What Is Erythema Toxicum Neonatum (ETN)?
Erythema toxicum neonatorum (ETN), also known as newborn
rash, is a common skin rash that affects many newborns. It affects anywhere
to 70 percent of newborn babies. The rash generally appears on the face or
midsection of a baby’s body, but it may also appear on their arms or thighs. It’s
characterized by yellow-to-white bumps surrounded by red skin and looks similar
to a cluster of fleabites.
ETN usually occurs within three to 14 days of birth, although
it may appear within a few hours after birth. ETN isn’t a cause for alarm. The
condition goes away without treatment and isn’t dangerous.
Recognizing the Symptoms of ETN
ETN causes a red rash, in which tiny white or yellowish
papules, or bumps, are visible. The papules are noncancerous, or benign. Your
baby may have many papules on their skin or just a few. They’re firm to the
touch, and they may secrete a fluid that resembles pus.
If your baby has ETN, it will probably appear on the
midsection of their body or their face. It can also appear on their upper arms
and legs. ETN symptoms may move around on their body. For example, it may
appear on their face one day and their thighs the next day. It may also go away
from a body part and come back. The condition doesn’t cause your baby to feel
Conditions Similar to ETN
ETN is similar to several other harmless newborn skin
Baby acne, or acne neonatorum, is common. Like adult acne,
it generally appears on your baby’s cheeks and forehead. The small red pimples
are thought to be caused by maternal hormones. They generally go away without
treatment within a couple of months. Don’t attempt to pop or squeeze the pimples.
Doing so may cause an infection.
Milia are pimple-like, hard white cysts that can
form from your baby’s oil glands. They’re common in most infants and typically
appear on a newborn baby’s nose, chin, or forehead. They generally go away
without treatment within a few weeks and don’t leave scars. If skin irritation
from a blanket or clothing occurs along with milia, the condition may resemble
Epstein pearls is
the name given to milia that appear on your baby’s gums or in their mouth.
They’re common and typically disappear within one to two weeks. They may
resemble new teeth if they appear on your baby’s gums.
Adults can also develop milia. A doctor may remove milia
that occur in adults for cosmetic reasons.
What Are the Causes of ETN?
The cause of ETN is currently unknown. Newborns often
experience many harmless and temporary changes in their appearance.
How Is ETN Diagnosed?
Your baby’s doctor can usually diagnose ETN just by
examining your baby during a routine checkup.
How Is ETN Treated?
ETN doesn’t require treatment. No changes in your baby’s
skin care routine are necessary.
Outlook for ETN
Many harmless skin conditions can affect your newborn baby,
including ETN. It’s a common and harmless skin rash, which your baby’s doctor
can diagnose during a simple examination. The condition typically goes away in
two to four months without causing any complications.