Understanding Newborn Skin: A Guide to Common Types of Rashes in Babies

In the first month of a baby’s life, skin rashes are common, and typically are benign and require no medical treatment. 

Here are a few rashes parents should be aware of:

Simple Nevi (nevus simplex): This rash is actually a vascular birthmark that becomes more red if the baby gets upset or starts crying. Some people might recognize it from its more common nicknames of “angel kiss” or “stork bite.” If the rash occurs on the forehead, eyelids or face, it’s called an angel kiss. If it appears on the back of the neck, it’s called a stork bite. Most Simple Nevi go away by the age of six months, although some stay on the skin permanently. This rash is not painful and requires no medical treatment. 

Erythema Toxicum: Another completely benign rash, Erythema toxicum shows up on a baby’s skin soon after birth and features small circles with yellow or orange centers. The rash can move all over the baby’s body and typically lasts one to two weeks. 

Pustular Melanosis: This rash begins in-vitro, and appears on the baby’s skin as little brownish-red spots. If the rash is still present after birth, doctors will test the pustules and spots for herpes. It is typically benign and seen more frequently in African-American infants. 

Skin shedding: Babies who are born at term or late-term often have peeling skin. Like a snake, these babies shed their skin post-birth. This usually causes no problems, but sometimes at the wrists or ankles, the skin can peel too deeply and bleed. A little lotion in those two areas will help moisturize the area and prevent the bleeding. 

Neonatal acne: Similar to acne in teens, this rash shows up as small pustules or pimples on the baby’s face. This acne occurs from hormones from the mother, and is more often seen in babies who are breastfeeding. This acne is benign and should be left alone.

Hemangioma: This rash is actually a birthmark, and not really a rash. Often referred to as a “strawberry,” hemangiomas are an abnormal collection of blood vessels and can occur on any part of the baby’s body. Hemangiomas will typically grow until the baby is between six to nine months old, stay that same size for a while, then slowly recede. Most hemangiomas are gone by the time a child is five or six years old. Most hemangiomas do not require treatment, unless they start bleeding or become physically debilitating. 


Rashes like these listed above typically appear at delivery or within the first week of the baby’s life. For any questions or concerns, visit with the child’s pediatrician. Although all of these are fairly typical, always trust your instincts when it comes to parenting and don’t hesitate to ask questions.