Reviewed by Roy Benaroch on September 19, 2014


Steven P. Shelov, MD, MS, FAAP, Editor and Chief, and Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP, Associate Medical Editor, "The Complete and Authoritative Guide for Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5." Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP, and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, "Heading Home With Your Newborn, From Birth to Reality." "Your Newborn’s Skin: Rashes and Birthmarks."

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Video Transcript

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: It's understandable that baby's skin problems can be troubling to parents. What's important to realize is that most are not serious and many will go away on their own. Here we have the rundown for you, step by step.

Dr. Shu: Hey, how are you? Congratulations on the baby.

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Newborns can sometimes develop a scaly scalp known as cradle cap. It can show up in other areas – on the face – even in the diaper area. It's not contagious, doesn't itch and usually disappears within a few weeks or months without treatment.

Dr. Shu: You've got dry skin back there

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Many babies get skin rashes. Most are harmless and require little more than normal skin care and patience until they go away. There are several common varieties:

Dr. Shu: So we have a little bit of baby acne here, these tiny pink pimples.

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Baby acne usually appears about four weeks after birth. The red bumps are caused by the effect of the mother's pregnancy hormones on the baby's oil glands and might take a few months to clear.

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Milia are those tiny, white bumps that appear on the noses, chin and often the cheeks of newborns – they need no treatment and usually go away in a few weeks.

Dr. Shu: What I do notice is that he has something called erythema toxicum

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Tiny blistering-like bumps may be a rash called E-tox or erythema toxicum. The bumps may look like fleabites and should not be poked or popped – but should go away within a week without medical attention.

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Eczema can strike between two and six months of age with itching, redness and small bumps on the cheeks forehead or scalp that may spread to the arms or trunk.

Dr. Shu: Ok let's turn you over.

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Eczema may or may not be allergy related and is often confused with other conditions. Your doctor can help sort it out and offer advice on treatment.

Dr. Shu: He also has a very faint café au lait spot. Which is that coffee color flat birthmark. 

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Birthmarks come in all colors, shapes and sizes. The birthmark is flat and light brown, it may be called a café au lait spot. Darker, raised spots most likely are moles.

Jennifer Shu, MD (cont.): Hemangiomas are large or small bumpy, strawberry looking collections of blood vessels that can appear anywhere on the body. Most shrink with time – but some require laser treatment and sometimes surgery.

Dr. Shu: We're looking at the stork bite on the back of head she also on scalp here

Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP: Splotchy pink spots on the eyelids, head or neck are called angel kisses or stork bites.
They tend to get brighter when the baby cries and often fade over the first few years.
In contrast, port wine stains are red, last for life and can occur anywhere on the body. Sometimes they increase in size with the child's growth.
Babies with darker skin are sometimes born with bluish-green birthmarks, known as Mongolian spots, typically on the buttocks, back and shoulder areas.
They usually fade with time. Since they sometimes look like bruises, it's best to have them checked by your pediatrician.

Jennifer Shu, MD (cont.): Several childhood diseases affecting the skin include chicken pox and measles that can be prevented with early vaccinations.
Blisters or boils should be checked by your doctor as they can be caused by bacterial strep and staph infections.
Rosy cheeks can be a sign of good health. But bright, red patches on the face may be a sign of a contagious viral illness called Fifth Disease or slap cheek.
Cold-like symptoms precede the rash by 2-3 days, but once the rash develops the child is no longer contagious.
Always report any skin condition or eruption accompanied by fever to your pediatrician right away. For WebMD, I'm Dr. Jennifer Shu.

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