Newborn & Paediatric Skin Problems
The two Dermatologists in our team with special interest in paediatric dermatology are Dr Hiva and Dr Justine. They will understand completely how stressful it can be if your child develops any skin condition.
Babies and children can suffer from a large variety of skin problems including eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis and other rashes and infections such as impetigo, warts and patchy hair loss. In their teens, spots and acne almost inevitably take over.
Eczema, dermatitis and other rashes
Atopic dermatitis (‘eczema’) is one of the most common skin problems in babies and children. While in young babies, eczema is often still located on convex skin areas such as the cheeks, in later childhood the eczema gradually moves onto concave skin areas such as in the inner elbows and behind the knees. Chronic eczema skin is dry, thickened and itchy which can be distressing for both child and parents and can make sleeping a problem as well. Acute forms of eczema can appear more inflamed, red and weepy. Whenever the skin is scratched, bacteria can get in and potentially cause secondary infections, often seen as weeping and crusting.
Treatment of eczema can greatly improve the little patient’s quality of life as well as the parents’. Although we can’t actually cure eczema, a combination of innovative emollients, moisturizing baths, anti-inflammatory creams and anti-itch tablets can keep the symptoms in check until the child eventually grows out of it, as most do. You will also be glad to hear that we now have steroid-free anti-inflammatory creams available to treat eczema. Allergy tests can also be arranged, where appropriate.
In young babies, a rash called seborrhoeic dermatitis is a common problem. It can look similar to eczema, but is not usually very itchy and disappears at around three to four months of age. In contrast to eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis usually includes the nappy area. On the scalp it is also known as ‘cradle cap’.
Breakouts, spots & acne
Between 80-90% of teenagers will suffer with acne to some extent. But that doesn’t mean that it should be endured without complaint or accepted as inevitable. Acne can be a seriously distressing, possibly disfiguring condition with the potential to scar the face permanently.
Scientific studies have confirmed that even non-severe acne can cause profound emotional problems such as depression and suicidal thoughts. We would therefore strongly encourage you to bring your teenager to see one of our Dermatologists, so treatment for ‘breakouts’ or acne can begin before scarring or emotional problems occur.
There are now highly effective treatments available (both topical and oral), one of which can even switch acne off for good in the majority of patients. Our Dermatologists can prescribe all medical treatments including Isotretinoin/Roaccutane® and will also recommend which skincare products are suitable for your child.
Skin & scalp infections
Impetigo is an extremely common bacterial skin infection in children. It’s often recognised by its honey-coloured crusts somewhere on the face and because it’s highly infectious, early treatment is recommended. We will take a simple, painless skin swab to confirm exactly which bacterium is causing the problem. Our lab will also confirm which antibiotics this particular bacterium is sensitive to and whether it has developed any resistancies. In well-defined impetigo, treatment with an antibacterial or antiseptic cream can be sufficient, while in more advanced cases antibiotic tablets are prescribed.
Some forms of scaling scalp and patchy hair loss may be due to a fungal infection (tinea capitis). This is infectious and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. We can take a simple hair sample to our partner lab for analysis in order to try confirming the diagnosis.
Warts & verrucas
These are common among children, mostly arise on the feet and hands and can spread if not treated. We offer different, very effective forms of treatment including in-clinic ‘freezing‘ (much more potent than the milder over-the-counter ‘freezing’ variants) and high-concentration salicylic & lactic acid paints for use at home. If a more ‘radical’, one-visit solution is wished, we can arrange a curettage & cautery (‘surgical scraping’) under local anaesthesia.
Patchy hair loss
Alopecia areata, a form of patchy hair loss, is the most common type of hair loss in children. It can arise spontaneously or be triggered by stressful life events such as a new school, problems with peers, a recent accident, loss of a family member or divorce of parents.
Hair loss occurs very suddenly and can be localized or widespread, sometimes even affecting body hair. Alopecia areata is a non-scarring form of hair loss and the good news is that in the majority of cases, the hair eventually grows back fully. We can’t predict how long this will take, but we can certainly offer treatment to try and kick-start the process and help minimise the child’s understandable distress.
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