We asked Coolibar medical advisor Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Manju Elizabeth George MD, FAAD of Pediatric Dermatology of the Palm Beaches to share some information with us on childhood eczema. Her response is below.
“When we think about baby’s skin, most of us envision soft, smooth skin unaffected by the sun, chemicals and other harmful substances. New parents often come to me in a panic, because their child’s skin is covered in a strange rash or bumps. It’s important to be aware that there are a handful of very common pediatric skin conditions that can be easily treated.”
“One such skin condition is called atopic dermatitis (AD), which is more commonly referred to as eczema (pronounced “EK-zema). In fact, AD affects nearly 10% of all infants and children. Literature and data have taught us the eczema is skin barrier defect. The exact cause is not known, but AD results from a combination of family heredity and a variety of conditions in everyday life that triggers the red, itchy rash.”
“Atopic dermatitis can be challenging to treat and education is of upmost importance. I always take the time to make sure I am educating parents on good skin care. Children with eczema are shown to sleep less and miss more school. This condition does not just affect children but the parents as well.”
“If you are worried your child may have eczema there are a few signs to look for.”
- Time of Onset – it usually occurs within baby’s 1st year up to age 5 and tends to reappear
- Itching – AD is very itchy, much of the skin damage comes from uncontrollable scratching
- Rash Location – in babies, it usually starts on the face, elbows and knees. It may spread to involve all areas of the body. Later in childhood the rash is typically found in the elbow and knee folds but can appear on hands, feet scalp or bend the hears.
“Treatment for AD includes emollients such as petrolatum based products or creams. Lotions are not rich enough and often have a net drying effect on AD skin. Topical steroids, called corticosteroids, are cortisone like medications used in creams or ointments prescribed by your doctor. These medications can be very helpful and can calm the inflamed skin. They come in a variety of potencies and must be used with caution and supervision as there are some side effects associated with them, including thinning of the skin.”
“Since many of the products and prescriptions used in atopic dermatitis patients can cause photosensitivity, the use of sun protection for children with atopic dermatitis is recommended. If you are concerned that your child has eczema or some other skin condition, make an appointment to see your dermatologist or health care professional. They can help assess the problem, put your mind at ease and get your little one on their way to healthy skin.”
Manju Elizabeth George MD, FAAD
Triple Board certified in Pediatrics, Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology
Pediatric Dermatology of the Palm Beaches
Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.