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Rash on Newborn's Face & Chest
Q: My son is 25 days old and has some sort of rash on his face and chest. The rash looks like acne with white matter in it, but after two days it has become very reddish in color. My pediatrician said it is common and made light of it, but I am still concerned. Please let me know if I should visit a dermatologist, or if it will go away on its own.
Jyothi Woodbridge
A: Jyothi, it's very common for newborns to have rashes on their faces in the first few months of life. Several different kinds of pimply rashes can come out in the baby's first month:

  • Newborn or neonatal acne: This causes red splotches and whiteheads on the baby's cheeks, forehead and chin. It is thought to be caused by the baby's skin and oil glands reacting to the hormones that pass to the baby from the mother during pregnancy or through breastfeeding
  • Erythema toxicum: This causes yellowish or whitish spots surrounded by red rings, usually on the face, neck and abdomen.
  • Milia: These are tiny whiteheads that usually show up on the baby's nose. They are thought to be caused by plugged pores.
  • Prickly heat: This is a reddish, bumpy rash that tends to arise in the baby's skin folds in the neck, behind the ears, and in the diaper area. It is thought to be caused by the skin's reaction to heat, moisture and chafing.
As your baby's doctor said, these newborn skin rashes usually clear up on their own within a couple of weeks, though sometimes they may last several months. They usually resolve without causing any scarring or future problems. To care for your baby's rash, it's best to wash her skin once a day with warm water and mild soap, and gently pat it dry. Don't rub your baby's skin, try to pop the pimples, or put on baby oil, since these can make the rash worse. If your baby's rash does not get better within a couple of months, the doctor can prescribe a medicated lotion that may help.