Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Common Birthmarks and Minor Skin Markings in Newborns


Arcangela Lattari Balest

, MD, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Jan 2024
Topic Resources

There are several skin markings that are considered normal in newborns.

Pink marks that are caused by dilated capillaries under the skin may occur on the forehead just above the nose, in the upper eyelids, or at the back of the neck (where they are called stork bites). This type of birthmark fades as the infant grows but sometimes remains as a faint mark that becomes brighter when the infant becomes excited or upset.

Milia are tiny, pearly white cysts that are common and normally found over the nose and cheeks. They are caused by plugged sweat gland ducts. Milia become smaller or disappear over a period of weeks.

White or yellowish cysts are sometimes found on the gums or in the center of the roof of the mouth (called Epstein pearls). They do not require treatment. These cysts go away in 1 to 2 weeks.

Flat blue or gray spots (previously called Mongolian spots) can occur over the lower back or buttocks. They can be confused with bruises. They occur most commonly in newborns with Africa, Latin American, or Asian ancestry. They tend to appear less noticeable with age and do not require treatment.

Infantile hemangiomas Hemangiomas of infancy (also called strawberry or infantile hemangiomas) Hemangiomas are abnormal overgrowths of blood vessels that can appear as red or purple lumps in the skin and on other parts of the body. (See also Overview of Skin Growths and Overview of Growths... read more Hemangiomas of infancy (also called strawberry or infantile hemangiomas) (strawberry hemangiomas) are common birthmarks. They cause the skin to turn bright red or bluish and can occur anywhere on the skin, typically the head and neck. Infantile hemangiomas develop soon after birth and tend to grow rapidly during the first year of life. After 12 to 18 months, hemangiomas shrink and become fainter, so that by the time the child reaches school age, most are no longer visible. Most hemangiomas do not need treatment, but depending on their size and location, they are sometimes treated with laser therapy or a medication such as propranolol.

Port-wine stains Port-Wine Stains Port-wine stains are flat pink, red, or purplish discolorations present at birth due to malformed blood vessels. (See also Overview of Skin Growths and Overview of Growths and Malformations... read more Port-Wine Stains are flat pink, red, or purplish birthmarks. They are caused by malformed blood vessels. Port-wine stains may be small or may cover large areas of the body. Port-wine stains themselves are harmless, but some may occur in a serious neurocutaneous disorder called Sturge-Weber syndrome Sturge-Weber Syndrome Sturge-Weber syndrome involves an abnormal growth of small blood vessels. It is characterized by a port-wine birthmark on the face, overgrowth of blood vessels (angioma) in the tissues that... read more Sturge-Weber Syndrome . The skin discolorations are permanent. Laser therapy can be used to treat some port-wine stains.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
HEMANGEOL, Inderal, Inderal LA, Inderal XL, InnoPran XL
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!