New babies often seem perfect to their parents, but they sometimes come with a few minor conditions, like white bumps on their legs. Small white bumps on a baby's skin, either on her legs or elsewhere, are a common condition. These bumps are most common on newborns, but they can also crop up on infants a bit older.
White bumps that crop up on a baby’s legs are usually tiny and sometimes come with a few other distinguishing characteristics, Kids Health and Mayo Clinic note. Sometimes a rash, red rings and splotchy skin surround the bumps, which are often filled with a fluid that resembles pus. These bumps are usually the result of a condition called erythema toxicum. Other bumps look similar to acne, and are sometimes red with a raised whitehead, generally indicating a condition known as milia.
Erythema toxicum is a rash that affects at least 50 percent of newborns, Kids Health says. The white bumps are part of a patchy, red rash that frequently crops up on a baby’s legs and arms as well as her chest and face. No one is sure of the exact cause of erythema toxicum, but it is neither harmful nor contagious.
Milia are bumps that usually pop on a baby’s face, mainly his nose, cheeks and chin area, although they can also appear on the legs, Mayo Clinic and Kids Health explain. Like erythema toxicum, milia are also harmless, not contagious and common. This condition crops up in about half of all newborns, although kids of any age can develop them. Milia come about when small flakes of skin are trapped near the skin’s surface.
The treatment for erythema toxicum and milia is the same, Kids Health and Mayo Clinic say. There is none. Both conditions clear up without any treatment, provided you do not pick, scrub or otherwise bother the bumps. Erythema toxicum, which usually appears a day or two after birth, usually disappears in about seven days. Milia often crop up right after birth and go away after a few weeks. The only time a doctor visit is in order for either condition is if other symptoms develop or the bumps don’t go away on their own.
Just as there is no treatment for either condition, there is no way to prevent erythema toxicum and milia, Mayo Clinic and Kids Health say. You can, however, keep your baby’s skin its healthiest with regular care. This includes daily washing of your baby’s face, followed by gently patting it dry. Also steer clear of lotions, creams, oils or any medicated topical treatments on any area of your baby’s skin.