Mottled Skin in Infants and Babies: Causes and Treatment

By | June 21, 2015

There is definitely nothing to be worried about if you discovered that your new born infant has mottled skin. Mottled skin occurs when uneven patches develop on the skin.

There are so many reasons why infants and children develop mottled skin. Mottled skin often disappears naturally without any sort of treatment.

Otherwise known as dyschromia, skin mottling occurs when the blood vessel beneath the skin changes. This leads to the discoloration of the skin, as the skin turns brown, red or purple. The patches formed on the skin are basically stagnated blood.

Causes of Mottled Skin in Infants

Skin mottling which is also known as Cutis Marmorata is observed in newborn babies;

  • During delivery, the baby’s skin becomes mottled due to broken blood vessels which lie under on the upper layer of the skin.
  • It causes the baby’s skin to have a marbled look
  • Skin mottling is also observed when the baby stools
  • Mottled skin develops when a baby is kept in an intensely cold environment. This is because the capillaries on the upper surface of the skin get dilated as a result of the intense cold.
  • Mottled skin is basically circular patches on the skin that measure about 2 to 3 cm in radius, enclosed by bluish skin color. This creates an effect that looks just like a marble finish.

Causes of Skin Mottling in Babies

As babies grow, their skin will start to change color. The skin discoloration will take the form of pinkish, purplish or bluish discoloration.

  • Skin discoloration is as a result of their circulatory system not being fully developed
  • Skin mottling results from a circulatory system that is yet to mature
  • This condition also occurs because the nerve supplying blood to the upper layer of the skin is yet to mature, thus causing blood vessels in other parts of the skin to contrast and dilate in an uneven manner.

Causes of mottled skin in children

When babies have grown into children, then mottled skin shouldn’t be a source of concern anymore because their circulatory system has become fully developed.

  • As they grow, the child’s hand and feet becomes bluish.
  • In other instances, the child develops pinkish color on one side and bluish color on another side
  • Mottling becomes noticed when the child cries
  • Cold environment also causes mottling to develop on the skin of children
  • As the child’s circulatory system develops, the mottling on the skin vanishes
  • If the mottling persists for a long period of time, then medical attention should be sought.

Treatment for mottled skin

Underdeveloped circulatory system is the major cause of mottled skin in infants and toddlers.

  • There is no treatment for mottled skin at this time
  • The best thing parents have to do is to address the mottled skin the moment it appears
  • Children should be shielded from cold by covering them with blankets so as to keep them warm. If possible, the room should be heated up to dispel the cold
  • If a child develops a flushed look, examine his body temperature around the neck and face
  • Care must be taken to ensure the child’s self-esteem isn’t harmed. This means the child shouldn’t be reminded of his patched skin at all times
  • As the child grows into an adolescent, the mottled skin vanishes away.
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