How to Recognize Common Newborn Skin Conditions

You have your beautiful bundle of joy and she is just perfect…healthy, adorable…yummy.  But wait…what’s that? Why is her face covered in those not so flattering bumps? Allergy? Is it something you ate? Do you need to call your pediatrician? Maybe…but, take a quick look below…could be she’s got something perfectly normal and oh so very common.  Recognizing these common newborn skin conditions may save you a lot of worry and, you can keep on enjoying your beautiful baby…bumps and all. 

What’s going on with your baby’s skin?

My baby’s skin is peeling: This is perfectly normal and is most common on the hands and feet. It will go away on its own.

My baby has…pimples?  Yes, infant acne is very common and is caused by maternal hormones.  Another lovely side effect of those darn hormones.  Don’t worry, this type of acne does not leave scars, do not apply any topical medications to her face.  Leave them alone, cleansing the face with warm water and gentle baby wash during her bath time is all that is needed. This should resolve by age 4-6 months.

What are those tiny white dots on her face? Most likely, this is Milia.  These pinhead size “whiteheads” are clogged pores and are most common on the nose and cheeks.  Again, this will resolve on its own, no need to do anything.

My baby has a bruise on his lower back:  Likely what you are observing is a Mongolian spot.  These flat, dark blue blotches can resemble bruises but you’ll notice they don’t go through the normal color changes that a bruise does. These are most common in Asian, Hispanic, and African American babies and are usually on the lower back and buttocks.  My son has these and at age 5, although they have faded, they are still noticeable. I’ve only had a couple people remark that they thought he had bruises and I had to kindly inform them that no, they are birthmarks…Mongolian spots to be exact.

What’s that red patch on my baby’s neck? A Salmon Patch or Stork’s Bite/Angel Kiss is a very common flat, red splotchy birthmark usually found on the eyelids, mid-forehead, or nape of the neck. They will fade and disappear with time.

My baby gets red bumps that come and go but she doesn’t seem bothered by it.  This is most likely Erythema Toxicum.  These red bumps surrounded by red blotchy rings may appear soon after birth and can appear anywhere on the body.  It comes and goes over several weeks. It does not itch or cause baby any discomfort. These will go away on their own.

I hope this quick little rundown on common newborn skin conditions helps.  Click on the links for the pictures. But, please remember…when in doubt…call your baby’s Doctor. Anytime.  It is never normal for your baby to have a rash accompanied by a fever, or for your baby to look or act sick.

19 Responses to How to Recognize Common Newborn Skin Conditions
  1. The Empress
    August 4, 2010 | 11:31 pm

    Oh, we had it all, sister. We were a dermatological dream ( or nightmare, depending on who's getting their bread buttered, and who's buying the butter)

    Eczema, baby acne, and mongolian spots and psoriasis..oh my!

  2. The Empress
    August 4, 2010 | 11:31 pm

    Oh, we had it all, sister. We were a dermatological dream ( or nightmare, depending on who's getting their bread buttered, and who's buying the butter)

    Eczema, baby acne, and mongolian spots and psoriasis..oh my!

  3. Cheryl D.
    August 4, 2010 | 11:39 pm

    Great summary of all those skin issues. My daughter had a lot on that list! LOL

  4. Cheryl D.
    August 4, 2010 | 11:39 pm

    Great summary of all those skin issues. My daughter had a lot on that list! LOL

  5. Kristin
    August 5, 2010 | 6:03 am

    This is a great list. Both of my girls had/have Angel Kisses and M had a bad case of baby acne!

  6. Funky Mama Bird
    August 5, 2010 | 6:08 am

    Man, newborn skin is freaky.

  7. Funky Mama Bird
    August 5, 2010 | 6:08 am

    Man, newborn skin is freaky.

  8. SarahK
    August 5, 2010 | 8:19 am

    Great list- especially with the pics. I was thinking, “check, had that one, check, that one too.”

    Whew- nothing to worry about!

  9. The Planet Pink
    August 5, 2010 | 12:20 pm

    Great list! I think we hit them all at some point between my four!

  10. The Planet Pink
    August 5, 2010 | 12:20 pm

    Great list! I think we hit them all at some point between my four!

  11. Liz
    August 5, 2010 | 12:29 pm

    Both of my girls had stork bites, though Kate's was larger and lasted longer. Kate had acne kinda bad, and I couldn't wait for it to go away!

  12. Liz
    August 5, 2010 | 12:29 pm

    Both of my girls had stork bites, though Kate's was larger and lasted longer. Kate had acne kinda bad, and I couldn't wait for it to go away!

  13. Lynn
    August 5, 2010 | 4:10 pm

    The baby acne is seriously scary and ugly. Luckily it went as fast as it came and didn't coincide with a portrait sitting!

  14. Lynn
    August 5, 2010 | 4:10 pm

    The baby acne is seriously scary and ugly. Luckily it went as fast as it came and didn't coincide with a portrait sitting!

  15. Heligirl
    August 5, 2010 | 4:44 pm

    My kids both had the skin peel, stork bites (still visible BTW), infant ace and milia. With my daughter I freaked out. With Mr. Number Two it was all “he'll live.” Great stuff for new moms. I'm tweeting this one baby!

  16. Heligirl
    August 5, 2010 | 4:44 pm

    My kids both had the skin peel, stork bites (still visible BTW), infant ace and milia. With my daughter I freaked out. With Mr. Number Two it was all “he'll live.” Great stuff for new moms. I'm tweeting this one baby!

  17. Magic Ear Kids
    August 6, 2010 | 4:50 pm

    My baby had great skin but at about 3 pm every day her scalp flaked like the before picture on the Head & Shoulders commercial. Every day it did that. Strange.

  18. Mungee's Ma
    August 7, 2010 | 5:00 pm

    Mungee had terrible baby acne, cradle cap and then eczema that didn't clear for months. Finally after I gave up my beloved peanut m&ms, her eczema began to clear and only flares up every once in a while.

    She's also got a purple-ish spot on the back of her butt/thigh, I guess that's a Mongolian spot. It's interesting, the color fades in and out.

  19. […] an eye out for more Baby Skin 101 topics and check out this post about a few other common newborn skin conditions. Pin It 0 Comments – Leave a comment! « […]

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