The 5 Most Common Skin Conditions for Children

Like adults, children can experience skin conditions that range in symptoms and severity. In most cases, temporary issues like rashes aren’t serious, though some do warrant treatment. It’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion on any noticeable skin changes, but learning about the following common conditions may help put your mind at ease in the meantime.

1. Eczema

Eczema is common in children. The condition produces notorious dry, scaly patches which are often itchy. In babies, eczema tends to develop on the scalp and face, whereas children over the age of two often develop it elsewhere. Other common sites include elbow creases, the skin behind the knees, buttocks, neck, wrists, and ankles.

While eczema has no cure, symptoms can be controlled with remedies such as topical ointments. A dermatologist can also help to identify potential triggers that can worsen your child’s eczema or cause flare-ups, allowing you to make an informed home care plan.

2. Warts

Also known as verruca, warts are a harmless, common skin condition usually caused by a virus that produces small, hard flesh-colored bumps. While warts can appear anywhere, in children they often develop on hands and feet. Warts aren’t dangerous, but they can spread to other people and parts of the body through skin-to-skin contact. For this reason, wart removal is a practical option to consider. Sometimes, prescription-strength medication may be needed to fight the virus that caused the warts, while cryotherapy (freezing) can be used to remove the wart itself. 

3. Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is a type of seborrheic dermatitis, a skin condition that causes scaly, red patches on a baby’s scalp. Because cradle cap is generally harmless, treatment isn’t typically necessary, and most cases resolve on their own within several months. If scales persist however, a shampoo formulated specifically for cradle cap will help. The dry scales can also be loosened by applying baby oil or olive oil and gently massaging the affected area with a comb. For severe cases that cause hair loss, itchiness, or other unusual symptoms, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

4. Diaper Rash

Most babies will experience some degree of diaper rash at one point or another. This telltale rash develops on the buttocks and appears as red, inflamed skin. It can make diaper changes uncomfortable for little ones, and the cause can be frustratingly difficult for parents to pinpoint. “While going too long between changes is one culprit,” says Caroline A. Howell, PA-C, “introducing new foods or products, skin sensitivity, and bacterial or yeast infections may also be at play.” 

To soothe a sore bottom during diaper changes, gently wipe with a warm, wet cloth and allow the area to dry completely. Then, apply a cream or paste with petroleum jelly. This hypoallergenic, fragrance-free ingredient is safe for sensitive skin and will help to strengthen the skin barrier. If possible, also try to give your tyke some diaper-free time to air things out and provide relief from friction.

5. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFM)

A highly contagious infection, HFM is most often caused by a variation of the coxsackievirus. Usually it involves a rash, though pustules, fever, and mouth sores can also develop. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for the virus, but symptoms usually disappear within 10 days. In the meantime, over-the-counter fever reducers and pain medications can alleviate symptoms. Since mouth sores can make eating uncomfortable, provide plenty of liquids to keep your child hydrated and nourished.

Olansky Dermatology offers personalized skin care services for patients of all ages. And our board-certified practitioners provide general dermatology services for pediatric skin conditions in an environment that’s comfortable and inviting. Book an appointment for your child online or by calling 404-355-5484.