Common skin conditions in newborn babies

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Does your baby have strange bumps, spots, marks, freckles and rashes on her body? Find out more about common skin conditions your newborn may experience and how you can treat them

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It's common for newborn babies to have skin conditions

Once your little one is born and the sleepless nights begin, you might glance at your reflection in the mirror and long for the days your skin was clear, smooth and soft like a baby's bottom.

But what if your bub's skin is far from perfect and she appears to have some strange marks, bumps, blisters, freckles, spots and rashes?

Which skin conditions are normal and when will they require medical treatment?

Read our guide to the various skin conditions that are commonly found in newborns.

Cafe-au-lait spots

What it looks like: Flat spots that are usually oval in shape and may look like a normal type of birthmark, but have distinct edges that are a bit darker (usually the colour of coffee with milk, thus the name) than the surrounding skin.

Although these spots themselves are harmless, if some of the spots are bigger than a 50 cent coin, then it could be due to Neurofibromatosis (NF), which is a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes abnormal cell growth of nerve tissues or benign tumours to form on the nerves anywhere in the body at any time.

The occurrence of Café-au-lait spots varies with race as such:

  • 0.3% of Caucasian
  • 0.4% of Chinese
  • 3% of Hispanic
  • 18% of African American

How to treat it: No medical treatment is required, but it would take laser surgery to help fade the spots.

Port-wine stains

What it looks like: A birthmark that really looks like red wine was been splashed onto your baby's skin and has literally stained it -- the marks might be pink at birth but tend to become darker with age, turning reddish-purple or dark red.

These marks occur when an area of skin has an insufficient supply of nerve fibres (which normally help to keep blood vessels narrow), so small blood vessels (or capillaries) will expand, allowing a greater amount of blood to flow in, thus causing a "stain" to form under the skin.

This condition is not preventable, nor is it due to anything you did while you were pregnant.

How to treat it: Laser treatment can be started in infancy which can help fade away the marks. It is also important to keep your baby's skin well-moisturised as these marks tend to be quite dry.

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Wash your baby's skin with warm water and mild soap to keep milia at bay

Milia

What it looks like: Little white bumps around the nose, chin or cheeks and sometimes on the upper trunk and limbs.

This is caused by tiny skin flakes that become trapped in small pockets near the surface of the skin.

As much as you may feel tempted to squeeze or scrub away at the bumps, avoid doing this as it could cause more irritation or even an infection.

However, milia will usually clear up on its own within several weeks or months.

How to treat it: Wash your bub's face everyday with warm water and mild baby soap and gently pat her skin dry; you should also avoid using any lotions or oils on the affected area.

Pustular melanosis

What it looks like: Small blisters that peel open to reveal a small freckle inside, after which some flat, dark spots may occur -- commonly found under the chin, at the back of the neck, on the forehead, the lower back, or the shins.

This benign skin condition is usually seen in babies with a darker skintone, and in most cases is present from birth.

However, if you notice any blisters on your baby's skin, you may want to get it checked out to ensure that it's not due to an infection such as herpes or staph.

How to treat it: No medical treatment is necessary and you can expect it to fade within three months.

 

Heat rash

What it looks like: Cluster of of tiny itchy bumps or small blisters that may be red around the folds of your bub's skin or other parts of her body especially where her clothes might fit snugly.

When your baby sweats too much due to hot and humid weather that her pores clog up, a heat rash will develops because sweat is unable to get out.

Babies are more prone to getting heat rash than adults because their pores are smaller.

How to treat it: Dress your baby in loose clothing; keep her cool; after a bath, let her air dry instead of using a towel; avoid applying any creams or lotions to the affected area.

 

What other skin conditions do babies get? Go to the next page to find out more

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