Skin problems in babies

Skin problems in babies

Rosy cheeks, velvety skin. We associate that with baby skin. Newborn skin is three to five times thinner than adult skin. In the first few weeks after birth, it is susceptible to external stress and needs special care and adequate protection. For example, the subcutaneous fatty tissue still needs to develop fully, and the sweat glands’ temperature regulation is insufficient. As a result, babies tend to cool down or heat build up. Only after the first months of life does the skin fully function. Skin problems such as cradle cap, baby acne and moles are common. Overall, around two-thirds of all babies suffer from dry skin. In addition, skin problems on the face often appear in the fourth or fifth month, when the first complementary food is fed.

newborn acne

Baby acne, also known as acne neonatorum, affects about one in five babies in the first six weeks after birth. Small boys are four times more likely than girls to have unsightly blemishes, blackheads and pimples. The reason is that babies go through a hormonal change after birth, which can also affect the skin. The skin blemishes do not usually have to be treated. The pimples often disappear after two to four weeks just as quickly as they came. You should cut your baby’s fingernails so the child cannot scratch the itchy acne pimples.



Milia are better known under the term semolina grains or skin semolina. These are cysts filled with horny material that form on the excretory ducts of the skin’s sebaceous glands. Like baby acne, they are caused by the hormonal changes that every baby goes through after birth. Almost every baby has small white granules under the skin. Milia can multiply rapidly within days and are found on the face and the entire body. They do not need to be treated and will leave independently after a few weeks.

sweat drizzle

Sweat rashes, miliaria or heat rashes are small, water-white blisters on the skin, particularly after heavy sweating or a fever. They are caused by overheating the skin around the pores of the glands with heavy sweating and are harmless. Sweat rashes are typically found in areas where you sweat, on your neck, upper body and arms. Cradle cap, also known as infant eczema, has nothing to do with a milk allergy. On the outside, it looks much more like milk that has boiled over on the stovetop.

Typically, the yellow cuticle is found on the scalp. The cradle cap goes away within the first year of life. As long as it only affects the scalp, it is usually harmless. If the cradle cap extends into the face – typically also in the eyebrows – you should ask a paediatrician for advice. It would help if you did not scrape off the scab. You can massage the scalp with oil to loosen the scabs a bit.



The stork bite, nevus flammeus (birthmark), is a birthmark many newborns have as a patch of red skin on the back of the head, sometimes on the forehead or eyelid. The skin mark is due to an expansion of the capillaries (smallest blood vessels). The colour changes with temperature becomes more intense with excitement (screaming) and increased blood flow. While most stork bites – especially those on the face – disappear within the first year of life, the mark on the back of the head sometimes stays for life. They are not to be confused with the blood sponge, a benign vascular proliferation starting from the inner layer of the vessels.


The blood sponge, called hemangioma, is a noticeable skin change. Approximately two to three per cent of all newborns are born with a hemangioma, and in the case of premature babies, it is even one in ten babies. Bruises are most common on the head and neck. Hemangiomas are benign tumours of the blood vessels that are slightly raised and do not usually become cancerous. However, they show different growth tendencies: Some blood sponges slowly get more prominent, while others recede over time. In babies, they are often only very faintly present at birth but then become more prominent during the first year of life.

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