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Newborn Rashes and Whiteheads

Feb 18, 2022 | 1 minute Read

Chances are good that your baby has had a few reddened bumps since birth. The good news is they won’t last long! Newborns are prone to rashes and other minor skin conditions such as dryness and peeling after birth as their skin is adjusting to the dry air, clothes, and their new environment.

What is newborn rash?

Newborn rash is also called erythema toxicum. It looks like red blotchy areas of rash with white pimples or bumps inside. This rash is usually seen on the baby’s chest, arms, legs, back, and sometimes the face.

Over 50% of newborns get this rash, typically arriving soon after birth and staying a week or two. This rash can be either mild or severe and will resolve on its own. The causes of this rash are unknown, but we do know it is neither toxic nor infectious.

How to treat newborn rash

Newborn rash will go away on its own, so no specific treatment is needed. Healthy skin care habits, however, are always good for your baby. A few tips:
  • Bathe the baby around 3 times a week. Use a gentle cleanser made for babies, a soft washcloth, and warm water.
  • Do not scrub the baby’s skin or rub the rash or pimples. This may further irritate the skin.
  • Lotions, special soaps, or other treatments are not recommended as they do not help and might cause further irritation.
  • Some experts have noted that this rash often occurs where clothing touches and may rub on the skin. Try using mild laundry products that are soap- and fragrance-free on your baby's clothes, sheets, and other items that their skin may come in contact with.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.