Babies Born with Blotches, Patches, and More

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

Most people think of newborn skin as blemish-free — the very definition of perfection — but newborns have all kinds of spots and markings. Most disappear within a matter of days or weeks. Some of the most common newborn skin conditions include

  • Dry skin: Some babies, particularly those who are born late, have an outer layer of skin that looks shriveled like a raisin and peels off easily shortly after birth. You can use lotion or baby oil, if needed, as a moisturizer.

  • Hemangiomas: A type of reddish spot, known as a hemangioma, may not appear until a week or so after delivery. It can be almost any size, large or small, and can occur anywhere on the infant’s body. Although the majority of these spots go away in early childhood, some persist. You can treat the spots that become bothersome (because of their appearance). Discuss treatment options, if needed, with your pediatrician.

  • Mongolian spots: Bluish-gray patches of skin on the lower back, buttocks, and thighs are especially common in Asian, Southern European, and African-American infants. These patches are sometimes called mongolian spots. They often disappear in early childhood.

  • Neonatal acne: Some babies are born with tiny white or red pimples around the nose, lips, and cheeks, and some develop them weeks or months later. These bumps are completely normal and are sometimes called neonatal acne or milia. No need to rush to the dermatologist, though. The little bumps disappear in time.

  • Red spots: Reddish discoloration on the skin, whether very deep and dark or light and hardly noticeable, is very common in newborns. Most of these discolorations go away or fade, but some may persist as birthmarks. One type of discoloration in particular, erythema taxicum, can be extensive. It looks like bad hives, and it comes and goes over the baby’s first few days of life.

  • Stork bites: You may notice small ruptured blood vessels around your baby’s nose and eyes or on the back of the neck. These marks are commonly known as stork bites or angel kisses. They’re common in newborns, and they also disappear after a while, although it sometimes takes weeks or months.