What causes a baby's hands, feet and face to turn purple and red?


Quick Answer

Healthy newborns have deep red and purple skin with bluish hands and feet at birth, according to MedlinePlus. The skin lightens over the next few days, but a baby's face may still turn red when he cries. A baby's lips, feet and hands may turn blue in the cold.

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Full Answer

While WebMD states that babies often turn blue temporarily, parents should still be cautious. Blue skin often indicates that either the lungs are not getting enough oxygen or the baby's blood is moving slowly. If the bluish color is restricted to hands and feet but the rest of the body is pink, it is most likely a temporary problem that fades with age. However, if the lips are blue while the entire body is bluish, the baby may be suffering from low blood oxygen and should be taken to the hospital.

The skin of newborns and infants changes over time, according to MedlinePlus. Some are born with reddish-purple birthmarks on their faces or bodies that are known as port-wine stains, while others have small red patches called "stork bites" that fade with age. Dark-skinned babies sometimes have Mongolian spots, which are blue-gray or brown spots that fade over time. Some newborns develop a red rash on their faces, bodies and limbs a few days after delivery.

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