Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum

September 14, 2005
Alexander K. C. Leung, MD

At 3 days of age, this infant was noted to have an erythematous, maculopapular rash on the face, chest, abdomen, and back that included some pustule-like lesions.

At 3 days of age, this infant was noted to have an erythematous, maculopapular rash on the face, chest, abdomen, and back that included some pustule-like lesions. A diagnosis of erythema toxicum neonatorum was made. This is mainly a clinical diagnosis and, in the majority of cases, a spot diagnosis-provided that one is familiar with the condition.

There are two forms of erythema toxicum neonatorum: a simple type, characterized by erythema and papules, and a pustular type. The latter accounts for about 10% of cases. Stained smears from the lesions show a predominance of eosinophils. Erythema toxicum neonatorum is a benign condition that usually disappears by the 10th day of life.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  • Leung AKC, Wheeler BH, Robson WL, Kossakowska AE. Erythema toxicum present at birth. Pediatr Dermatol. 1992;9:162-163.

  • Schwartz RA, Janniger CK. Erythema toxicum neonatorum. Cutis. 1996;58:153-155.