Newborn Rashes: Pa(i)ge the Pediatrician!

By: Dr. Paige Kennedy-Winston


First and foremost, if you’ve landed on this blog post it may be because you are bringing home a new bundle of joy (or multiple bundles!). If so, congratulations from everyone at the Potomac Pediatrics family! We can’t wait to meet them.
Imagine this: you unpack your car from the hospital and unswaddle your baby, only to find a scary looking rash that wasn’t there when you left! Before going on an endless Doctor Google hunt at two in the morning, read the article below to learn about some very common newborn rashes.

Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum:
This might possibly be the scariest name someone can come up with for a very common, benign newborn rash that affects up to 70% of full-term babies. This is also known as the rash that my wife famously thought was Chicken Pox when our son was 2 days old. It is often described as a migrating, red rash with a pimple-like center. You may see old ones disappear and new ones crop up in the first 2-3 weeks of life. The best news: these are not itchy or painful, and you don’t need to do anything to treat them!

ETN – Photo Credit:


Slate Gray Nevus:
Does your newborn baby have a bruise on their lower back? The answer is most likely: no! While it is possible to bruise from a vaginal or traumatic delivery, these bruise mimickers are much more common occurrences in newborns. These birth marks are often located on the lower back, buttocks, or shoulders. Most fade in the first 2-3 years of life, but some people keep these for life!

Slate Gray Nevus [Photo Credit:]

Photo Credit:


Nevus Simplex:
Otherwise known as a “stork bite” or “angel’s kiss,” these adorable birth marks are red/purple patches on the skin, often located on the nape of the neck, eyelids, or forehead. They affect up to 40% of babies and the majority fade within the first 2 years.

Nevus Simplex [Photo Credit:]


Flaky, peeling skin:
Imagine bathing in a warm liquid (the womb) for many months, then getting exposed to dry, Maryland air! This flaking of skin is a normal and healthy process for newborns. You don’t need to put any lotion or creams on – this will go away with time.

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Does my child have a white head already, and do I need to pop it? The answer is most definitely no, to both questions! These common cyst-like bumps are called Milia. They are often described as tiny, white, firm bumps that you can feel with your fingers, and they go away with time.

Milia [Photo Credit: Med.]

The moral of this newborn story is that all of the above rashes are benign and nothing to worry about. Never hesitate to bring up these rashes, or any other rashes, in your newborn visit with your provider. We can’t wait to meet your baby!