Common Skin Conditions in Children and How to Treat Them

Children’s skin is often delicate and can be prone to various conditions that cause discomfort or concern. It is helpful for parents to understand the common skin issues amongst children and how to treat and manage their child’s skin health effectively. This article outlines the most prevalent skin conditions in children, along with treatment options to help alleviate symptoms.

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis):

  • Overview: Eczema is a long-lasting skin condition, characterized by itchy, inflamed, and dry skin. It frequently manifests in infants and young children. However, it can continue to persist into adult years.
  • Symptoms
    • Red, itchy rashes
    • Dry, flaky patches
    • In severe cases, the skin is prone to crack and bleed
  • Treatments:
    • Moisturizing: Using a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer several times a day can help maintain the skin’s hydration when suffering from eczema.
    • Bathing: It is beneficial to opt for lukewarm water and mild, gentle non-soap cleansers when bathing. Limit bath time to 10-15 minutes.
    • Medications: Topical corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and itching. In more severe eczema cases, phototherapy or oral medications may be necessary or recommended by a specialist.
    • Avoid Triggers: Along with other chronic skin conditions, it is important to identify and steer clear of allergens and irritants that aggravate the condition. Some common triggers related to eczema include certain fabrics, soaps, and even foods.

Cradle Cap (Seborrheic Dermatitis):

  • Overview: Cradle cap is a common condition in infants characterized by scaly, greasy patches on the scalp. This condition typically resolves on its own and is harmless.
  • Symptoms:
    • Brown or yellow crusty patches on the scalp
    • Flaky or oily skin
  • Treatments:
    • Gentle Washing: Mild, gentle shampoo should be used on children experiencing cradle cap.
    • Soft Brushing: After shampooing, a soft, gentle brush can help remove scales.
    • Medicated Shampoo: In persistent cases, a pediatrician may recommend a medicated shampoo or topical treatment.

Impetigo:

  • Overview: Impetigo is a bacterial infection, commonly seen in children and is contagious. It causes red sores that may break open and develop honey-colored crusts.
  • Symptoms:
    • Red sores, particularly around the mouth and nose
    • Honey-colored crusts form after burst sores
    • General discomfort and itching
  • Treatment:
    • Antibiotics: A patient suffering from impetigo will be prescribed antibiotics by a physician to clear the infection. Both topical and oral antibiotics are known to treat the condition.
    • Hygiene: Keeping a child’s nails short can help prevent itching and spread of infection. Encourage frequent hand washing and avoid sharing personal items.
    • Cleaning Sores: Mild soap and water should be used to keep the affected areas and sores clean.

Warts:

  • Overview: Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), are common amongst children, and develop on the hands, feet, and other areas of the body.
  • Symptoms:
    • Small, grainy bumps on the skin
    • Create a rough texture
    • In some cases, black dots form in the center due to clotted blood vessels.
  • Treatments:
    • Topical Treatments: Over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments are often used to help dissolve warts. However, it is important to follow the instructions on the medications carefully.
    • Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen can be administered by a healthcare provider to freeze the wart.
    • Duct Tape: Duct tape occlusion therapy may be effective for some children who suffer from warts. Although this method won’t work for all patients, it is a low-risk option to consider.
    • Patience: Generally, warts resolve on their own over time.

Ringworm (Tinea)

  • Overview: Ringworm is a fungal infection that can impact the skin, nails, or scalp. Despite the name given to the condition, it is not caused by worms.
  • Symptoms:
    • Ring-shaped, red, scaly patches with clear centers
    • General discomfort and itching
    • Hair loss in cases where the affected area includes the scalp.
  • Treatments:
    • Antifungal Treatments: Over-the-counter creams can be effective in treating mild cases of ringworm.
    • Oral Antifungals: Your physician may opt to prescribe an oral antifungal medication for scalp ringworm or severe cases.
    • Hygiene: Due to ringworm being highly contagious, it is essential to avoid sharing personal items such as towels or hats. Additionally, ensure to keep the affected area clean and dry.

Molluscum Contagiosum:

  • Overview: Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection characterized by small, firm, raised bumps on the skin. The infection is generally harmless and often resolves spontaneously.
  • Symptoms:
    • Small, flesh-colored, or pink bumps with a dimple in the center
    • In some cases, bumps become red and inflamed
  • Treatments:
    • Observation: In most instances, Molluscum Contagiosum resolves without intervention within 6-12 months.
    • Topical Treatments: Topical creams may be suggested by a healthcare provider to expedite resolution.
    • Cryotherapy or Curettage: Dermatologists may opt for freezing or scraping to remove the bumps in certain cases.

Familiarizing oneself with prevalent skin conditions in children and their respective treatments can empower parents to better oversee their child’s skin health. If persistent or severe symptoms arise, seeking guidance from a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment is essential. With appropriate care, most skin conditions can be effectively managed, ensuring the comfort and well-being of a child.

If your child or someone you know is suffering from a chronic skin condition, schedule an appointment with our office. Our staff understands that navigating your child’s skin health can be challenging. If you find that your child is experiencing persistent skin issues despite your best efforts, we encourage you to reach out to our office. Dr. Gurgen and his team are here to provide personalized care and support for your child’s skin needs. Act now and together we can work towards achieving healthier, happier skin for your child.