Newborn And Baby Skin Types

A baby’s skin is more delicate than you might think. Unlike adult skin, it undergoes a maturation process for several months after birth. While babies may exhibit a variety of skin conditions, there are only 5 main skin types that are common to babies of all ethnicities:
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  • Normal Skin: Soft and supple, the skin doesn't show visible variations in color or texture.
  • What to do: It is important to prevent the skin getting dry and irritated. This may include to avoid exposure to irritants such as fragrance and dyes (especially in the first few months of baby’s life). Also, it would help to apply oil-based products during or after bath, or during a diaper change to help retain moisture.
    • Normal Sensitive Skin: Often itchy, with visible red patches. The sensitivity of baby’s skin evolves as the skin forms and matures.
    What to do: Avoid exposing the skin to chemical irritants such as fabrics, and dyes, or physical stress such as rough fabrics like like those used in wet wipes. As much as possible, try to dress baby in soft clothes, with leave-on irritant-free products that act as protective layer. Very sensitive skin will appreciate skin-to-skin contact, which will be soothing and relaxing.  
    • Dry skin: Appears flaky, with rough patches that can appear anywhere. In some instances, cracks in the skin might develop.
    What to do: it is important to ensure the skin stays moisturized, and  maintain the oil on the skin’s surface to reduce the evaporation of water from the skin. It also helps to minimize wiping with rough fabric; for example, by patting baby’s skin after a bath, or using materials and fabric that are soft on the skin for diaper changes.
    There are also several skin conditions that may develop, irrespective of the skin types. These are typically harmless, and part of the normal skin maturation and development process:


    Milia are tiny, white, hard spots that look like pimples on a newborn's nose. They may also appear on the chin and forehead. Milia form from oil glands and disappear on their own.

    Stork bites or salmon patches

    These are small pink or red patches often found on a baby's eyelids, between the eyes, upper lip, and back of the neck. They're caused by a concentration of immature blood vessels and may be the most visible when the baby is crying. Most of these fade and disappear completely by age 18 months.

    Mongolian spots

    Mongolian spots are blue or purple-colored splotches on the baby's lower back and buttocks. Over 80 percent of African-American, Asian, and Indian babies have Mongolian spots,  but occur in dark-skinned babies of all races. The spots are caused by a concentration of pigmented cells and usually disappear in the first four years of life.

    Erythema toxicum

    Erythema toxicum is a red rash on newborns that's often described as "flea bites”, common on the chest and back, but may be found all over. About half of all babies develop this condition in the first few days of life. Erythema toxicum isn’t dangerous, doesn't require any treatment and disappears by itself in a few days.

    Acne neonatorum (baby acne)

    About one-fifth of newborns develop pimples in the first month. These usually appear on the cheeks and forehead. It's thought that maternal hormones cause these, and disappear within a few months. Don't try to break open as this can lead to infection.

    Strawberry hemangioma

    Red bumpy area that looks like a strawberry. Hemangiomas are formed by a concentration of tiny, immature blood vessels. Most of these occur on the head. They may not appear at birth, but often develop in the first two months. More common in premature babies and in girls, these birthmarks often grow in size for several months, and then gradually begin to fade. Nearly all strawberry hemangiomas completely disappear by age 9.

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