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What Are the Treatments for Skin Discoloration in Infants?

What Are the Treatments for Skin Discoloration in Infants? What Are the Treatments for Skin Discoloration in Infants? What Are the Treatments for Skin Discoloration in Infants?

A newborn's skin tone can appear mottled and uneven directly after birth due to the physical trauma of entering the world. Discoloration may continue into infancy for a variety of reasons: high levels of a waste product called bilirubin can give an infant's skin a yellow hue; early fluctuation of the circulatory system can cause a young baby's skin to look blue; or your child may have birthmarks that appear red or bluish in color. Treatments for skin discoloration in infants depends on the cause; some conditions require no treatment at all other than observation to be sure that the condition does not worsen.


Acrocyanosis is a term that described the tinge of blue you might find on your infant's hands, feet and lips., a service associated with the Nemours Foundation, explains that acrocyanosis can occur when your baby's circulation is unstable---not in a harmful way, but as a normal reaction to birth. You may notice the blue coloring when your infant sleeps in a cool room. Keeping your baby warm using lightweight layers of clothing and blankets is the only treatment needed for most cases of acrocyanosis, according to the "Merck Manual." To avoid risk of suffocation, don't overbundle the baby. The blue color looks scary, but it's fairly common.


A hemangioma is a red birthmark that is actually a benign tumor that forms from cells that build up inside your blood vessels. Children's Hospital in Boston explains that hemangioma is a very common occurrence in infants. In many children, hemangioma resolves itself over time without any treatment other than watching to be sure the birthmark does not impede bodily function, such as vision or hearing. Corticosteroid injections to shrink the tumor or surgical excision can be used to treat this form of skin discoloration in the event that the tumor grows very large or begins to compromise the child's functioning.


Jaundice is another skin condition common in newborns and infants. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, occurs when your baby's levels of bilirubin are too high. Bilirubin is a pigment that is created when the red blood cells die, and is normally processed by the liver and excreted through bowel movements. The NIH explains that a newborn's liver may not always be able to process the bilirubin as quickly as it is being produced, in which case the substance builds up and turns the infant's skin yellow. Very high levels of bilirubin can cause brain damage. Keeping your baby hydrated by offering the breast or a bottle as often as possible helps keep jaundice at bay in many cases, because feedings will increase the number of bowel movements, which helps remove some of the pigment. Putting a jaundiced infant under special lighting breaks down the pigment so it can eliminated from the body. Your physician can advise on the proper response.

Mongolian Blue Spots

Mongolian blue spots are a harmless type of skin discoloration that is more common in infants who are of Asian or African descent, or others who have a darker skin tone. The spots look like bruises, are a bluish-gray color and appear most often on the back and buttocks, according to the NIH. Though this condition may be distressing to the parent, Mongolian blue spots do not require treatment and fade as the child grows older.


Infants can develop rashes just as older children and adults do. Initial treatment of a rash can include washing the area with only warm water, to avoid further irritation from cleansers, and drying the area thoroughly. If the discoloration does not clear on its own, take your baby to his pediatrician to determine the cause of the rash. Antibiotic or anti-fungal creams may be required to calm some types of skin rashes in infants.

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