Tips for Treating Common Skin Issues for Children of All Ages
Is it more than just a diaper rash? How long has your teen had acne? Get a dermatologist's advice on when it's time to investigate further.
As a parent, it's easy to feel that you must constantly toe the line between being too protective or not careful enough. On one end, you risk the idea that your child may resent you for being overprotective. On the other, you'd never be able to forgive yourself for not being more cautious about your child's health if something was overlooked. What if that mole isn't just a mole? And what if that diaper rash is a sign of something more serious?
Here's the thing: Parents aren't always supposed to know the answers. That's why dermatologists go through college, medical school, and a three-year residency program—to become skin experts. Unless you're a dermatologist, you shouldn't expect to know exactly what's happening with your child's skin. That's why we wanted to settle some worries and get a doctor's input on common skin issues for children of all ages.
Below, Dr. Ronea Chambers of Sona Dermatology & MedSpa's Ballantyne location describes common skin issues for three age groups of children, and when you should consider seeing a dermatologist for further diagnosis.
Common Skin Issues for Newborns
Dr. Chambers says there are three main skin issues to look out for with your newborn baby.
Birthmarks: Some birthmarks are not always present at birth, but show up later. Dr. Chambers says common birthmarks are hemangioma—those red, rubbery-looking nodules with extra blood vessels. Noncancerous, hemangioma develop in the womb and recede over time. "It may not be an issue initially," Dr. Chambers says, "but depending on where it's located, it can be problematic down the road, especially in the diaper area or an area that's prone to trauma such as extremities and the face."
Diaper Rash: "Chronic diaper rashes that don't improve with routine hygiene and over-the-counter cortisone could be a sign of something that is more serious," Dr. Chambers says. She suggests seeing a dermatologist to rule out more concerning underlying medical issues.
Cradle Cap: Similar to the issue of chronic diaper rash, a severe case of cradle cap can be a sign of underlying abnormalities. Additionally, if this extremely flaky dandruff is coupled with a severe diaper rash, Dr. Chambers recommends seeing a doctor to rule out a more serious concern.
Common Skin Issues for Toddlers
With your toddler, Dr. Chambers notes skin issues related to possible hereditary connections and daycare.
Eczema: "We need to treat eczema that’s not improving," Dr. Chambers says. If your toddler's skin is really dry, inflamed, and irritated, and it's not responding to gentle skin care such as moisturizing, consider booking a dermatologist appointment to ease your child's discomfort.
Molluscum Contagiosum: When it has contagious in the name, you know your daycare-going kid has good chances of catching it. Dr. Chambers says to be aware of molluscum—a "really common infection because of daycare and touching." Molluscum looks like flesh-colored bumps that can be mistaken for warts, and it is highly contagious. Dr. Chambers says, "It can spread very rapidly if it's not treated, especially if there are siblings at home."
Café Au Lait Spots: As suggested by their moniker, these spots are a brown color. Dr. Chambers says this uncommon disorder can be hereditary. Café au lait spots are freckles on the skin in the armpit or groin areas. These spots can point to an underlying skin disorder that can start popping up at this age, the dermatologist explains. These internal abnormalities can be serious, so it's best to see a doctor to diagnose any questionably-placed freckles.
Common Skin Issues for Preteens & Teens
Preteens and teens usually suffer from the same types of skin issues, and the majority of those are related to their self-confidence.
Acne: Teenagers are no strangers to acne. However, Dr. Chambers is sure to note that parents should be careful not to dismiss it. "A lot of parents feel it's a part of growing up," she says, "which is slightly so because it's the time puberty starts and there's an influx of hormones, and it can really take a toll on the oil glands. Yes, acne is part of natural development, however, it should be treated when there are tender acne lesions. The scarring becomes permanent and difficult to treat, and it's usually not something insurance covers." Acne lesions can not only lead to scarring but changes in skin tone and texture, too. These changes can impact self-confidence even into adulthood.
The good news is, though, that if you can treat the acne during the preteen and teen years, permanent scarring is "totally avoidable." Dr. Chambers says, "With all the bullying and teasing that goes on in school, it's something that can be prevented."
Alopecia Areata: This transient condition can come and go as a result of stress. Showing up as a smooth, hairless patch on the scalp, or in the beard area on males, Dr. Chambers says alopecia areata "can be easily treated" by visiting a dermatologist. She also notes this condition can be a result of some females pulling their hair out (also due to stress—middle and high school are tough times!).
Hyperhidrosis: Your teen may be too embarrassed to talk about their overly sweaty armpits or palms, but it can give them a lot of social anxiety. Dr. Chambers says, " Maybe people feel it can't be treated... There's often a hereditary component to it as well." But it can be treated, the dermatologist assures, and it's often covered by insurance. Ranging from pills to Botox to laser treatments, hyperhidrosis can be treated by a doctor, and shaking a hand no longer needs to be a stressful event for your growing teen.
See your child's skin concern on this list? Rule out some worries by booking an appointment at Sona Dermatology & MedSpa's Lake Norman or Ballantyne locations. Even though it typically takes months to see a dermatologist, Sona offers the incredible option for same-week, and, in some cases, next-day appointments (depending on availability), and you can even book online. Below is booking information.
Address: 7825 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Suite 300, Charlotte
Address: 14330 Oakhill Park Lane, Huntersville