Intended for healthcare professionals

Common rashes in the newborn

Rashes are common in the neonatal period, defined as the first four weeks of life.

Although the epidermis and dermis are histologically mature by week 34 of gestation, neonatal skin is structurally and functionally immature in terms of barrier properties, immune defences and adnexal structures. Premature babies (defined as <37 weeks gestation) have a thinner, weaker skin supported by smaller collagen fibrils with less developed capillary networks and adnexal structures. In addition, the ratio of body surface area to volume is higher. For all these reasons, newborn skin, particularly in premature babies, is susceptible to water loss, infection and absorption of toxins, factors which must be considered when treating neonatal rashes.1

The aim of this article is to enable general practitioners and other health professionals to confidently diagnose and manage common neonatal rashes.

Normal neonatal skin changes

Dermatology in practice 2020; 26(3): 9–12
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