach areas like the neck, groin, and armpits. Dry the skin after bathing, and pat dry as needed throughout the day if your baby perspires.
In warm weather, make sure your baby’s room is sufficiently cool and airy, so they don’t perspire and get heat rash.
Check your baby’s body wash
Make sure it is organic and unscented. Some chemicals and fragrance additives could be causing the rash on your baby’s skin. And as mentioned above, while you want to bathe your baby regularly, do not keep them in the bath water for long periods of time.
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The Last Word About Baby Neck Rash
Neck rash should not be confused with other skin conditions like baby eczema, allergies, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, or port-wine stains. Always have a doctor look at the rash when unsure if it doesn’t get better within a few days or accompanied by fever. Fever with accompanying rashes is always a cause for concern. Especially with very young babies, it’s essential for doctors to be able to examine the baby for possible infections and diseases so they can be promptly treated.
During the course of their childhood, your little one is likely to experience a number of skin conditions. Some may be due to leftover hormones from mom (cradle cap, baby acne). Others may be due to possible familial causes (eczema). Other skin conditions (port-wine stain) are a result of an anomaly in the blood vessels.
Like common childhood rashes, a baby neck rash is relatively harmless, albeit mildly itchy. No matter how fastidious you are in caring for your baby and keeping them clean, rashes are inevitable, especially in warm weather. They may disappear on their own, although highly likely to be recurring. Nonetheless, observe your baby carefully. They might be in pain, become listless, or lose their appetite, which requires immediate medical attention. Observe the neck rash as well for any signs that it might be getting worse, such as the appearance of pus, bleeding, or cracked skin.
Baby Neck Rash Resources: Seattle and Children; Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks, Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC, March 14, 2019.
 Medical News Today; How to Treat and Prevent Drool Rash,