A young baby.
Credit: Petr Kratochvil via PublicDomainPictures.net

Life as a parent would be so much easier if your little one came with a book of instructions. It would be wonderful to know what each and every ones of his or her cries meant or exactly when that first tooth will be showing up. Each and every baby is different in that you never know what to expect or when. Some are fussy while some are calm. Your child may sleep through the night while your friend's awakens every two hours. You never know what to expect and nothing is definite. However, you can almost be certain your baby's skin will develop a rash before the age of 1.

Bernard Cohen, M.D., is the director of pediatric dermatology at John Hopkins University. He states that because an infant's skin is thinner than an adult's and can take up to one year for it to thicken enough to efficiently protect a baby from bacteria, they are much more susceptible to rashes and breakouts. There are many types of skin irritations that can show up unexpectedly on your little one. Below are the top six commonly seen conditions and what you can do to treat them.

1. Intertrigo- Intertrigo is a red, raw, weepy rash that is most often found in the neck folds of 'chubby' babies. This is common on babies under 6 months of age and doesn't usually cause any pain. It is mainly caused by excessive drool and/or spit up that can collect in the creases of the baby's neck. As babies grow and become more mobile, the chances of Intertrigo occurring becomes less. According to Dan Brennan, M.D., a pediatrician from Santa Barbara, CA, the best way to treat this condition is to thoroughly clean the affected area and coat it with a good quality zinc oxide cream several times per day.

2. Diaper Rash- Diaper rash is a fairly common condition in babies between 4 and 15 months of age. It is a bright red, scaly rash that can be accompanied by pimples, blisters, or pus filled bumps and is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast called Candida. The most common reason babies are afflicted with this condition is because their genital area isn't kept as clean and dry as needed. The treatment of diaper rash involves changing the diaper as soon as possible after it has become soiled. The area should be cleaned thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and allowed to air dry. A good quality zinc oxide cream should then be applied to the affected area before diapering. This protocol should be followed at every diaper change until the rash has cleared.

3. Eczema- Eczema is a condition that affects roughly 10-15% percent of children. It is caused when the body doesn't produce enough fatty cells that form the skin's protective barrier. This causes patches of the skin to become very dry and scaly. Most children outgrow eczema, however you can provide quick relief by using a gentle, homeopathic remedy such as H-Eczema Formula by Healing Natural Oils. H-Eczema Formula uses only the finest essential oils and is gentle enough for everyday use.

4. Prickly Heat- Prickly Heat is a serious of tiny red bumps that can occur anywhere on a baby's body. Because an infant's skin can't regulate heat very well, they can become overheated quite easily, thus setting off the rash response. Treatment is simple- remove your baby from the heated area and allow them to cool off. Remove any tight fitting clothes and blankets. The rash should disappear within 30 minutes to an hour.

5. Cradle Cap- Cradle Cap can either characterized by flaky, dandruff type dry skin or thick, scaly patches on the scalp, neck, cheeks, chest or behind the ears. No one is entirely sure what causes this condition and treatment is very simple. Simply apply a little baby oil to the affected are and gently brush away the scales with a soft baby brush.

6. Contact Dermatitis- Possibly the most common of all skin rashes, Contact Dermatitis is a reaction to detergents, grass or any other irritating substance. It consists of red, itchy bumps at the contact site. Most of the time, laundry detergent is to blame. However, the irritant could be a new article of clothing or a rug that the baby plays on. Try to find the source of the irritation and remove it. Usually the rash isn't bothersome to the baby, so moisturize it well and it will usually clear up on its own. If it persists, you may need to use a hydrocortisone cream available from your pediatrician.

Being a parent can definitely be an adventure, especially when unexpected rashes crop up. Hopefully you found the above information to be helpful and are now able to pinpoint which rash type your child may have. By following the suggested treatments, your little one's skin will be clear again in no time.