A baby's skin goes through a number of changes in the first days and weeks of his life, before it settles down and turns into that soft, smooth skin parents adore. In the first minutes of life, a baby's skin can have a red, blue or gray tint, and it will be wrinkly. It might be covered with a fine hair called lanugo. The waxy coating that covers a baby at birth -- and was there to protect the fetus from amniotic fluid -- is called vernix. The lanugo and vernix will both disappear in the first days of life without any special care [source: Haas].
An estimated 10 to 20 percent of babies may have a run-in with eczema before age 1 [source: Haas]. Eczema is an itchy, red rash. It could crop up just about anywhere, including behind the knees or in the crook of the elbow, and on the chest, face and limbs. This condition can result from contact with an irritant, like a fabric, detergent or even saliva. Eczema also can be caused by allergies. Your pediatrician may prescribe a steroid cream to treat eczema. Some other things you can do at home to prevent more eczema outbreaks on your baby's skin include limiting baths and using just water or very mild soap when you do bathe your child. Also, use a baby detergent for clothes, but don't use a fabric softener [source: Haas].
At some point, just about every parent will pull off a diaper and find a rash on her baby's bottom. Do you need to call the doctor? Read on to find out how to handle this common problem as well as how to avoid other infant skin problems.