If you buy something through a link on this site, I may receive a small commission. (Disclosure policy).
  • Post last modified:September 19, 2021

How does a baby’s skin color evolve and what determines the final skin color? And how do we handle peoples’ views of our children’s looks?

Let’s discuss these important questions here.

baby skin color development

This post started as a question from a worried mom about why her baby’s skin color is getting darker and what to do about it.

Worrying about the skin color of your child can seem wrong in the 21st century, but it is a very real issue for parents in some cultures. Passing judgment will not help. Talking about it might. :-)

I’ve answered the mom here and a lot of people have commented. Feel free to join in!

Let’s empower each other to focus on the inner and outer beauty of our children no matter the color of their skin!

Mom’s Question:
My baby is 4 months old. At birth, she had a fair color but within 2 months my baby’s complexion is getting darker. When does baby skin color stop chaning? Why has my baby’s skin color changed so much and is there anything I can do to make her fair again?

(Giridih, Jharkhand, India)

How Babys Skin Color Develops and Changes

What a beautiful baby girl you have! Congratulations!

Regarding her skin color, it is completely normal that your baby’s complexion is becoming darker with age. Most babies are relatively fair when newborn, but depending on race and genes, the baby’s skin then changes during the first year to its real color. So there is no need to worry at all!

I would guess since you are from India, that you are affected by the idea that fair is in some way better than dark. The best you can do is try to ignore these old traditions as your baby’s skin color says absolutely nothing about the qualities of your daughter. Our children need us to love them just the way they are; not wishing for them to be something else.

Also, there isn’t much you can do about it. I know there are old recommendations to massage babies with milk powder, for example, to make the skin fair, but that doesn’t help at all; these recommendations are all pure myths.

Keeping your daughter out of the direct sunlight is good of course, not the least for protecting her from being burnt.

The way a baby’s skin color develops over time is as follows:

Newborn Baby Skin Color

baby complexion getting darkerAt birth, most babies, regardless of race, are to some extent purple-reddish.

After a day or two, the purple becomes pinker, due to blood vessels being visible through the newborn baby’s very thin skin.

Babies of color usually have darker skin than Caucasian babies, but still a few shades lighter than their “true” color, which will show later on.

At this time, some babies get a yellowish skin color due to physiological jaundice; common in newborn babies.

The newborn baby’s feet might be purple for a while, due to blood circulation not yet mature.

African American babies, as well as Native American, Asian, Hispanic, and African descent babies often have at least one bluish birth mark called a Mongolian spot. (The medical name for it is dermal melanocytosis.) The spots are completely harmless and disappear at some point during the child’s first four years.

When Does Baby Skin Color Stop Changing?

Over the coming six months or more, the baby’s true skin color will develop, which is entirely controlled by genes, and not something we can control at all.

Recent research on baby skin color (referenced below) indicates that the color can continue to develop until the baby is over 1 year old.

What Determines a Baby’s Skin Color?

Research published in 2017 concluded that more genes than previously thought seem to be involved in determining the skin color of a person. It is complex and probably a reason why some parents get surprised by their baby’s skin color. It is not as simple as saying that the baby’s skin color will be some average of the parents’ color or that one color dominates over the other, as in eye color.

This is one of the charming parts of having children! They are their own unique person, for us as parents to love and support just the way they are!

baby skin color in twins
Source: Instagram: @littlestronggirls

A seen in the picture above, even twins can have different skin colors! It is very uncommon, but it does happen. It is, of course, more common that siblings have different pigmentation even if they have the same biological parents.

There are several substances that determine a person’s skin color, but melanin is the most important one. However, the final skin color of a child is determined by a complex set of genes, and something, honestly to just accept with curiosity.

What NOT to do

Since your baby’s skin color is determined by genes, there really is no way to change it. If you hear recommendations on using e.g. fairness creams, talcum powder, or different types of homemade creams, you can be sure that i) they won’t work, and ii) they may hurt your baby’s skin and lead to e.g. rashes.

What to Do

As I said at the beginning of this post, the best you can do is to embrace your baby’s appearance just the way she is, and stand on her side to fight the skin color prejudice that still, sadly, exists all over the world.

To empower yourself to fight old values regarding skin color, I recommend the book Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color. It does not specifically deal with skin color values in India but on a broader level.

Also watch this video that explains how a baby’s skin color changes from newborn complexion to its final skin color in a clear way, as well as what effect different efforts to change the skin color, will have.

Baby Skin Colour | Why does it Change ?

Warm wishes,


Update: This question has received a lot of comments, join in below! :-)


Leave a Reply

This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. Upset mom

    What is wrong with you all? Skin color is not important in life. The fact that you are lucky enough to be able to have healthy children of any color is amazing. Surely you know if you are light and your partner is dark that or vice versa there is a 50/50 chance your child will be dark. Take your little miracles, give them a big hug and get over yourselves. You are the ones with the problem, not the baby as they have no preconceived ideas of what beauty is until society fills their head with rubbish.

  2. Seriously

    There is nothing wrong with your kids whether they have fair or dark completion thank God at least you are able to have kids, there are many people who want to be able to have kids but can’t, so be thankful and stop hating yourselves. Beauty is inside not outside. My husband looks like a model and I am not “great looking” and people always ask how come he choose you? My husband says I care about your brain, not your looks… so try to spend the time in making your kids inside beautiful not their outside. Break the Taboos!! FOR GOD’S SAKE WAKE UP and STOP SELF HATRED!

  3. Mayuri

    My baby boy 3 months was too fair when born.bv gradually his only face color is getting dark. I’m fair but my hubby is dark… What can I do to stop it?

  4. Leela

    hi, I’m Leela. when my baby born she is fair but her ears were dark. whoever c her told she will become dark. now she is 6mnths old her face is fair but her body is dark why is it?

  5. Samantha Lee Wilson

    Good day, I contains,my baby getting darker it’s,just I need to know if it’s,normal for him to have his thighs,change darlings,of his,legs and tummy in patches… his dad is dark I just have never experienced this before that is,why I ask. He is not 4 months old.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Samantha,
      I am not really sure I understand what you mean – does your baby have isolated patches that are darker? He is not dry or has eczema in these areas? It can certainly happen that skin color is a bit different between for example face and legs, or that the feet are bluish when newborn. But patches sounds different. Have you shown it to a doctor or health nurse?

      Sorry for not really being able to help! Let me know what you find out!


      1. A mom

        Hello my 2 years 4 months baby girl has had eczema since birth,took her to GP’s and they said it was atopic dermatitis,problem it has started to cause skin discolaration ,she is naturally Light but has huge patches and her skin has dark patches on her arms,legs and butt yet the rest of her body is light light and she is forever scratching her body,even when I don’t see eczema despite the countless medicationa i got from doctors,my question ,can this be reversed and she have no patches of these dark skin,will she outgrow it naturally or should I start taking her to a specialist.

        1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

          It isn’t strange that her skin gets a darker color where she has some sort of eczema. I definitely think you should take her to a specialist to sort out the reasons for eczema and itchy skin. Has she been tested for any food allergies, for example? Do you remember when this all started? Cow’s milk allergy, for example, is a common reason for eczema in babies, toddlers, and young children.

          I hope your daughter get the help she needs. Don’t give up! And plese let us know your progress.

  6. Nisha

    Hello doctor, I am from Punjab and my name is Nisha. My baby is just 10mnth old. When she was born she is so fair and beautiful but now she is so dark in color. My color is fair but my husband is also dark in color. So doctor pls tell me some homemade tips then I make my baby color again fair and beautiful.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife


      I know very well how fair skin is perceived much more beautiful than dark in India. But since skin color is inherited, there really is nothing to do about it!

      Instead of mourning your daughter’s color, make up your mind to be her fighter – she is just as beautiful as any fair child!

      This is the 21st century and no child anywhere should be judged by skin color, in my opinion. So stand up for her and yourself and accept and love her just the way she is, even if it is against the common views where you live.

      Warm regards,

      1. Chanel

        I am a “VERY PALE” white woman… who had a biracial child with a “VERY DARK” black man.

        My child came out “VERY PALE” white… as in… light pink… with dark blue eyes… and literally… The joy a mother feels for her child was stripped away and replaced with total fear and confusion when my baby wasn’t even 10 hours old… all because her father wanted a paternity test… he literally left, and sent me a text message as soon as he got in the car saying that if she didn’t change soon he’d need a paternity test because he didn’t think she looked like him. In his defense, she looked purely Caucasian. Anyways, it hurt my feelings so badly that she didn’t resemble her father in skin tone… that I literally spent a full week crying because this blessing that I received… this healthy and amazingly beautiful baby girl I had… WASNT DARK ENOUGH… I never cared about her pigment… I could see him in all of her features… this gorgeous little girl looked just like him.. I spent the first 10 hours of her life thinking how crazy it was that I had a baby with the man I loved so much… but her skin tone was so drastically different from HIS and so close to MINE that he automatically assumed I must have been with someone else… I literally damn near lost my mind and thought maybe I was taken by aliens and experimented on or something (bad joke but I really said this while bawling my eyes out in confusion and disbelief)…

        Because of this reason… as a first time mother… I had a lot of questions about biracial children, pigmentation, genetics and the way they work… I could personally care less about her appearance… I just didn’t know it was possible to have white children. I, (being undereducated in what it truly meant to be biracial) assumed all mixed children were a perfect blend of each parent… and expected her to be darker than me and lighter than him… I thought my family was going to fall apart due to my daughters skin tone…

        I literally spent weeks praying for her melanin to come in like RIGHT NOW because I was being judged so ruthlessly like my child wasn’t his… and I just wanted her to be undeniably his to everyone…

        The fact that I let my guy and his family throw me into postpartum depression, in my most vulnerable moment as a mother.. dealing with hormones I didn’t have control over… all because the color of my child’s skin tone… it really made me feel like the worst mother in the world.. literally I didn’t know how to forgive myself for crying over her LACK of melanin early on…

        It really bothers me that so many women are over here complaining about their child’s complexion with absolutely no valid reasoning… other than being prejudice against light and dark skin tones… a fair skinned child is just as beautiful as a dark skinned child. Children with melanin are BEAUTIFUL and you guys should be absolutely ashamed of yourself… How selfish are some of you? Trying to stop them from gaining their melanin instead of embracing their natural beauty…

        I really hope some of you women take into consideration how it makes a child, YOUR CHILD feel… to be judged for such an ignorant reason… and how offensive and stressful it is on the other parent or people who love and accept them genuinely… I was hurt, because I felt like my child wasn’t being accepted and it ruined or tarnished some of my most valuable memories.

        This kind of stuff really bothers me… how sad guys…

  7. Brittany

    Paula, thank you for the kind and compassionate way you answer worried mothers. You are a blessing and a great role model for providing supportive knowledgable answers. Thank you!

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Thanks a lot, Brittany, for your kind words! :-)

  8. Momma

    My baby boy is 5 weeks old. When he was born he was white but now he is black. His father is white but my color is not.

  9. Dana

    It’s really sad that dark complexions in a baby can make the parents sad. Every child is created just beautifully, in every shade and color, and should be celebrated and loved just the way they are.

    We shouldn’t burden our children with OUR issues and these old traditions of beauty which are colonialist and completely shallow.
    Children are a blessing and are ALL beautiful! Make sure you love them and celebrate them just the way they ARE, not mourn who you wish they were.

  10. sad mom

    My baby is very dark like charcoal, while I have very light skin. But the dad is charcoal too, I feel like crying.

  11. Niomi

    Hi!! I had a baby girl born 24 weeks 1 pound 5 ounces. She had a lot of complications and is currently in the hospital after 4 months. She had jaundice but that was taken care of early in life. Her body has darkened but her face is still lite. Some days she looks light and some days she looks olive. When is her complexion going to set in and why her complexion still changing?

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Niomi,
      I am sorry to hear that your girl was born so early, but it is fantastic that she survived and is making progress.

      Regarding her complexion; Still being almost premature or at least has just now reached the age when she should have been born, she is probably still very small and skinny. During the months to come, she will put on weight and then probably start to appear more in line with her true skin color.

      But regardless of her color – she is a fantastic fighter and a small miracle. So try not to worry about her appearance at all, instead cherish every moment with your little darling.

      My daughter was almost born in week 25, but with medical help and bed rest for three months she was just a little bit early when she was born. But I did learn some about the risks and problems of born so early.

      Take care of yourself and your little girl. Soon enough she will be a chubby, giggling little baby girl.


  12. Naomi

    My baby is dark when he is born. Will he gain color after a few weeks? I and my husband is fair.

  13. Archana

    Hi! My baby was born with a very fair skin tone. She has just completed her 6th month and now I noticed that her skin is turning a bit dark in colour, except for the face which is still bright. I was worried that she might have some undiagnosed condition. But I’m glad that it’s pretty normal. More than her skin tone, her health is more important to me.

  14. Brain Nerd

    It is because of parents like these, the white race is snobbish and egoistic even in the 21st century. These parents (especially Indians) should get some life and thank almighty atleast 100 times a day for blessing them with a child first and then for a healthy child. Not surprised so many Indians commenting here, they are unusual people with such double standards. They are amazingly thankless and always dissatisfied with life. May God bless them with some sanity.

  15. anaya

    my daughter is 3 month old and have reddish brown hair color…she was fair when born but gradually her skin is getting dark…what could be the reason for that????
    Is it building of melanin causing it??? will it also change the hair color

  16. Liddy Eriksen

    As an Afro Caribbean woman I honestly feel like you’re feeding these women’s foolishness by even continuing to answer so many questions after having already fully explained in your initial responses. These women are ridiculous. If you are BLACK or dark skinned….why on earth would you be sad or shocked if your child gets a dark complexion? So backward. And yes I am judging. Silly.

  17. rajasri k

    Hi, me and my husband are fair but my little one turned really dark. He was born at 35 weeks and really red. Even scalp was also deep red. Third day redness was gone but after few days he turned really dark now he is 13 weeks old but on his face some light spots are there but cheeks are dark, nose under the skin is also dark that means skin above the upper lip. But body hands and legs are really dark. Anyone experienced this problem. What color he would get? Any suggestions?

  18. rajasri k

    Hi, same problem here, me and my husband are fair my son turned very dark whole body looks very dark don’t know the reason. Everyone started asking why he looks so dark. Now he is 3 months old but no change. When did she started getting lighter i mean in which month?

  19. chintha


    me and my husband both fair but my son is body is darker and face is fair now he is 3 and half month. i am worry about it.his ear half lighter.even body some areas lighter should i worry

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife


      It is quite natural that the body color varies a little bit over the body. It just shows more if someone is darker. Unless he seems to have some skin condition, making it dry, raw, with very definded color differences in certain areas or something else, I wouldn’t worry. I hope your son is just fine!

  20. narayanan

    Hi Paula,
    This is anusha. My baby was born pink. At 10th day she became black and slowly she gained her color again in few months. But her legs are very black than her whole body. She is now 20 months. Also her legs are little dry than her whole body. Is there any skin issues or nothing to worry about. I’m not bothered what color is she. I love her a lot. But scared whether it would be a skin problem.

    1. Paula @easybabylife

      Hi Anusha! So sorry for the late reply, I somehow missed your question. If your daughter still has very dry legs, try a lotion or organic oil. If the skin is dry it can certainly appear to have a slightly different color than the rest of her body. If you are very concerned, show it to a doctor! But I have never heard about a worrying skin condition that would just be concentrated to the legs. Good luck!

      1. rajasri k

        Hi Paula, me and my husband are fair but my little boy is 13 weeks old and he turned very dark color. What is the reason. His hands and legs looks very dark. Will he change that color please advise.

  21. Paula @easybabylife

    Hi Deepak,
    It takes a while before a baby’s “true” skin color appears. I wouldn’t worry or do anything if I were you. Even several kinds of birth marks disappear or fade over time. The only reasonable to be concerned would be if you believe that your baby is ill in some way – then talk to a dockor. If it is just a worry of a beauy flaw – let it go! Best, Paula

    1. Foolish

      You fool

      Nobody in India hates their skin tone
      The males all marry their females anyways

      Talk about the amounts of plastic surgery and almost deadly diets that westerners do even for minor issues.

  22. Jag

    Hi doc, my baby is 7 weeks old and when she born her skin was fair but my husband said because I’m breastfeeding her she taking my color. I’m not fair but husband is fair skin .is breast milk can change my baby’s color ?

    1. Deepti

      I can’t believe

    2. Paula Dennholt

      Hi there,
      A person’s skin color comes from his or her DNA. Nothing else. The only thing your breastmilk will do to your baby, is to make her healthy. Don’t worry about your daugher’s skin color, just enjoy her and think of her as perfect just the way she is.

    3. Denese

      I have three children all for my husband. The first two boys are light in complexion but my daughter is darker. I expected her to be as light as they are. What could be the cause for her being darker?

      1. Liddy Eriksen

        Seriously what is WRONG with you people? Go take care of your kids and stop asking dumb vain questions. There are so many women out there who wish they could be blessed with one child much less three!!!

      2. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

        Skin color is all about genes. A large number of genes contribute to skin color in a number of different ways which results in a complicated process influencing a child’s skin color. If your baby has a darker skin color than any of you, then he or she most likely got color from your parents or grandparents or even generations before that.

        Due to this, it is entirely possible, but unusual that even white parents give birth to a dark baby and vice versa. I think that is quite exciting! Enjoy parenthood and your baby and don’t worry about her color.

  23. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

    Hi Faria,
    This is a good question. I know this is a common belief and a lot of parents say that it’s been true for their children. But quite a few state the opposite too. I have searched high and low to find any kind of research to back it up. I’ve found nothing though. This doesn’t mean that it is wrong, but to honest, I can’t say. Anyone else having thoughts on this? How about YOUR child?

  24. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

    Well, I hope and think you are wrong, Evet! There are so many children with parents of different origins, there are adopted children, foster care, all sorts of reasons why a child may not look exactly like one or both of their parents.

    My experience is that children are often more open-minded than adults. They ask, you answer and then they get on with their life.

    Of course the child may get questions or comments, but if the parents are open and cool about it from the start, chances are much higher that this will never be a problem at all.

    1. Ina Pickle

      You are delusional. I was teased mercilessly as a child for my nose. Other kids I knew had it much worse. The 6 fingered boy was eventually removed from school. Kids are horrible to those who are different. It’s inborn tribal mentality.

  25. Vaibhav

    Thanks Paula for such sharing great advises with everyone,

    My 3 month old daughter has little dark legs but her face color is fair.
    Anything we should try to make body complexion same over face and legs.


    1. Madhuri Kollipara

      My baby is also soo dark, i want a immediate solution yo get fair

      1. Liddy Eriksen

        Give the child to someone who will love and cherish her, dark skin and all. You’re unfit. Your focus is completely wrong. Coming here to ask this outrageous question. It’s sad to think you will treat this child poorly because of a skin colour that YOU and her father have her, through genetics. Some of you Should not have kids.

        1. Tami211-620-414

          Girl. I’m feelin’ the same way. IDK what is wrong with the women who are sayin, “My baby was real light, or light brown skin, or brown skin medium light caramel brown and now is dark skin after a few weeks or months. WOW. smh. My mother is cocoa dark brown. Not dark skin. My father? Real light skin P.R.male. still married, and i came out and stayed real light skin. with thick black lovely hair coarse THICK hair, love my blackness black people and lighter black and hispanic. dark skin hispanic blk brother. We love for inside beauty.
          My niece is now real light, at 1 minute old, she came out REAL WHITE TO FAIR SKIN and was then DARK skin only at 8 weeks, and then by pre-k, kindergarten in 2005 she was light skin,

          to light medium-brown skin halle perfect shade or janet jackson brown . she changed, and she is now permanent teen years brown skin and healthy most important. just love the child and if not? Give it up.

          For real ….

          for GOD’s sake, give her to some 1 who will adopt her love her and raise her happily, the same way you ALL would want to be raised wit’ most important LOVE NURTURE GUIDANCE, in a lovely safe drama free happy home. LIDDY i agree chica.adios.

  26. chintha

    doctor, my son age 3 and half month. his body is deferance color. me and my husband both fair but my sone face is fair bout body is darker. ear below lighter up is darker.even his body same places lighter than other should i worry about it.why my baby is become dark skin as me and my hasband has lighter skin.i am thing about it too much.