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Fun fact: did you know that your skin is actually your body’s largest organ, and that it is constantly working as a protective barrier between your internal organs and the outside world? Our skin helps us regulate body temperature, identify sensations, protect us from harmful substances and trauma, rid the body of toxins, and absorb Vitamin D to help promote healthy bone growth and maintenance. Pretty cool right? Now let’s talk about the most common concerns regarding our skin and what we can do to help it.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema):

Parents, we have all heard of eczema in some way shape or form. Either your child has it, your other child had it, you had it as a kid, your friend has it, or your parents have it right? Eczema is very common affecting 10-12% of the pediatric population with typical onset before the ages of 1 and 5 years old. By definition, eczema is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by recurring red, dry, itchy skin eruptions. Eczema is what we call a ‘chronic’ condition in that flare ups can happen at any time or any age. Flare ups in infancy typically occur on the cheeks, scalp, trunk, and extremities while the flexural areas are more commonly affected in school age kids. There are many possible causes for an eczema flare up- food, dry skin, laundry detergents/soaps, smoke, clothing materials, and environmental triggers.

So what can we do to help our little ones when they cannot stop scratching? MOISTURIZE! I cannot stress this enough. Get some good moisturizer (I love Aquaphor!) and lather your kiddos up with it – especially after baths/showers. This is when our skin is most receptive to taking in moisture. Other things you can do to help are limit amount and length of baths/showers, wash clothes and body with fragrance free detergents and soaps, stay hydrated, and dress in soft, breathable clothing.

However, some cases require a prescription strength steroid cream so be sure to consult with your pediatrician before using any medicated creams!

Warts and Molluscum:

You know them- those little buggers that can look like small flesh colored cauliflowers or blisters on your kid’s skin. Both warts and molluscum are caused by viruses and therefore cannot by treated with medication. Warts are most commonly caused by strains of human papillomaviruses and typically show up on hands, feet, and genitals. Pools are breeding grounds for these pesky warts- think lots of kids running around barefoot!

Molluscum look more like small, round, flesh colored or red bumps with a center. Molluscum can appear anywhere on the body and are caused by a poxvirus called molluscum contagiosum virus. Both will go away on their own eventually! To help keep your kids from scratching or picking at them, try covering them with band-aids or tape as they can spread when opened.

Viral rashes:

Yep, you read that right – when your kid gets sick with a virus, they may break out into a rash. These rashes can vary depending on the offending virus, but typically a viral rash will appear as red bumps that can spread all over their body from head to toe. Viral rashes typically appear a few days after initial onset of respiratory symptoms and resolve just as quick as they appear in a few days. However, if your child has a rash that feels like sandpaper as you run your hand across it- call your pediatrician as this could be scarlet fever and will require antibiotics. It is always a good idea to call your pediatrician if your child is sick!

*General tips*

Since our skin is an organ, it requires care similar to how we eat a healthy diet and exercise to keep our heart and brain healthy. It is important to keep our skin moisturized – whether your child has sensitive skin or not! Moisturizer keeps our skin hydrated and healthy. Another key to hydrated skin is to drink lots of water- hydrated skin is happy skin! Also, be sure to always wear sunscreen when outside, eat your veggies, and keep skin clean. Remember, always call your pediatrician if you are concerned or have questions! We are here to help you!

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