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Newborn Rash on Face

Updated on November 9, 2013

The skin of newborn babies is very sensitive. Additionally, their immune system is still underdeveloped and very vulnerable to varied environmental irritants and skin infections.

Newborn rash on face may appear due to some types of maternal hormones that transfer to the baby during the last stages of pregnancy. Such hormones have a tendency to increase the secretion of oil from the oil glands in the skin, thereby posing increased risk to formation of acne in newborns. The acne typically fades away on its own within a few months.

Allergic reactions to certain medications and food items can also result in newborn rash on face. Babies that are breastfed by their mother are susceptible to developing rashes caused as an allergic reaction to citrus fruits, nuts, or other foods, and/or certain medications consumed by the mother.

Types and Causes of Newborn Rash on Face

Some of the common types and causes of newborn rash on face are listed below:

  • Infantile Eczema:Also referred to as atopic dermatitis, infantile eczema is characterized by scaly, red, and dry skin rashes. This form of newborn rash on face can have an onset after contact with harsh chemicals occurring in detergents, coarse clothing, and other types of skin allergens. The chest, head, arms, and legs may also develop infantile eczema. Use of mild moisturizers, chemical-free soaps, and mild detergents for laundry can help decrease the risk to this skin condition.
  • Impetigo: It is a very contagious skin disorder that features elevated reddish blisters on a newborn’s face, hands, and nose. Due to the contagious nature of the disease, parents need to seek immediate medical attention for correct diagnosis and antibiotic treatment.
  • Baby Acne: This type of newborn rash on face results in the formation of a pimple-like, pinkish bump on the baby’s face. The acne rash may erupt on the cheeks or nose two or three days after delivery; or occasionally, 2 to 4 weeks post birth.It is typically caused due to exposure of the developing fetus to some maternal hormones. It disappears on its own within a few weeks.
  • Milia: Also known as heat rash, milia is a skin condition that arises due to blockage of sweat glands. It can be identified by the occurrence of elevated tiny whitish boils on the face of the baby. Such a rash is typically not irritable. Milia usually clears on its own without treatment after a few days.
  • Allergic Reactions: Newborn rash on face can also be caused due to allergic reactions to breast milk, or other food items. Breastfeeding mothers should take care to avoid nuts or citrus fruits if they notice such reactions in their baby.
  • Dribble Rash: It is caused because of elevated levels of dribble saliva. The rash typically forms in the area surrounding the mouth as well as on the chin. In rare cases, the rash may appear on the baby’s neck. Wiping off the saliva on a regular basis can help prevent the development of dribble rash.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: It is a skin condition that occurs in areas with some hair growth. It is typically caused as an allergic reaction to certain food items such as baby formula. This newborn rash on face can spread to other parts of the body like the neck and shoulders. The skin anomaly includes formation of reddish bumps along with scaly yellowish crusts on the eyelashes, scalp, and eyebrows.
  • Dry Skin:In some cases, newborn facial rash may occur due to excess dryness of the skin. Babies that are born late experience elevated dryness of the upper skin layers and are commonly affected by this type of rash.
  • Other causes: Insect bites, and mild disorders like Erythema toxicum, Salmon patches, and Mongolian spots can also increase the risk to development of rashes in babies.

Treatment of Newborn Rash on Face

Treatment of newborn rash on face is aimed at alleviating the skin irritation and itchiness.

  • Application of hypoallergenic lavender balm using a cotton swab can help ease itchiness and hydrate the skin.
  • Hydrocortisone cream may be used to treat serious allergic rashes. Doctors may sometimes prescribe antihistamines for managing allergies.
  • Extreme cases of newborn rash on face may require steroid therapy
  • Parents need to avoid the application of lotions, oils, or acne treatment creams on infantile acne. Doing so will only block the pores in the skin and worsen the skin condition.

The below listed guidelines may be followed to ensure that the baby’s skin is kept clean and healthy:

  • Use a hypoallergenic or organic wash along with warm water to wash the baby’s skin, once a day. Avoid rubbing the rashes when washing.
  • Use cotton bedding, clothing, and blankets for the baby
  • Dampness caused by sweating, saliva, and milk can delay the recovery process. Hence keep the newborn’s face dry as much as possible.
  • Use of a home humidifier can help in keeping the baby’s skin adequately hydrated


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