Teething rash and how to deal with it

While your baby is going through their teething phase, a teething rash is just one of the symptoms your baby may encounter. You may notice their cheeks and chin turn red. Dr Teresa Li, dentist from TL Dental explains, “This rash is due to the excess drool in contact with their skin, making the skin constantly wet, so it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and causing irritation.” However, it is harmless and not to worry about, especially if you know it’s happening in conjunction with your child teething. A teething rash can also turn up on the skin underneath their nappy, which we will learn about.

What are some symptoms of teething rash on the face?

The rash causes tiny, red raised bumps on your baby’s face, neck or chest. Monique Christidis, a parenting and sleep solutions expert and founder of Baa Baa Baby, says it can sometimes look like eczema and be dry, flaky and irritated.

How to soothe teething rash on the face?

To help treat the rash, a suitable rash cream from the pharmacist, such as paw paw ointment or Vaseline can also form a protective barrier around the lips and chin.

  • Cleaning baby’s skin

    Gently wipe face and chin with water, then pat dry, to help prevent from getting a rash, as well as the sides of their mouth. Avoid wiping or rubbing your child’s face too much as this can make the area even more sore.

    Clean the irritated skin twice daily with warm water.

  • Use a bib

    Place a bib on your baby to catch the drool, which can also act as a handy cloth for wiping your baby’s face.

  • Keep baby dry

    Change bib as soon as you notice they are getting too wet.

    Have some spare clothes on hand to be able to change the baby into, to prevent wetness sitting on your baby’s skin.

    Laying a dry towel under the sheet that your baby sleeps on, can help keep skin irritants away from skin.

How to prevent teething rash on the face?

For prevention, you could apply emollient cream such as petroleum jelly on the area to act as a natural barrier between the saliva and your baby’s skin. Ensure you re-apply regularly and when you see that the barrier has thinned out, so that there is always a barrier for protection on the skin.

Christidis suggests only to put this on at night-time. “The baby is less likely to be rubbing their face and then sucking their hands coated with either Sudocreme or Vaseline. During the day I would moisturise with a cream from Gaia Baby or something else that is organic and doesn’t matter if the baby swallows some.”

Symptoms of nappy rash

The excess saliva produced by your baby can cause poos to turn more acidic, irritating the skin under the nappy around their bottom, causing nappy rashes.

How to prevent nappy rash?

Use baby wipes that are organic and not scented (non-irritating for the skin) and clean as much and as quickly as possible so no faeces or urine is sitting on the skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) advises to use alcohol free wipes or water with a soft washcloth.

How to soothe nappy rash?

  • Skin balms thicker than a moisturiser can serve as a nappy rash cream and good protection for your child’s skin against further flare ups. The AAD suggests a zinc oxide nappy cream.

  • Avoid putting nappy on too tightly.

  • Use water-soaked cotton wool to clean the area.

  • Don’t use talcum powder or antiseptic wipes, as these could irritate your baby’s skin.

  • Use a gentle, fragrance-free baby wash in the bath.

  • Apply Sudocreme every single nappy change without fail, and prompt nappy change the moment they poo to reduce the time for contact with the skin.

  • Nappy free time is always a good suggestion as well. A bit of sun on their bottoms (without getting burnt) does wonders for skin health and hygiene.

Christidis says that sometimes, when there is a rash, the skin isn’t an effective barrier anymore and an infection can come in on top of the rash, making it much harder to clear. In this instance you will need to see your GP, or pediatrician or dermatologist.

Severe rash

If the rash is severe the AAD recommends using a bottle of water to squirt onto and clean the area, rather than using any wipes or washcloth, as this is gentler on the skin. If it is severe, AAD also suggests applying by layering on the cream like you would when you frost a cake, and you don’t need to remove the cream at each nappy change, as it can be removed at the end of the day.

When to seek further help for rash?

While teething can cause drooling and lead to rashes, if other symptoms arise, it would be best to see the GP, just in case the rash may not be teething related and be caused by something else.

Skin infection

Signs of skin infection, according to the AAD, include fever, blisters, pus that drains from the rash and rash that doesn’t go away after treatment, gets worse, or if baby is inconsolable or in pain.

Fever

Teething can be associated with a slight rise in temperature. However, If the rash is accompanied by a high fever, over 38 degrees celsius, then you need to see a healthcare provider.

According to the Australian Dental Association, other symptoms that are not related to teething include the below. If the below symptoms are present with the drooling and rash, then you should see a doctor:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Cough

  • Diarrhoea

  • Seizures

  • Difficulty sleeping

REFERENCES

https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/teething/teething-rash-how-help-your-baby

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/6951-skin-conditions-in-children

https://stjohnskids.com/blog/teething-rash/

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/nappy-rash#treat

Written by Tracey Cheung, April 2023. Tracey is a freelance writer who specialises in creating health and wellness content for the community, drawing on her experience as a mother.

Reviewed by Jane Barry, Midwife and Child Health Nurse, February 2024.

Midwife Cath Midwife Cath
Written By Tracey Cheung
16/09/21 - min Read

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