Skin diseases are very common, with as many as a quarter of Americans visiting their doctor with a skin condition each year. Skin problems are just as likely to affect children as they are adults, and as a parent, it is your job to decide whether your child has a skin issue that would benefit from the professional advice and support of a dermatologist.
A dermatologist is more than just a skin doctor. In fact, a dermatologist is a doctor that specializes in treating disorders of the skin, hair, nails and even mucous membrane (the membrane that lines various cavities in the body).
When should I start bringing my child to the dermatologist?
The answer to this question varies significantly between children. If you are fortunate enough that your child doesn’t experience any significant skin issues that can’t be resolved by your regular doctor, then you may be able to wait until they reach their teenage or pre-teen years before scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist. Around this time, your child may start to see the onset of acne, making this age an ideal opportunity to visit a dermatologist to obtain advice and treatment. However, if your child begins to suffer from a skin problem much younger than this, then there is nothing to stop you seeking professional help from a dermatologist at this time.
Common skin issues affecting children and teenagers
There are many different skin issues that can affect both children and teenagers. Some are more common than others. Two of the issues that we most often see are acne and eczema.
Acne is the single most common skin issues affecting pre-teens and teenagers. In fact, it is so common it is virtually a rite of passage. The severity with which a child can suffer from acne can vary immensely. Some will get the odd pimple here and there, while others will find that they have extensive acne affecting their face, chest and even back. Acne scarring is an additional problem, which results in the effect of suffering from moderate to severe acne in childhood.
Unsurprisingly, acne can have a very significant effect on the mental wellbeing of a teenager, particularly since this stage of their life is well known for causing confidence and self-esteem issues. Unfortunately, there is no ‘quick fix’ and with the support of a great dermatologist, patients must commit to an ongoing routine of skincare using recommended products to see an improvement. Your dermatologist is the best person to suggest an appropriate treatment regimen that is best for the type of acne your child has.
Eczema is a very prevalent condition where patches of skin become inflamed, red, itchy, rough and sometimes cracked. Atopic eczema is the most common form of the condition and is particularly seen in children, often being diagnosed before their first birthday. Some cases of eczema will clear completely, but for many sufferers, it is a chronic problem that requires long-term treatment to improve and manage their condition. Patients with atopic eczema also have an increased risk of developing skin infections. Fortunately, there are lots of different treatments that can help you to support your child in managing the condition, and your dermatologist will be able to help you find the variety that best suits the needs of your little one.
Other skin issues affecting children
Other common skin issues that affect children that your dermatologist can help with include:
- Skin infections
- Fungal infections
- Warts and non-cancerous growths
- Congenital skin disorders
- Skin cancer (although very rare in children)
If you have any questions about what skin problems your dermatologist can help with, or if you are concerned about your child’s skin and would like the advice of a professional, please contact our office where our team will be delighted to help.