Types of Skin Conditions in Newborns

The following skin conditions are some of the normal physiological characteristics in newborns.

Milia

Milia is a condition that produces tiny white bumps on the face under the surface of the skin. The bumps are caused by the retention of old skin cells and oily material within hair follicles. They occur in up to half of all infants and typically resolve spontaneously within the first month of life.

Epstein's Pearls

Epstein's Pearls are the oral equivalent of milia. They appear as small white or yellowish papules (bumps) along the gums or hard palate. They can be found in more than two-thirds of infants. Epstein's Pearls typically disappear spontaneously within a month.

Sebaceous Gland Hyperplasia

These shiny, yellow bumps on the face are caused by enlarged sebaceous (oil) glands. They are a natural response to the maternal hormones of pregnancy and usually resolve on their own within a few weeks.

Acne Neonatorum

Because they have not yet involuted to their normal childhood size, the sebaceous (oil) glands of a newborn child are sensitive to the effects of hormones acquired from the mother during pregnancy. This sensitivity can lead to a variety of transient skin conditions in the infant during the first weeks of life. Although its exact cause is not completely understood, infant acne is one such condition. It typically peaks at about age 2 months and rarely requires treatment.

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

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015