plastic baby
Baby born with rare condition that makes her skin appear like plastic.

A 'plastic' baby with a rare skin condition has been born in Amritsar, India.

The baby, which one doctor said has the appearance of a rubber doll, was born with collodion – or Lamellar ichthyosis – an inherited skin disorder that affects about one in every 600,000 people.

Collodion babies are born with a shiny waxy outer layer to the skin that is shed about two weeks of the birth. Affected babies are often described as having a shiny film over their skin a bit like a layer of Vaseline. The eyelids and mouth appear forced open because of how tight the skin is.

After about 14 days, the main symptom of the disease becomes apparent – extensive scaling so that the skin resembling fish scales.

Around 10% of babies shed the first layer to show normal skin beneath – known as self-healing collodion baby – however most do not survive, with up to 85% fatality rate.

The baby in Amritsar was born in the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital. A doctor treating her told India Today: "The baby starts crying when someone touches her. She looks like a rubber doll and her face appears to be similar to that of a fish. Her eyes and lips are red hot. She is also not able to take feed from her mother."

R S Bedi, a specialist in child medicine, sad: "At times the plastic babies report hypothermia and dehydration besides other problems. I treated one such baby a decade ago. The skin at times sheds itself within two to three weeks but the period is very painful for the baby which cannot close its eyelids."

The baby has now been discharged from the hospital. Medical experts said if she survives with the condition, she will be at permanent risk of infection, dehydration and hypothermia, but moisturisers and a humidified incubator can help prevent these problems.