For those with kids, the summer of freedom (at least for them) is now coming to an end, ushering in a season of homework, testing, and school stress. Enter September, the month where we focus on pediatric dermatology and everything that comes with going back to school, even if it is virtual.
When it comes to their skin, children have different dermatological needs than adults. They have different ailments too. Whether you discover new bumps on your little one’s fingers or your budding teenager is suffering from an acne flare up, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist can provide a treatment plan to get your children through an already uncomfortable time.
Here are the most common skin problems for children going back to school and what you can do about it:
Common Skin Conditions in Children
1. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is also known as eczema. This skin condition affects newborns and into adulthood. Many young babies grow out of it by the time they are 2, but it’s important to be mindful of the causes so that you can help minimize symptoms and ease any discomfort. Eczema can be exacerbated by a food or environmental allergy such as dairy and eggs, or pollen and harsh soaps. Your child is more likely to have atopic dermatitis if he/she has a family history of asthma and allergies.
What to Do About Atopic Dermatitis
Minimize long, hot baths and be mindful of scratchy, tight clothing. Get a food allergy test and create a diet that avoids food triggers. Keep skin moisturized, especially after the shower.
2. Warts and Molluscum
Warts and molluscum contagiosum are caused by viral infections. The former are hard bumps commonly found on fingers, hands, and feet while the latter can appear on the legs, abdomen, arms, neck, face, and genital area, but rarely on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet. Your child can contract warts through direct contact or public locker rooms and showers.
What to Do About Warts and Molluscum
Depending on the child’s age, a dermatologist might freeze the wart through cryotherapy, burn it off with a laser, or they may provide an oral medication such as Tagamet, a cream such as Aldara to boost your immune systems response to warts, or inject warts with a yeast preparation.
For molluscum, the treatment is a bit different. The dermatologist might recommend an over-the-counter topical treatment, use a trichloroacetic acid to destroy the molluscum with chemicals, scrape it off via curettage, or freeze it.
Your pre-teen and teenager might be complaining about a recent acne flare up. While you may think their snack binging and bad bathing habits are the cause, that’s not always necessarily the case. Acne is caused by clogged pores that develop into red, swollen bumps or pus-filled cysts. Stress is also a common cause for flare ups.
What to Do About Acne
There are some routine changes that can make a lot of difference for those who suffer from acne. For one thing, try and keep your teens hair away from his/her face and limit products like mousse, oils, and grease. Trade in their comedogenic moisturizers for water-based, non-comedogenic moisturizers. Same rule applies to makeups.
As far as treatment is concerned, over-the-counter cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help. For more serious cases, a dermatologist might prescribe topical retinoids along with an acne wash, oral antibiotics or even birth control pills.
If your child or teen has one of these common skin conditions, schedule an appointment at The Derm Group online or by calling 973.571.2121.