By Gary M. White, MD

Erythema toxicum neonatorum

Erythema toxicum neonatorum is a common condition occurring in approximately half of all full-term infants. The name is a misnomer as the child is not toxic. It usually appears within the first 3 days of life and usually resolves within 3-7 days. Up to 50% of newborns are affected. It is uncommon in preterm infants.


The classic appearance is 1-2 mm pale yellow papules surrounded by an erythematous flare. There also may be splotchy erythema or small pustules without a rash. Involvement of the palms and soles is uncommon. The child seems unaffected. Blood eosinophilia is typical. A Wright stain of a pustule demonstrates a predominance of neutrophils with scattered eosinophils.


Spontaneous resolution is expected.


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