The One About Newborn Rashes

imagesWhat are these spots on my baby?

There are many normal rashes that occur in the newborn period.  My little one has been through almost all of them.  So many rashes in just a few months!


These are small white spots often found on the nose (though they can occur elsewhere) on newborns and result from keratin build up under the skin.  They go away in the first month of life and you need not do anything about them.

Erythema Toxicum

What a terrible name for something that is normal and causes no problems!  These pink spots that often have a little head in the middle (they look like mosquito bites) show up in the first week of life usually on the chest, back, arms, and legs.  They cause no problems, do not mean that anything is wrong with your baby, and go away all by themselves usually within the week.

Nevus Flamus

These flat red marks are present at birth and are often called “stork bites” (on the back of the neck) or “angel kisses” (on the eyelids).  They are the result of blood vessels near the skin.  They fade with time, though it can take several months.

Peeling skin

No matter how much lotion you put on, the skin just keeps peeling!  I like to think of this as molting.  All babies will shed a layer of skin after birth.  No need to fight it with endless amounts of lotion.  If there are areas at the ankles or wrists that are cracking from peeled skin, it is ok to apply Vaseline to help with healing.


Ah, newborn acne.  Does is look like your newborn has pimples?  This is probably the case.  This rash usually pops up right when you are ready to take newborn photographs.  My daughter’s did!  Just keep washing skin as you normally would with water and mild baby soap and the acne should go away within a couple of weeks.  Photographers are great at processing so the acne isn’t visible!

Cradle Cap

Also known as seborrhea, these yellow flakes can appear on the scalp, eyebrows, and behind the ears.  For most babies this doesn’t cause a problem and parents are more bothered by it than their children are.  Some babies develop a red bumpy rash on their face and neck related to the cradle cap called seborrheic dermatitis.  This can sometimes be itchy and irritating and looks inflamed.  For mild cradle cap, using Vaseline, Aquaphor or baby oil works well to soften flakes so that they can be picked or combed off.  Selenium shampoo, such as Selsun Blue, can also be used 1-2 times a week.  These shampoos are not tear-free so should be used carefully.  Hydrocortisone cream 0.5% can be used on the related rash, but should be used sparingly just until the rash clears.


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