Newborn Skin Concerns: Should You be Worried?

Mom's hands caressing newborn's head

We get it. Those first few weeks (who are we kidding, months) of having a newborn at home are daunting. There are so many new things to do, clean, understand, learn… clean. Then, on top of being completely sleep deprived, physically drained, and overwhelmed with new worries you notice a new spot, bump, or rash. Now what?

Newborn skin is more than just buttery soft; it’s sensitive to the elements and often comes with and variety of unexpected, but mostly harmless, baby skin conditions. How do you when you should worry? Here are some newborn skin concerns you can rest easy about, if you can rest at all:

Strawberry Hemangioma

These raised, red birthmarks are typically found on the upper back, chest or head, and range in size from tiny to a few inches around. Hemangiomas—which are caused when immature veins and capillaries break away from the circulatory system during fetal development—usually go away on their own before the first school year begins. If you want to speed up their disappearance, you can try massage and compression. If you really want to treat strawberry hemangiomas, you can call one of The Derm Group’s board-certified pediatric dermatologists who may recommend cryotherapy, surgery, steroids, or laser therapy.

Infant Acne

Does it look like your newborn has a pimple? Don’t stress. Newborn acne is very common and not something to worry about. It’s something that happens when the mother’s or baby’s hormones cause the baby’s glands to produce more sebum. You might find pimples or blackheads on your little one’s nose or forehead within the first few months after birth, but treatment of newborn acne is rare and it usually goes away on it own. Just please do not try to pop them. It’s always best to leave baby acne alone.

Stork Bite (Nevus Simplex)

That pink or red spot between your baby’s eyes or on the back of her neck is just dilated blood vessels. You might also hear them being called an “angel’s kiss.” It’s nothing to worry about and most of them disappear within the first two years.

Mongolian Spots

If you notice a gray-blue patch on your baby’s back, buttocks, or legs, don’t freak out. It may look like bruising but if your newborn is of African, Indian, Asian, or Mediterranean decent, it’s likely what is called a Mongolian Spot. They don’t hurt; they are simply a variation in skin pigmentation and are usually gone by the time your baby blows out her first birthday candle. 

Birthmarks (Café-au-Lait Spots)

What you commonly refer to as a “birthmark” is simply a flat, irregularly shaped, pigmented spot on the skin. They might not show up right away, but when they do they stick around. Birthmarks are harmless and may get larger or darker into adulthood. If, however, you notice six or more of these, you should call your dermatologist. Quantities of these birthmarks can be a sign of neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder.

Port Wine Stain (Vascular Malformations)

Port wine stains are caused by blood vessels and appear as dark red areas on the skin (hence the name). These birthmarks will remain through adulthood, but are harmless. Lasers can remove port wine stains located on the face. If the birthmark is located near the eyes, a doctor should ensure the health of the blood vessels in the eye and brain.

Cradle Cap

Last but not least, there’s cradle cap. If you’ve noticed your newborns scalp is peeling and crusty, don’t sweat. This build-up of sebum makes the cells stick together causing them to shed abnormally. Just apply some mineral oil or Vaseline. It’ll clear up on its own before you know it.

If you have concerns about your newborn’s skin, schedule an appointment at The Derm Group online or by calling 973.571.2121.