Newborn rashes are common, and most don’t require treatment—but they certainly can certainly cause concern for new moms and dads. If you find a rash on your baby and aren’t sure how (or if) to treat it, call us. We’re happy to answer your questions or, if needed, have you come in for an appointment.
Image Source: eMedicine MedScape
Pustular melanosis is a common rash that develops in newborns before they are born, and it’s seen more often in African-American babies.
Small pimples on the skin that are filled with a cloudy liquid
Some of the pimples burst before birth, leaving a dark circle or patch of skin
Typically found behind the ears or on the forehead, neck, back and chin
Does not require treatment
The rash typically disappears within 2 week.
Image Source:: eMedicine MedScape
Erythema Toxicum affects approximately half of newborns.
Symptoms may start within a few hours of birth
Red patches on the skin with white or yellow pimples
May develop anywhere on the body, but occurs most often trunk and never on the soles of the feet
Do not pop the pimples, as this increases the likelihood of an infection
Should disappear by the time your newborn is three to four weeks old.
Some newborns have a genetic pre-disposition to eczema, a chronic skin condition that is believed to be caused by having too few fatty cells in the skin. The skin does not retain moisture, and bacteria can penetrate the skin.
Symptoms typically start within a few months of birth
Dry, rough skin that may be crusty
Newborns with eczema may scratch or rub the area
May develop anywhere on a newborn’s body
In older children, the rash typically appears on the knees and elbows
Normally lasts until child reaches school age, but may continue into adulthood
Apply moisturizing cream when your baby’s skin is moist, such as after bathing – dab the skin to remove excess water
Use moisturizer creams one to two times each day
If symptoms continue, speak with your pediatrician – steroid creams may be prescribed, and your pediatrician may recommend ways to reduce triggers for eczema.
Environmental Rashes in Newborns
Some newborns develop rashes that are linked to specific environmental factors, such as heat and allergens. Here are the main culprits:
Heat rashes most often develop in the diaper area, upper chest or other areas where sweat is trapped under the skin.
Red patches that have a slightly rough or smooth texture
May have small bumps or pimples on the skin
Does not require treatment
A contact rash is an allergic reaction caused by sensitivity to a substance that touched your newborn’s skin.
Typically develops within hours
Looks similar to heat rash or ecema
Red and may have a scaly or rough texture
These rashes typically do not cause discomfort, but there may be some itching
Treat with a non-prescription moisturizer cream. If the rash does not improve, contact your pediatrician. Steroid creams may be prescribed to treat the contact rash.
Yeast infections develop in areas of the body that are warm and moist, such as the diaper area, in the armpits and around the neck.
Can look like tiny red dots scattered around or pink moist areas that look irritated
If you suspect that your newborn has a yeast infection, speak with your pediatrician. Medicated creams may be prescribed to clear the rash.
A Note About Steroid Creams
Your pediatrician may recommend steroid creams for your newborn’s rash. The creams work by reducing inflammation in the skin. Because inflammation is part of the body’s immune response for fighting infection, steroid creams should only be used as directed by your pediatrician and usually only applied to the skin once a day in younger children. Steroid creams should not be used for more than one to two weeks at a time, if you do not see any improvement at that point, please contact your pediatrician.
The NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health
care quality. Learn more.
Copyright 2022, Utah Valley Pediatrics. All Rights Reserved. The material provided on this website and websites linked from this site is for informative purposes only. If you need specific medical advice or have an urgent need, please contact our office.