Newborn Rashes and Skin Conditions - Topic Overview
What are the most common skin conditions in newborns?
It's very common for newborns to have rashes or other skin problems. Some
of them have long names that are hard to say and sound scary. But most will go
away on their own in a few days or weeks.
Here are some of the
things you may notice about your baby's skin.
It looks like pimples.
Babies often get pimples on their cheeks,
noses, and foreheads. This baby acne may show up during the first few weeks of
life and usually clears up on its own within a few months. Baby acne has
nothing to do with whether your child will have
acne problems as a teenager.
spots very often appear on a newborn's face during the first week. The
spots are called milia (say "MIL-ee-uh"). Sometimes white spots appear on the
gums and the roof of the mouth (palate), where they are called Epstein pearls. The white spots go away
by themselves in a few weeks and aren't harmful.
The baby's skin looks blotchy.
During the first day or two of life, many
babies get harmless red blotches with tiny bumps that sometimes contain pus.
This is called erythema toxicum (say "air-uh-THEE-mah TOK-sik-um"). It may
appear on only part of the body or on most of the body. The blotchy areas may
come and go, but they will usually go away on their own within a week.
A rash called pustular melanosis (say "PUS-chuh-ler
mel-uh-NOH-sis") is common among black infants. The rash is harmless and
doesn't need treatment. It causes pus-filled pimples that may break open and
form dark spots surrounded by loose skin. Babies are born with it, and it
usually goes away after the first few days of life. Sometimes dark spots may
last for a few weeks or months.
When cold, your newborn may get a blotchy,
lacy rash (mottling) on the limbs and torso. Remove your baby from the
cold source, and the rash will usually go away. Mottling usually doesn't occur
past 6 months of age.
The baby has a rash.
Babies can get
heat rash, sometimes called prickly heat, when they are dressed too warmly or
when the weather is very hot. This is a red or pink rash usually found on the
body areas covered by clothing. It often itches and makes your baby
uncomfortable. Doctors call this rash miliaria (say "mil-ee-AIR-ee-uh"). To
help the rash go away, remove your baby from the warm setting. Dress your child
in light, loose clothing and give him or her a cool bath. For more information,
see the topic
Diaper rash is
red and sore skin on a baby's bottom or genitals that is caused by wearing a
wet diaper for a long time. Urine and stool can irritate the skin. Diaper rash
can happen when babies sleep for many hours without waking. Sometimes
an infection from bacteria or yeast can cause a diaper rash. If your baby has
diaper rash, take extra care to keep him or her as dry as possible. For more information, see the
Many babies have a rash off and on around the mouth or on
the chin. It's caused by drooling and spitting up. Clean your baby's face
often, especially after he or she eats or spits up. For more information, see
The baby sometimes has tiny red dots on the skin.
You may notice tiny red dots on your
newborn's skin. These red dots are called petechiae (say
"puh-TEE-kee-eye"). These are specks of blood that have leaked into the skin.
They are caused by the trauma of being squeezed through the birth canal. They
will disappear within the first week or two.
The baby's scalp is scaly.
Many babies get what is called
cradle cap. This scaly or crusty skin on the top of the baby's head is a normal
buildup of sticky skin oils, scales, and dead skin cells. Unlike some other
rashes, cradle cap can be treated at home with shampoo or mineral oil. Cradle
cap usually goes away by age 1 year. For more information, see the topic