baby care

Why does babies’ skin tone change?

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After birth, the infant’s skin may change color. However, there are occasions that require medical intervention.

Why does babies' skin tone change?

Last update : September 12, 2022

During the first days of life, babies’ skin tone changes. In fact, color alterations are usually due to processes that take place in the body itself. Some of them can even be manifestations of health problems which need to be dealt with. The permanent complexion of newborns may not appear until several months after birth.

Why does babies’ skin tone change?

At birth, babies’ skin color changes are related to their health and the environment around them. These are newborn conditions that can become normal unless they persist over time. In fact, certain changes in the complexion of toddlers may indicate a health problem that requires medical attention. Here is an overview of some of the reasons.

Yellow skin, the most common skin color in babies

Yellow discoloration of the whites of the eyes and skin is called jaundice. In general, the yellowish tone starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body, chest, abdomen and legs.

These changes in the pigmentation of the newborn develop because of the breakdown of red blood cells by the body itself, which is a physiological process in the infant. Therefore, the resulting product of this breakdown is bilirubin, which gives rise to the yellow color when metabolized by the liver. Althoughshe usually goes away spontaneously and quicklythere are cases where the liver is unable to metabolize bilirubin fast enough.

Bilirubin gives rise to the yellow tone of the skin in babies. In any case, it usually disappears quickly and spontaneously.

blue hands and feet

The blue tint to the hands and feet of newborn babies is called acrocyanosis. This condition is common after birth and usually occurs during the first hours of life. It develops because blood and oxygen prioritize their distribution to other more important parts of the body, such as the brain, lungs, and kidneys, rather than to the hands and feet.

Over time, the newborn’s body begins to get used to the dynamics of blood circulation, which it will maintain in the future. However, this state can occur temporarily when the baby is coldfor example after a bath.

Pink or reddish skin

Newborn babies are characterized by pink or light colored skin. This staining is caused by visualization of blood capillaries through the fine and delicate skin surface of the baby.

This coloring will not be final ; later, more natural pigment will generate and bring color to the skin. Additionally, newborns may also exhibit vermilion-colored birthmarks, such as angel’s kiss or stork’s bite.

purple lips and nails

According to a publication of the Medical journal of Liège, blue baby syndrome is a condition that occurs in the first months of life or at the time of childbirth. Its most characteristic manifestation is the general purplish coloring of the surface of the skin, called cyanosis. The nail bed, lips and earlobes are the most visible areas of this shade in babies due to the thinner skin there.

Cyanosis is a condition that can occur around the mouth, face, or all over the body. In fact, this is due to the fact that the red blood cells do not supply enough oxygen to the tissues or organs. Here it is necessary to immediately consult your doctor.

If the purplish tint does not go away after a crying spell or the baby has cyanosis of the skin, it may be a sign of a respiratory problem or an immaturity of the circulatory system. Otherwise, heart defects cause cyanosis in babies because serum oxygen values ​​are lower than they should be.

The blue baby syndrome, or cyanosis, can occur at the time of delivery or in the first months of the baby’s life. It could be a breathing problem or an immaturity of the circulatory system

Very pale skin color

The blood circulation system of newborns is underdeveloped: so it is common for changes in the skin tone of babies to occur because of this. Indeed, according to a review published in Experimental Dermatologycapillaries and microvasculature continue to grow and evolve for 4 months.

Even the layers that make up all the strata of the skin’s surface are not fully developed, which does not provide them with enough melanin, the skin’s natural pigment, to provide color.

Furthermore, them newborns have a lower concentration of natural pigment in the skin than adults exposed to the sun.

Baby skin tone and immaturity

The surface tone of babies’ skin changes as they grow and their immature circulatory system changes. You should know that they have very thin skin that is sensitive to extreme temperatures.

After a year, the skin begins its process to acquire sufficient functionality and maturity, that is to say, it becomes thicker and performs its function of natural insulation.

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