Common Skin Problems with Children and How to Prevent Them
Although many people like to think of skin conditions such as rashes and allergies as cosmetic issues, they can turn out to be very serious.
As the largest organ in the human body, the skin plays a crucial role in the body’s protective functions. It prevents the loss of water and minerals, defends the organism from various infections and toxic substances, and protects against thermal and physical injuries.
When talking about children, the challenge is even bigger, as the protective layer of their skin is not yet as developed as an adult’s skin. As they lack an adequate skin barrier, toddlers and newborns are more susceptible to developing allergic reactions, rashes and other skin conditions.
Given that these events are extremely unpleasant both for the child and the parents, we must highlight the importance of prevention. Using the right children cosmetics is necessary, but what else can you do to keep your baby calm, healthy and happy?
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Common rashes and skin conditions in children
Let’s look at the most common skin conditions and rashes seen in children that every parent should know about. Recognizing the typology of each condition and its symptoms is vital for taking early precautions and timely measures.
Diaper rash is common in about 35% of babies wearing diapers.
Diaper rash is a type of dermatitis caused by prolonged skin contact with urine or stools when the diaper is left unchanged. Other reasons for the occurrence of the rash might be the constant friction between the skin and the fabric or adhesive tape or a secondary bacterial/fungi infection.
What are the symptoms of a diaper rash?
You can recognize the diaper rash by the red, inflamed skin under the diaper coverage (thighs, genitals and buttocks). Sores might also occur along the red area. You may notice your baby is irritated and experiences discomfort while you change their diaper because of the itchiness and hypersensitive skin.
Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema is one of the most common skin conditions in babies and children under the age of 5. Typically, it lasts for years as it can begin to clear up as the child grows up and during the teenage years. However, it is often seen in adults too.
While the exact cause of atopic dermatitis remains unknown, it’s associated with genetic predisposition and described as an immune reaction of the body. Some environmental factors, including vaccinations, allergens, dust mites and high temperatures, might worsen (and sometimes trigger) the condition.
What are the symptoms of atopic eczema?
The symptoms of atopic dermatitis differ in people and body location. However, the condition is commonly seen on the cheeks and joints in babies. The skin on these areas might become dry, rough and even cracked. You may notice small raised bumps, darkening of the skin and redness.
The affected skin is typically itchy. That’s why the baby will scratch it, and the area will become more sensitive.
Contact dermatitis is an allergic response or a physiological reaction triggered by skin contact with a particular substance or allergen. It can be caused by different types of irritants, including food, medication, baby cosmetics, saliva, washing products, perfumes and some metals.
What are the symptoms of contact dermatitis?
Contact dermatitis symptoms are different for every baby but may include itchy skin, blistering and redness or swelling. What’s typical for this condition is that the area of direct contact is the most affected.
Cradle cap is a common condition in newborn babies under six months of age. The medical term is „seborrheic dermatitis“. It’s an overproduction of normal skin fungus/yeast in the hair follicles, which maternal hormones stimulate during pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of cradle crap?
The condition differs from atopic eczema as it’s not itchy. If your baby has cradle cap, you will notice patchy white or yellow scales, skin flakes or thick crusts. The skin patches are dry or oily and can be found mainly on the scalp but also around the nose, neck, eyelids or nose.
How to prevent common rashes?
Prevention is the best way to deal with common skin conditions and rashes in babies. If you are wondering what’s the best way to do that, we will give you a simple-to-follow guideline in the next paragraphs.
Ten steps to take for skin rash prevention:
- Change your baby’s diapers frequently.
- Always use clinically-tested baby-safe cosmetics.
- Avoid using products with synthetic fragrances and strong aromas.
- Keep a diary of your baby’s food and medication intake.
- Dress your baby in breathable fabrics and avoid overheating.
- Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry at all times.
- If your baby is teething, clean their saliva as frequently as possible.
- Keep your baby away from metal objects or plants that may cause rashes.
- Cut your baby’s nails short to prevent them from scratching.
- Observe your baby’s reactions and skin to notice early signs of a rash.