Skin is the largest organ in the body and skin conditions can start at any point during the lifespan. Several skin conditions affect children and adolescents, such as childhood eczema. Understandably, it can be concerning when your child is experiencing a skin condition, particularly if they are uncomfortable. At Vibrant Dermatology & Skinbar MD in Dedham, MA, our experts are knowledgeable in Pediatric Dermatology Boston.
Pediatric Dermatology Boston
Childhood is often a time where cuts, scrapes, and burns have parents applying age-old at-home first aid. But there are some skin conditions that can’t be managed at home, particularly if the skin condition is severe or recurring. During the developmental years, the skin and the immune system are highly interactive, leading to certain childhood skin diseases that may require special medical care.
Although your child’s family physician may be able to manage conditions like chickenpox or scraped knees, some skin conditions are better managed with specialist care. Pediatric dermatologists specialize in skin conditions, including managing medications for certain skin conditions. A pediatric skin specialist can see children as young as several months to as old as the late teens and can manage skin conditions such as:
Eczema during childhood is fairly common. The rashes, itching, and inflammation on the skin can be very difficult for children to cope with, so it’s important to seek treatment advice as soon as possible, particularly when over-the-counter hydrocortisone isn’t effective or appropriate for treatment.
Childhood eczema or atopic dermatitis is generally caused by contact with an unknown allergen. Triggers for this skin condition can include shampoo, soap, pollen, or even the child’s diet if there are known food allergies. Children should be taken to a pediatric dermatologist when at-home treatments are not effective or if eczema worsens.
Other Types of Eczema
Aside from atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis, there are different types of eczema that children may experience. Seborrhoeic dermatitis, for example, is common in children. A pediatric specialist will be able to determine the type of eczema your child has and the best way to treat the skin.
What Can a Specialist Do?
For many parents, the goal of treating a child’s eczema is to relieve the child of discomfort as quickly as possible. Roughly 10% of all children will experience eczema to some degree. A pediatric specialist will examine your child’s skin and give you guidance on how to take care of the irritated skin, such as using oatmeal-based topical moisturizers and soothing baths.
Occasionally, it may be necessary for your child to use prescriptions to manage atopic dermatitis. Topical corticosteroids may be prescribed as they are made at a higher concentration than over-the-counter creams. Other topical anti-inflammatory medications or even oral medications may be used to resolve the inflammation and itching.
Birthmarks and Moles
Many children are born with birthmarks and moles. In general, birthmarks are not a cause for concern – in fact, many of them go away as the child ages and are not indicative of any health concern. However, if birthmarks become darker or grow in size, it’s important for your child to see a specialist to monitor for any abnormal changes.
Similarly, children can also be born with moles and freckles. It’s also perfectly common for more moles to show up as a child ages, especially children who spend a lot of time outdoor. However, children who have a large number of moles should also see a skin specialist to monitor these moles for changes as they age, as this can be the key to catching potentially malignant growths.
Skin allergies are exceptionally common in children. During childhood is when allergies are most likely to appear as children encounter possible triggers. Skin allergies can be the result of an allergic reaction from an internal trigger or an allergic reaction to an external trigger. For children, skin allergies can range in severity and can be mild to life-threatening.
The most common type of skin allergy for children is contact dermatitis, which is when the skin comes into contact with a substance that triggers the immune system. Hives and rashes typically form as a result of a skin allergy, which is why many parents mistake an allergy with eczema. However, skin allergies develop very quickly and require specific care.
How Are Skin Allergies Treated?
Short of completely avoiding the trigger for the allergy, there are several treatments that may be available for parents who have children with skin allergies. The first line of defense for treating a skin allergy is an oral or topical anti-histamine; a pediatric dermatologist may have specific prescriptions to manage skin allergies, as well. But most importantly, a dermatologist may administer allergy tests to help you identify your child’s allergies so you can avoid triggers in the future.
Acne is another skin condition that can be managed by a pediatric dermatologist. Acne can emerge in children as early as the age of 12 to 15. It’s important for adolescents to receive early care for managing acne to prevent worse acne breakouts and potential skin scarring. By managing acne early, your child will benefit from better self-confidence as they get older, as well as implementing healthy skincare from an early age.
What Would Treatment Look Like?
For younger adolescents, treating acne generally starts with conservative treatments such as prescription topical ointments and cleaners. The goal of these products is to kill acne-causing bacteria and prevent breakouts. However, if your child’s acne is not responsive to these conservative treatments, then other treatments may be explored, such as light therapy.
What Is the Best Age To Schedule Pediatric Dermatology Boston?
Because skin conditions can arise at any age, there isn’t a specific age when children should see a skin specialist. Some parents need to take their children to a pediatric dermatologist while the child is a toddler to treat eczema and skin allergies, while other children may not need to see a dermatologist until they are in their early teens.
As a general rule of thumb, the best time to see a dermatologist is when you feel that your child will benefit from specialist care. Sometimes this means your family physician will refer you to a skin specialist because the skin condition needs further examination and monitoring; other times, you may wish to see a dermatologist at the first sign of chronic skin conditions like acne.
Do Childhood Skin Diseases Go Away?
Many parents want to know whether or not childhood skin diseases like skin allergies and dermatitis can go away as the child grows up. The truth is, it’s hard to tell. Some skin allergies to certain metals, for example, are life-long, while some contact dermatitis will never happen more than once. Furthermore, some children seem to grow out of certain skin conditions; children who have eczema may not have eczema as adults.
Are Skin Conditions Inherited?
Inheritance plays a big role in skin health. Some conditions, like contact dermatitis, may have a genetic factor related to an overactive immune system, while other conditions like birthmarks have no apparent genetic link. One skin condition that may have a genetic link may be acne; children who have early acne may have parents who also had early acne. Whether or not skin conditions are inherited, it’s important to seek specialist care when necessary.
Who Are Good Candidates?
Candidates for pediatric dermatology include children from infants to adolescents who are experiencing skin conditions such as eczema, rashes, burns, birthmarks, moles, acne, and skin allergies. Children are often referred to a skin specialist by primary care physicians who are recommending further treatment or monitoring of some skin conditions.
The treatments used for children receiving pediatric dermatology care will vary based on the skin condition being treated. Many skin specialists prefer to use conservative treatments for children, such as topical creams and ointments that soothe symptoms. Additional medications or treatment techniques are typically reserved for children who are not responding to other treatments.
Schedule Pediatric Dermatology Boston Today
Some skin conditions can start during childhood. For the health of the child, it’s important for parents to seek specialist care when skin concerns cannot be managed by family doctors or at-home treatments. Pediatric dermatologists are specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood skin diseases, including eczema, acne, birthmarks, moles, and skin allergies, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts to ensure your child’s good health.