Your newborn’s skin looks weird. Should you be concerned?

You probably expect your newborn to have super soft, glowing skin like they show on TV. But believe us, what you see on TV is not what a newborn baby really looks like. It’ll be a few days or months before your baby looks anything like the ultra-cute babies on TV. But for now, the most noticeable thing about your baby, apart from how tiny he is, will be his skin. Why? Read below to know!

The Colour

Right after birth, your baby might have a reddish purple skin. It is completely natural, and within a day, as circulation improves, it might turn more pinkish. The baby’s extremities might be bluish, but there is nothing to worry about. It happens because of immature blood circulation and this sorts itself out on its own. However, if you see persistent bluishness on the baby’s feet and around the lips, it might mean he is not getting enough oxygen. See a doctor if the bluish tinge does not go away.

Most babies are also born with a touch of jaundice that turns the skin slightly yellow. At the time of birth, the doctor will decide if your baby needs to be treated for it. More often than not, babies do not require any special treatment and the jaundice goes away, making the skin look normal.

But hold on if you want to know what complexion your baby will have in the future. It will be a while before your baby’s skin takes on its permanent colour.

Vernix and Lanugo

How your baby’s skin will look immediately after birth will depend on how far along you were in your pregnancy at the time of birthing. If your baby was born premature, the skin will be thin and reddish. It will be covered with lanugo, a layer of very fine hair. Some prematurely born babies also have vernix, a greasy white substance that acts as a barrier between the amniotic fluid and your baby’s skin. If you carried your pregnancy to full-term, your baby will have fewer traces of vernix and almost no lanugo.

Common Rashes

A newborn may have an outbreak of rashes. In most cases, these are harmless and go away on their own.

Newborn Acne - Your baby might have an outbreak of acne on his face or on other parts of his body. This isn’t unusual - newborns still carry a number of the mother’s hormones and these, or even the baby’s own hormones may cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil that causes acne. Neonatal acne will go away on its own within a few weeks or months and if your doctor hasn’t mentioned it at the time of check-up, you have no cause for concern.

Milia - Milia looks like whiteheads on your baby’s skin but these are actually tiny bumps filled with sebum and keratin and typically goes away within the first few days after birth.

Prickly heat - Also known as Miliaria, prickly heat can appear in places that are very hot or if you keep your baby too swaddled. Prickly heat or heat rash can appear all over your baby and usually goes away on its own.

Desquamation - Also known as peeling, this is a very common condition. Your baby’s skin goes dry in the days after birth. While in your womb, the baby had vernix to protect it from the amniotic fluid. Vernix may go away after birth and the external environment may cause the outer layer of your baby’s skin to dry out and peel. It will take a couple of weeks for the peeling to stop and you may be recommended to use a moisturising lotion. If there is an underlying skin condition such as ichthyosis, your baby’s doctor will recommend special moisturisers.

Erythyma Toxicum - This is the appearance of tiny red dots (sometimes with a white centre) and it appears all over your baby within the first 5 days of birth. It will go away on its own without any treatment.

Cradle Cap - We have discussed this in detail elsewhere - cradle cap is the appearance of flaky, crusty skin on the baby’s head and goes away on its own. The maximum you need to do is maybe brush your baby’s head gently.


Many babies are born with birthmarks that may or may not go away over time.

Infantile hemangioma is a red, often raised birthmark that happens when a group of blood vessels grow quicker than others. These can continue to grow for several weeks before reducing and going away, but there is time frame as such for their disappearance. These may occur anywhere on the body or face, and in some cases, may require medical intervention to remove.

Nevus Simplex may appear as a reddish patch between eyebrows or on the neck and these typically disappear within the first few weeks.

However, conditions such as Vascular Malformations or Melanocytic Nevi (or moles) are birthmarks that may remain for the baby’s lifetime.

Feature Image Source: The Bump