Skin Rashes and Conditions in Newborns: What to Expect

The skin of newborn babies is delicate and fragile. As a result, it can often be prone to rashes that may be present at birth or may develop during the first few days of life. Some rashes and skin conditions may require treatment. In most cases, however, these skin conditions go away on their own as the baby’s skin develops and adjusts to life outside the womb. Conditions like milia, neonatal acne, stork bites and erythema toxicum are among the most common types of rashes that can affect baby skin. These conditions normally do not require a doctor’s attention. Jaundice, on the other hand, can be a sign of a potentially serious problem and should be reported to the pediatrician immediately.

Milia

Most newborns are born with milia, tiny white spots on the eyelids, nose, and other areas of delicate skin. They are also known as milk spots, due to the characteristic appearance of these keratin cysts. Typically, milia spots require no treatment and disappear on their own within a few days.

Neonatal Acne

Some newborn babies have what appears to be acne on the cheeks and nose. Neonatal acne, or “baby acne” as it is more commonly known, is believed to be the result of exposure to the mother’s elevated hormone levels within the womb. Baby acne typically fades within a few days or weeks after birth, and is unlikely to recur once it clears up.

Stork Bites

These reddened areas are often found on the neck, forehead, eyelids or upper lip of newborn babies. Known to physicians as telangiectatic nevus, the rash appears as a flat red marking on the skin. These marks may fade over time or be removed through laser surgery methods later in life.

Erythema Toxicum

Blotchy, red patches with small bumps are common among newborn infants and are not a cause for concern in most cases. Erythema toxicum is the medical name for these blotchy patches, which can cover much of the body before they finally fade away within a week or so.

Jaundice

Not technically a rash, jaundice is characterized by a general yellowing of the skin due to a buildup of bilirubin in the newborn baby’s system. Generally, jaundice is most often seen in premature babies and babies who are not receiving adequate nutrition from breastfeeding sessions. However, most babies experience brief periods of jaundice soon after birth due to the natural buildup of this substance in the baby’s body while still in the womb. Jaundice can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition, so the pediatrician should be alerted immediately if the baby shows signs of jaundice during the first twenty-four hours, if it intensifies or spreads, or if other signs of illness or fever are detected.

In most cases, newborn rashes are nothing to worry about. When in doubt, however, parents should contact the pediatrician to put their minds at ease about these minor skin conditions.

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