Your Newborn's Skin and Rashes
A newborn's skin is prone to rashes of all sorts. Fortunately, most of these rashes are harmless and go away on their own.
Common Rashes in Newborns
- Pink pimples ('neonatal acne') are sometimes thought to be caused by exposure in the womb to maternal hormones. No treatment is needed, just time. They can last for weeks or even months on a baby's skin.
- Erythema toxicum is another common newborn rash. It looks like red blotches with ill-defined borders that are slightly raised, and may have a small white or yellow dot in the center. Its cause is unknown, and it resolves without treatment after a few days or weeks.
- Dry, peeling skincan be seen in almost all normal babies, but is especially noticeable in babies born a little late. The underlying skin is perfectly normal, soft, and moist.
- Little white bumps on the nose and face (milia) are caused by blocked oil glands. When a baby's oil glands enlarge and open up in a few days or weeks, the white bumps disappear.
- Salmon patches (called a ''stork bite'' at the back of the neck or an ''angel's kiss'' between the eyes) are simple nests of blood vessels (probably caused by maternal hormones) that fade on their own after a few weeks or months. Occasionally, stork bites never go away.
- Jaundice is a yellow coloration on baby's skin and eyes. It is caused by an excess of bilirubin (a breakdown product of red blood cells). If the bilirubin level becomes sufficiently high, blue or white lights may be focused on the baby's skin to lower the level, because excess bilirubin can sometimes pose a health hazard.
- Mongolian spots are very common in any part of the body of dark-skinned babies. They are flat, gray-blue in color (almost looking like a bruise), and can be small or large. They are caused by some pigment that didn't make it to the top layer when baby's skin was being formed. They are harmless and usually fade away by school age.
New rashes may appear in babies after a few days, weeks, or even months.