Overview of Newborn Skin

The skin of a newborn usually is smooth and velvety, with a greasy coating for the first week or so. In Caucasians, the skin is a reddish-purple color at birth and changes rapidly to pink. The hands and feet may remain purple a little longer, and this coloring may recur later when the child cries, holds its breath, or becomes chilled.

There are a variety of disorders that can develop in newborn skin during the first few weeks of life. Most of these resolve on their own. Knowing and understanding these disorders is essential if one is to distinguish them from more significant, potentially critical, problems.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015