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Erythema toxicum on the foot
Erythema toxicum on the foot

Skin characteristics
Skin characteristics

Milia - nose
Milia - nose

Cutis marmorata on the leg
Cutis marmorata on the leg

Miliaria crystallina - close-up
Miliaria crystallina - close-up

Miliaria crystallina - chest and arm
Miliaria crystallina - chest and arm

Miliaria crystallina - chest and arm
Miliaria crystallina - chest and arm


The appearance and texture of a newborn infant's skin goes through many changes.

See also: Changes in newborn at birth

Alternative Names:

Newborn skin characteristics; Infant skin characteristics


A healthy newborn at birth typically has deep red or purple skin and bluish hands and feet. The skin darkens further before the infant takes his or her first breath, indicated by that initial vigorous cry.

By the 2nd or 3rd day, the skin lightens somewhat and may become dry and flaky. The skin still tends to turn red when the infant cries.

Fine, soft hair (lanugo) may cover the scalp, forehead, cheeks, shoulders, and back. This is more common when an infant is born before his or her due date. Milia are tiny, pearly-white, firm, raised bumps on the face. They disappear on their own.

Lips, hands, and feet may turn somewhat bluish or mottled when the baby is cold. Maternal hormones may cause mild acne that usually clears in a few weeks. Erythema toxicum is a common, harmless rash that looks like little pustules on a red base. They tend to appear on the face, trunk, legs, and arms about 1 to 3 days after delivery and disappear by one week.

Congenital nevi are moles (darkly pigmented skin markings) that may be present at birth. They range in size from as small as a pea to large enough to cover an entire arm or leg, or a large portion of the back or trunk.

Portwine stains are vascular (containing blood vessels) growths that are red to purplish in color. They are frequently seen on the face but may occur on any area of the body. Hemangiomas are a collection of capillaries (small blood vessels) that may appear at birth or a few months later.

Review Date: 10/23/2007
Reviewed By: Daniel Rauch, M.D., FAAP., Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100