Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks

Newborn Rashes - Topics Covered

If your baby is healthy, skip the "What to Do" section. Go directly to the topic number that relates to your question for advice.

  1. Acne. Small red bumps on the face (onset 2-4 weeks).
  2. Drooling or Spit-Up Rash. Rash around the mouth and on the chin (onset anytime).
  3. Erythema Toxicum. Red blotches with small white "pimple" in the center (onset 2-3 days).
  4. Skin Injury from Birth Process. From forceps, scalp electrode or birth canal (present at birth).
  5. Milia. Tiny white bumps on the nose and cheeks (present at birth).
  6. Mongolian Spots. Bluish-green birthmark, often on buttock (present at birth).
  7. Stork Bites (Pink Birthmarks). On back of neck or bridge of nose (present at birth).
  8. Strawberry Hemangiomas. Raised red birthmarks (onset 2-4 weeks).
  9. Port-wine Stains. Dark red or purple flat birthmarks (present at birth).

Newborn Face Rashes: Most Common Ones

  • Erythema Toxicum 50% (onset day 2 or 3)
  • Milia 40% (present at birth)
  • Baby Acne 30% (onset week 2 to 4)
  • Drooling or Spit-up Rash (common and onset any time)
  • Heat Rash (common and onset any time)

Heat Rash

  • Many newborn rashes that have no clear cause are heat rashes.
  • Heat rashes are a pink blotchy area with tiny bumps.
  • They mainly occur on the face, neck and chest.
  • During hot weather, most temporary newborn rashes are heat rashes.
  • Cause: blocked off sweat glands. The openings are so tiny in newborns, that any irritation can block them. Examples are getting any ointment on the skin, friction from clothing or being overheated. Being held against the mother's skin while nursing causes many face rashes.

Herpes Simplex: Serious Newborn Rash

  • Appearance. Several water blisters or pimples grouped in a cluster. They look like the cold sores (fever blisters) that adults get on their lip. After several days, they crust over.
  • Location. Just one part of the body, usually the scalp or face.
  • Redness. The base can be pink. The pinkness does not extend beyond the cluster of vesicles.
  • Onset. Within the first 2 weeks of life.
  • Importance. Early treatment with anti-viral drugs can prevent serious problems. If you think your newborn's rash looks like herpes, call your child's doctor now.
  • Imitator. Although herpes can be confused with erythema toxicum, they look very different.

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Normal skin rashes and birthmark questions about newborns
Last Reviewed:10/11/2023 1:40:41 AM
Last Revised:12/30/2022 1:40:44 AM

Copyright 2000-2023. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

Mongolian Spot - Buttocks

This photo shows a mongolian spot on the buttocks. This is a type of colored birthmark. These marks are blue-grey and flat. They are usually irregular shaped with wavy borders. Mongolian spots are not cancerous.

Strawberry Hemangioma - Abdomen

This photo shows a Strawberry Hemangioma near the navel. A hemangioma is a cluster of blood vessels that cause non-cancerous growths.

Stork Bite of Neck and Posterior Scalp

This shows a storkbite which is a birthmark often found in babies. These birthmarks usually go away on their own.

Some brief notes about storkbites:

  • Flat pink birthmark
  • Present in 50% of newborns
  • Also called salmon patches
  • Most fade by 3 years, but 25% are still present into adulthood
Erythema Toxicum

More than 50% of babies get this rash around their second or third day of life.

The rash is composed of ½ inch (1.25 cm) to 1 inch (2.5 cm) red blotches with a small white or yellow lump in the center. The number of red blotches can be many and can occur anywhere on the body, except the palms of hands and soles of feet. They can look terrible.

The cause of erythema toxicum is unknown. However, it is harmless the rash goes away by 2 weeks of age.

Baby Acne

This shows baby acne on the cheeks and side of the face. There are red and white raised bumps.

Your Child's Health Matters