The human body is covered with relatively hairless skin, and this is meant to serve as a protective barrier from many different things. Germs, sunlight, debris, and toxins are all kept out of the body by our living and breathing skin. The thing about skin is that it does take time to catch up with what our lives demand, and this leaves infants and children in a bit of a predicament. Fortunately, eons of human experience have taught us about the most common skin disorders that kids face, and how to safely handle them.
The Common Problems
One of the first things parents will discover on their infant’s skin is diaper rash. This is almost inevitable because of the constant dampness and the irritation caused by the urine and feces that comes into contact with this soft and developing skin. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy issue to overcome through the use of “barrier” products.
Diaper creams, petroleum jellies, and baby products that use zinc oxide will all protect the skin from extreme irritation and breakouts. It is also wise to allow the baby to be nude and diaper-free for a bit of time each day too.
Another problem that appears early in a child’s life is “intertrigo”. This can be easily mistaken as a diaper rash because it tends to appear in those adorable folds of skin on a baby’s legs and backside. It is a red rash that may be “weepy” and may cause an infant discomfort. The remedy is simple – wash any folds of skin gently with a mild baby soap and the apply a “barrier” such as zinc oxide cream to help the skin remain healthy.
As They Grow
After year one, a lot of kids have skin that has developed well enough to fight off the baby rashes. However, this does not mean that it is a time to let the guard down. After all, as kids interact with siblings, go to school, and socialize, they will begin to show other common skin disorders or issues.
Consider impetigo – formally known as Impetigo Contagiosa – it is a disorder characterized by scabs that can be larger than a full inch in diameter and which appear on the exposed areas of the body. They are not usually uncomfortable, but they are unsightly, and they are contagious.
They are caused by a virus that makes its way into the skin – usually from a cut or scrape, but also from a runny nose or dirty fingernails. This then develops into very obvious sores that can infect other children. The remedy is vigilance regarding cleanliness. Hand washing, individual towels for all kids in the house, individual combs or hair brushes, and an antiseptic gel on any areas of exposure.
Many kids also show early signs of eczema. This is a chronic inflammatory condition and it very often appears during the early years of life. It is often triggered by diet, and a parent who notices the red and scaling skin that appears in undefined areas of the body should pay attention to what that child ate before the patches appeared.
This condition is often confused for psoriasis, but they are very different issues. Though both create patches of red and scaly skin, psoriasis makes actual lesions on the child’s body. Primarily appearing in the scalp, knees, and elbows, it can also develop in smaller patches elsewhere. It is chronic condition that many physicians believe is inherited. It can treated with proper cleaning and the application of soothing creams, though some extreme instances require oral medication.
If your baby or child develops a serious skin problem, don’t hesitate to visit the doctor. It is not only unsightly for a child to have obvious skin problems, it is a sign of a health issue that should be remedied.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.