Your Child’s Rash: Is it Eczema?
Children who have a history of allergies or asthma in their family have a stronger chance of developing eczema. According to studies, approximately 65% of children who have this chronic skin condition will outgrow it by adolescence. However, while a child experiences the occasional skin rash, life can include too much worry. Here, we discuss how to understand your child’s dermatologic needs and how to meet them.
What Causes Eczema?
Normally, there is a protective barrier of lipids that covers the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin tissue. This barrier holds water molecules in while simultaneously blocking potential threats from the environment. The integrity of this protective barrier is affected by genes and, in some people, the barrier is not quite as strong as it should be. A compromised skin barrier allows moisture to escape and irritants to enter where they don’t belong. Irritants can come from a multitude of directions, including dyes from soaps and fragrances from lotions and laundry detergent. These irritants trigger inflammation that leads to redness and rash.
What Parent’s can do to Help Their Child
It is unnerving to see your child struggle with a rash that seems to linger, spread from one place to another, or recur periodically. If symptoms occur with any degree of regularity or they persist for more than a few days, a dermatologic exam should be scheduled. A pediatrician may be able to accurately diagnose eczema, or you may want to see a dermatologist whose extensive training focuses only on conditions of the skin and nails.
When a child has been diagnosed with eczema, the plan of action may revolve mostly around management with lifestyle remedies. There is no cure for eczema, only ways to prevent and minimize symptoms. You may help your child by:
- Learning triggers. These may be certain foods, soaps, and even weather conditions.
- Choose “free and clear” products that do not contain dyes or fragrance.
- Bathe your child in warm water, patting them dry and quickly applying a thick, unscented lotion.
- Apply lotion two or three times a day as needed to promote a healthy skin barrier.
- Itching can make the rash worse. Talk with your doctor about an appropriate antihistamine to keep on hand just in case.
- Talk with your child’s doctor about a prescription cream to calm a rash that has begun. Fast action can resolve a flare-up quickly so your child can get back to a more comfortable state.
- Discuss your concerns about medication if you have them. Some parents are apprehensive to use steroid creams due to misperceptions about side effects. The more openly you communicate with your child’s doctor, the more capable you are of finding a solution that works for your family.
We are proud to offer pediatric dermatology services in Exton, Coatesville, and Kennett Square. Call 610-594-6660 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists.