Health Topics

Keeping Your Newborn’s Skin Healthy

Keeping Your Newborn’s Skin Healthy

When outdoors, keep your baby’s skin covered or keep the baby out of direct sunlight. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under 6 months. Unless advised by your healthcare provider, do not use lotions, oils or powders, as they can cause irritation.

Common Newborn Skin Conditions

Several skin conditions can affect your newborn. Most do not need treatment and will heal themselves in less than a few weeks. Learn more about the symptoms and treatments of certain skin conditions by reading the information listed below:

  • Blotchy red areas with white or yellow bumps in the center (called erthema toxicum) may occur on any part of your baby’s body. The spots may look like insect bites and they will come and go for 1-2 weeks. No treatment is needed other than routine cleaning of the area.
  • Pinhead-sized white bumps (called milia) are common and most often seen on or around the nose and on the chin. No treatment is needed other than routine cleaning of the area. The rash will go away in a few weeks.
  • Heat rash (miliaria) appears as white, red or clear bumps on the skin that are larger than milia. They occur most often on the forehead and neck, and are caused by overwarming. The rash disappears on its own when baby is unbundled.
  • Infant acne may occur at 2-4 weeks of age. Small bumps appear on the face and body that look as if they have pus in them. No treatment is needed other than routine cleaning of the area. The acne will go away in 1-2 weeks.
  • Cradle cap (called seborrhea) is a crust that forms on baby’s scalp. It appears gray and is greasy. It’s caused by a build-up of normal oil made by the scalp. Shampoo the baby’s scalp more frequently and remove the crust gently with your nails or a fine tooth comb. In severe cases, your baby’s doctor may recommend a special shampoo.
  • Diaper rash is most often caused by irritation from urine and bowel movements. The skin may become red and raw, and baby may cry when wet. Dry baby’s skin before applying a diaper rash ointment, such as zinc oxide, to red areas. Do not use hydrocortisone cream on diaper rash, as the rash will get worse. Exposing the diaper area to the air is often helpful. To prevent diaper rash, change baby’s diaper often and wash the diaper area with clean water, being sure to clean and dry baby’s skin and the folds of skin.
  • Monilia is a bright red, bumpy rash that is caused by a yeast infection. It is found in the diaper area and sometimes in skin creases. If your baby’s rash does not improve with routine care, check with your healthcare provider. A prescription medication may be needed.