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Newborn Rashes and Skin Conditions - Topic Overview

What are the common birthmarks?

Birthmarks come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are flat and some form a raised area on the skin. Most are harmless and need no treatment. They often fade or disappear as a child grows older.

  • Salmon patches, also called stork bites or angel kisses, are flat, pink patches that occur mainly on the back of the neck, the upper eyelids, the upper lip, or between the eyebrows. Most go away by age 2 years, although patches on the back of the neck usually last into adulthood.
  • MolesMoles are brown bumps that can occur anywhere on the body.
  • Café-au-lait spots are flat, brown birthmarks that are usually oval in shape. They may get bigger and darker, and your baby may get more of them throughout childhood.
  • Mongolian spots are smooth, flat, blue or blue-gray birthmarks, usually on the lower back and buttocks. They often look like bruises. They are very common among darker-skinned newborns. They usually fade by school age, but they may never disappear entirely.
  • Port-wine stains are pink-red at birth and then become a darker red-purple color. These birthmarks are formed by blood vessels that did not develop properly. They can be large. Light port-wine stains may fade, but about half get bigger as the child grows. Sometimes they get thicker and darker.
  • Hemangiomas (say "hee-man-jee-OH-muhs") are raised, blue, red, or purple birthmarks formed by a clump of blood vessels that can be any size or shape. Most of them grow for about a year, then turn white and start shrinking.

For more information, see the topic Birthmarks.

What about jaundice?

Many newborn babies have a yellow tint to their skin and the whites of their eyes. This is called jaundice. In newborns, jaundice usually goes away on its own within a week and does not need treatment. But in rare cases, jaundice gets worse and can cause brain damage. That is why it is important to call your doctor if you notice signs that jaundice is getting worse. If you think that your baby's skin or eyes are getting more yellow, or if your baby is more tired or is not acting normally, call your doctor. For more information, see the topic Jaundice in Newborns.

When should you call a doctor?

Always call a doctor if you have any concerns, if your baby is not acting normally, or if the skin shows signs of being infected. The signs can include:

  • Increased pain, swelling, or warmth in an area.
  • Red streaks extending from an area.
  • Pus.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.
  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
  • An extra fussy baby.
When to call a doctor
Skin problemCall your doctor if:
Diaper rash
  • The rash isn't better after 2 or 3 days. Your baby may have a yeast diaper rash.
Birthmarks
  • The birthmark bleeds or grows quickly.

Blisters

  • Your baby has a rash with blisters.
Jaundice
  • Your baby's yellow tint gets brighter or deeper, or it hasn't decreased by your baby's 5th day of life.
  • Your baby seems very sleepy, is not eating well, or does not act normally.
  • Your baby shows signs of dehydration, such as strong-smelling urine with a dark yellow color.
  • Your baby has a rectal temperature that is less than 97.8°F (36.6°C) or is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. Call if you cannot take your baby's temperature but he or she seems hot.
  • Your baby has any new symptoms or does not get better as expected.

If you have concerns about what lotions or other products to use on your baby's skin, talk with your baby's doctor at the next visit. Not all newborn skin conditions need to be treated with lotions and creams. You don't usually need to use lotions and other products on healthy newborn skin.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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