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Skin findings in newborns

Newborn skin characteristics; Infant skin characteristics; Neonatal care - skin

A newborn infant's skin goes through many changes both in appearance and texture.

Images

Erythema toxicum on the foot
Skin characteristics
Milia - nose
Cutis marmorata on the leg
Miliaria crystallina - close-up
Miliaria crystallina - chest and arm
Miliaria crystallina - chest and arm

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Information

The skin of a healthy newborn at birth has:

Newborn skin will vary, depending on the length of the pregnancy. Premature infants have thin, transparent skin. The skin of a full-term infant is thicker.

By the baby's second or third day, the skin lightens somewhat and may become dry and flaky. The skin still often turns red when the infant cries. The lips, hands, and feet may turn bluish or spotted (mottled) when the baby is cold.

Other changes may include:

Colored birthmarks or skin markings may include:

Red birthmarks may include:

References

Balest AL, Riley MM, O'Donnell B, Zarit JS . Neonatology. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, Garrison J, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 2.

Bender NR, Chiu YE. Dermatological evaluation of the patient. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 664.

Narendran V. The skin of the neonate. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 94.

Walker VP. Newborn evaluation. In: Gleason CA, Juul SE, eds. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 25.

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Review Date: 12/10/2021  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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