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9 Common Causes Of Redness On Baby’s Cheek

9 Common Causes Of Redness On Baby’s Cheek

We know that those rosy, red cheeks may look really cute on your little bundle of joy. Sometimes the redness on the baby’s cheeks is natural, or caused by an increase in the blood flow but it can sometimes be a sign of certain skin conditions.

To help you figure out what might be causing redness on your baby’s cheek, we have listed down some of the most common skin conditions, effective treatment options available to manage the conditions, and when to consult a doctor.

What Causes Redness On Baby’s Cheeks?

1. Eczema

Eczema is one of the common chronic skin conditions experienced by babies. Even though people of all ages can experience it, most people experience it before the age of 5.

It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These factors disrupt the skin’s natural barrier causing the skin to become itchy, dry, and prone to eczema.

Babies who have a family history of eczema, asthma, and hay fever are more likely to develop it. It appears as red, dry patches of skin that may be very rough to touch and cause itching. In babies, it is more common on

  • Forehead
  • Cheeks
  • Chin
  • Inside and outside of elbows and knees
  • Hands 

Eczema in babies is usually characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Red rashes (red in lighter skin tones and purple or brown in darker skin tones)
  • Dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin inflammation
  • Scaling and cracking of skin
  • Blisters that may ooze (in severe cases)

How To Get Rid Of Eczema

Some babies may outgrow their eczema while the rest have to experience it throughout their life as eczema flare-ups. If your baby is experiencing eczema also known as atopic dermatitis then these are the first steps in management: 

Cleansing

Use a mild, and gentle cleanser to bathe them. Cleaning the skin will exfoliate and remove excess dead skin cells. 

Choose a non-soap cleanser that is free from harsh chemicals such as fragrance, dye, alcohol, and sulfates.

You can choose Happy Cappy’s Daily Shampoo face wash, and body wash for soothing dry, itchy, sensitive, eczema-prone skin in babies. It contains ingredients like Oatmeal Extract and licorice Root Extract that help soothe and hydrate skin.

Moisturizing

Dryness is a key symptom of eczema, which is caused due to skin barrier dysfunction. The best way to manage dry, irritated, and itchy skin associated with eczema is by moisturizing it.

  1. Moisturize your baby’s skin at least twice daily.
  2. Moisturize after you bathe them, the skin can absorb more moisture at that time.

To learn more about ways to treat baby eczema read our blog.

To moisturize your baby’s skin use an eczema cream that contains natural ingredients and helps soothe dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin. 

2. Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of the most common factors that causes dry, chapped, red cheeks in babies. This dryness is usually caused when there is a lack of adequate moisture in the skin. 

Two common factors that trigger dry skin in babies are dry air due to central heating, air conditioning, and arid weather conditions. The areas of skin that come in contact with dry air are more prone to becoming dry such as cheeks, lips, and hands. 

It can lead to

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Chapped skin
  • Rough to touch
  • Red rashes

If proper care and attention are not given then dry skin can lead to cracked skin that could even bleed.

How To Treat Dry Skin In Babies

The best way to manage dry skin in babies is by

Moisturizing

Keep the baby’s skin moisturized at all times, especially during the winter. Moisturize at least twice a day or every time after you wash their face or body. Moisturize baby’s skin before going out in dry winter air.

Use A Humidifier

This may help and won’t hurt…If your baby’s skin is becoming dry due to dry air in your house or in their room, then use a humidifier to keep the air moist. Especially during the night, skin loses more moisture, so use a humidifier in their room to prevent dry skin. 

3. Baby Acne

Babies can develop acne just like adults do. In babies under the age of 3 months, this acne is referred to as neonatal acne if your baby develops it after the age of 3 months it is classified as infantile acne. 

It is believed to be caused by hormones that are passed down to the baby from the mother at the time of birth. Or by Malassezia fungus that is naturally present on the skin.

It can cause redness on the baby’s cheeks. Baby acne usually appears on the cheeks, forehead, chin, and neck. It is characterized by

  • Redness
  • Whiteheads
  • Raised bumps

How To Get Rid Of Baby Acne

If your baby is experiencing baby acne then the best thing to do is be patient and keep your baby’s skin clean. Baby acne usually goes away on its own in a few weeks or months. 

  • Keep the baby’s skin clean with a gentle cleanser.
  • Don’t pick at or pop baby’s pimples
  • Don’t use acne medications for adults on babies.
  • Acne persisting beyond 3 months of age should be seen by a pediatric dermatologist.

4. Contact Dermatitis

When the baby’s skin comes in contact with something that irritates the skin such as harsh chemicals in soaps, body wash, shampoo, and detergents. It can cause red patches on the baby’s face.

This is known as contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis. It is one of the most common types of eczema.

It can also develop when your baby rubs their face and cheeks against the carpet, playmat, or car seat. Rubbing their cheeks against these things can irritate, and cause a red rash on the face. 

What To Do

If your baby is experiencing contact dermatitis then look for what might be causing it. 

  • Use detergents that do not contain harsh chemicals to wash your baby’s clothes.
  • Try using fragrance-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free baby skincare products.
  • If a new baby product or detergent is irritating the baby’s skin, discontinue its use.
  • Try to avoid baby rubbing their skin against harsh surfaces.

5. Teething Rash

When the babies are teething they tend to drool a lot. The drool can irritate the skin around their mouth, cheeks, and chin. This drool rash can cause redness on the baby’s cheeks. 

It also appears as a red, bumpy rash. It is often accompanied by other symptoms of teething such as

  • Fussiness
  • Slight fever
  • Chewing on things
  • Swelling inside the mouth

How To Manage Teething Rash

To manage drool rash keep a few things in mind

  • Keep your baby’s skin dry with the help of a soft cloth.
  • Clean the baby’s face with a gentle cleanser.
  • Pat dry the baby’s face instead of rubbing or wiping.
  • After removing the drool (with a cleanser and rinsing) from the face, moisturize the skin with a moisturizer.

6. Hives

Hives are scientifically known as urticaria. The rash that it causes on a baby’s cheeks is called urticarial rash. It is a skin reaction that might be caused by several reasons such as 

  • Sunlight
  • Viral infection
  • Extreme weather
  • Food allergy
  • Pressure on the skin.

When the baby’s skin comes in contact with any of these allergens, the immune system in the body releases histamines that trigger red, raised rashes on the skin, some of the other common symptoms include

  • Rashes (red in lighter skin tones and purple or brown in darker skin tones)
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling on cheeks, eyes, and lips
  • Raised bumps

How To Get Rid Of Hives

Acute hives usually last for less than six months and can be easily cured with the help of antihistamines. Chronic hives last for more than 6 months and can even flare up again after treatment.

The most effective way to get rid of baby hives is

  • Avoid the triggers that might be causing baby hives.
  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area to relieve itching and irritation.
  • Consult your baby’s pediatrician and they may prescribe oral antihistamines. 

7. Slapped Cheek Syndrome

Slapped cheek syndrome is also known as the Fifth Disease. It is a viral infection that can affect anyone but is more common in babies, and children. It is contagious and can spread from one person to another.

It causes a red rash on the baby’s cheeks, but by the time the rash appears most of the symptoms of the virus are gone. Some symptoms of the virus that precede the rash:

  • High temperature
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

After the rash appears on the face, a rash can also appear on the chest, back, arms, and legs.

Treatment For Fifth Disease (Slapped Cheek Syndrome)

In young children, the fifth disease clears up on its own within a few weeks. But you can ease your baby’s symptoms by following a few simple steps:

  • Get your baby lots of rest.
  • Avoid the sun
  • Keep them hydrated
  • Apply a gentle moisturizer to the affected area to relieve itching and dryness.

8. Allergy

Allergic reactions cause your baby’s cheeks to become red, and develop a rash on them. Allergic reaction is when the body’s immune system considers something dangerous for it, it releases a certain type of cells in the body. These cells as a reaction cause itching, irritation, redness, and rashes.

Some common allergens that cause this reaction in babies are

  • Pet dander
  • Insect bites
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Chemicals in baby products
  • Peanuts
  • Egg
  • Milk

Apart from redness on the cheeks allergy may also cause a runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and upset stomach.

Allergy Treatment

If your baby is experiencing allergies then they require medical attention. Allergies can not be managed at home and require a proper treatment plan from a pediatrician. 

The doctor may prescribe 

  • oral antihistamines to soothe rashes and irritation. 
  • Inhaler if your baby is having trouble breathing
  • EpiPen for emergency treatment
  • Diagnose the triggers for allergies and ask you to avoid them.

9. Miliaria (Heat Rash)

Miliaria is a common skin condition. The most common subtype of miliaria is miliaria rubra which is also known as heat rash, sweat rash, and prickly heat, it causes redness on baby’s cheeks.. 

Miliaria rubra is caused when the sweat glands in the skin get blocked. Due to this blockage, the sweat goes back into the epidermis–the topmost layer of skin. This results in red rashes on the baby’s skin and sometimes can cause small blisters.

It is very common in babies as their sweat glands are not fully developed. According to American Family Physcian almost 40% of babies experience it during the first few months of their life. 

Some common triggers that can cause heat rash in babies are fever, overheating, a hot and humid environment. Heat rashes may appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the back, cheeks, chest, diaper area, and arm folds. It may appear as

  • Red rash
  • Small spots on skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Blisters filled with pus.

Heat Rash Treatment

  • Limit baby’s exposure to sun
  • Make them wear loose-fitting and breathable clothes
  • Keep your house and room cool in hot weather
  • Avoid over-wrapping your baby in blankets and sheets
  • Promote diaper-free time
  • Bath the baby in cool water. 
  • Keep your baby’s skin dry and moisturized. 
  • For severe cases consult a doctor for further evaluation and treatment.

When To Worry About A Rash On Child?

Rash on baby’s skin no matter where it is, or how severe or mild can and should arouse concern for parents. Mild rashes may not cause much harm to the baby’s health but if they are left untreated they may lead to severe infection and bleeding of skin. 

If you suspect your baby is developing a rash on their cheeks and you are unsure about what might be causing it consult a pediatrician. The doctor will diagnose the issue and provide treatment for the baby if necessary.

If you notice any of the following symptoms along with a red rash on baby’s cheeks immediately consult a doctor.

  • High fever
  • Joint pain
  • Sore throat
  • Peeling of skin
  • Breathing issues
  • Bruises or bleeding around the rash

Conclusion

Redness on baby cheeks is common among babies. Some develop them due to increased blood flow while they are crying or excited others may experience it due to a rash on the skin.

There are many reasons that can cause skin rashes on a baby’s cheeks such as eczema, contact dermatitis, hives, slapped cheek syndrome (Fifth Disease), allergy, and heat rash.

The treatment for a rash on a baby’s cheek depends on what is causing it. But one thing that remains essential in keeping a baby’s skin healthy is making sure it is well hydrated. If dry we advise frequent moisturizing with a moisturizing cream.

FAQs

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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Can teething cause redness on the baby’s cheeks?

Yes, when a baby is teething they drool a lot. If this drool is left on the face and dries it can cause red rashes on the baby’s face and chin. Some people refer to this rash as a drool rash. 

Are red cheeks normal in babies?

Red cheeks in babies are sometimes natural. Some babies have a little more red skin in some areas of their faces than others. However, in some babies, this redness on the cheeks might be a sign of skin condition. 

Can red cheeks in babies mean allergy?

Yes, in some babies facial redness can be a reaction or allergy from an irritating allergen. To investigate a possible allergy in a baby consult your pediatrician, and try to keep them away from the allergen that is causing the allergy.

What are the common symptoms of slapped cheek syndrome in babies?

Slapped cheek syndrome commonly known as the fifth disease in babies can cause:
Redness on baby’s cheeks. After the rash appears on the face, a rash can also appear on the chest, back, arms, and legs.
1-2 Weeks prior to the redness on the cheeks the child may experience:
Mild irritation
Runny nose
Fever
Sore throat
Headache.

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