Common Skin Conditions In Newborns And How To Deal With Them

It is quite common for newborns to have skin conditions. For instance, it is absolutely normal for the skin of a newborn to peel for a while after they are born. The reason? The skin of a baby is quite sensitive. It’s easily affected by various factors such as bacteria, heat, allergies, and so on. It is not a time to worry excessively. Although the conditions come easily, they are also short-lived.

More severe ones are still easily treated with various topical creams or ointments. It is of utmost benefit to identify these conditions and follow the proper steps in ensuring that they are gotten rid of.

Below are some of the common skin conditions and how to deal with them:

Baby Acne

Baby acne is also known as “Roré” in the Yoruba language. Did you think that only teens and young adults got acne? Your baby may get it too. Baby acne shows up around 2 to 3 weeks of age. The cause is from hormones from the mother that could have come into the child during the pregnancy period. Acne can show up on the cheeks, chin, forehead, and baby’s back.

The pimples are harmless and won’t leave scars. Simply leave them alone and keep the area clean with water only. Don’t squeeze, pick, scrub with soap, slather with lotions. They can last for weeks or even months on a baby’s skin.

Image from Biophoto Associates
Image of a baby with acne
Image from Aseky +Co.
Image of a baby with pimples

Heat Rash

Called “Ooru ara” in the Yoruba language. This rash can show up in various areas of your baby’s body. Common areas are the neck, armpits, and diaper areas (bum, waist, and groin). It may itch and make your baby uncomfortable so expect a fussy baby. You can help by keeping your baby at a comfortable temperature.

Most of the time, prickly heat will go away on its own in a couple of days. It is important to keep the area dry and avoid overheating by dressing your baby in loose-fitting clothing. Call the doctor if pustules (pus), increased swelling, or redness develops. You can also read our other article on flu rash

Image from Motherhood in-style Magazine
Image of a baby with heat rash on the neck
Image from ISM
Image of a baby with heat rash on the back
Image from Science Source
Image of a baby with diaper rash


Called “Ibá apójú” in the Yoruba language. This is a yellow colouration of the skin and eyes. This is caused by an excess of bilirubin (a breakdown product of red blood cells). If at any point the bilirubin level becomes sufficiently high, blue or white lights may be focused on the baby’s skin to lower the level. This is because excess bilirubin can sometimes pose a health hazard.

In newborns, jaundice usually goes away on its own within a week and does not need treatment. But in rare cases, jaundice gets worse and can cause brain damage. That is why it is important to call your doctor if you notice signs that jaundice is getting worse. So just be observant about this. If you think that your baby’s skin or eyes are getting more yellow, or if your baby is more tired or is not acting normally, call your doctor. This is easily treated once noticed.

A jaundiced baby
Image : Global Health Media Project

Dry Skin

If dry patches start to spread, crack or seem painfully itchy, talk to your paediatrician, who may recommend special lotions, soaps or shampoos. Quite easily taken care of.

A baby with dry skin
Image from ISM


Also known as atopic dermatitis. This is called “Ifo” in the Yoruba language and Ugwo in the Igbo language. Eczema can begin in the first few weeks of life, or may not begin until your baby is older. Eczema is dry skin that gets red and irritated, mostly seen on the scalp, face, trunk, back elbows, knees, cheeks, chin or the diaper area.

Apply Vaseline or an unscented moisturizing lotion to keep the skin from becoming too dry. Bathe your baby daily with cool or slightly warm water and a mild soap or soap substitute. Then pat your baby dry after a bath. Don’t rub the skin. If the skin continues to look red and irritated, contact your doctor for more advice/care.

Image from Eczema Foundation
A baby with eczema
Image from CMSP
Image of a baby with eczema on back

Cradle Cap

Do you notice crusty yellow scales, deep red bumps and dandruff-like flakes on your baby’s head? That’s probably cradle cap, a seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp (what you probably call dandruff in older kids and adults). It could also appear around the ears, eyebrows, armpits, and in neck creases (folds). It is very common skin condition in newborns in the first 3 months and can linger as long as a year. Most of the time, it appears in the first several weeks after birth. It will get better on its own but may be treated if it becomes severe.

Refer to your doctor for better expert treatment. But if you can’t stand looking at the flakes, try massaging your baby’s scalp with coconut oil and +/- cradle cap shampoo or any other shampoo. Makes your baby’s scalp look better.

Image from Biophoto Associates
Image of a baby with cradle cap

Mongolian Spots

These appear as flat, gray-blue in colour (almost looking like a bruise) marks, and can be as small as a pin head or several inches larger. They are caused by some pigment that didn’t make it to the top layer when baby’s skin was being formed. Mongolian spots typically show up on baby’s back, buttocks or legs. What to do? Nothing. They are harmless and usually fade away by school age.

Image from ISM
Image from ISM
Image of a baby with mongolian spots
Image from MD edge
Image of a baby with mongolian spots on back


Milia are small white bumps that are common on newborn skin. They are caused by blocked oil glands. When a baby’s oil glands enlarge and open up in a few days or weeks, the white bumps disappear. Generally, milia are seen on the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Leave them alone. They will go away on their own.

Image from Sangopan Blog
Image of a baby with Milia

Toxic Erythema of the Newborn

Half of all newborns develop this rash within two to three days after birth. The rash begins red and raised. It can appear on the face, arms or legs. It is not warm to touch and does not cause any problems. Subsequently, there is nothing that needs to be done about it. It will go away within a few days. Don’t be fooled by thename.

Image of baby with toxic erythema of the newborn
Image from
Image of baby with toxic erythema of the newborn
Image of baby with toxic erythema of the newborn
Image from
Image of baby with toxic erythema of the newborn

Salmon Patches

This is also known as “Stork bite” or “Angel’s Kiss”. See. These cute harmless sounding nicknames should put you at ease. They are extremely common skin conditions in newborns. They often appear on the nape of the neck (where the proverbial stork, if you know the tale, might have carried your precious baby), forehead, eyelids and around the nose or upper lip.

Salmon patches are caused by widenig of the calibre of the tiny blood vessels beneath baby’s super-thin skin. Since most cases of stork bites fade away as your baby’s skin develops and thickens, there’s no need to worry. Most go away by age 2 years, although patches on the back of the neck usually last into adulthood.

Image from Science Source
Image of a baby with salmon patches/stork bite

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