Having dry, itchy skin is never fun. For children, it can be a real stressor, especially if they cannot voice their discomfort the way that an adult might be able to. In some cases, they can experience skin irritation so uncomfortable, that it results in a red, bumpy or flaky rash. This is usually a common and very treatable skin condition known as eczema, but it’s also very important to take your child to a dermatologist to rule out any other conditions.
What is Eczema?
According to the National Eczema Association, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the name given to a group of skin conditions that cause the skin to become dry, red, itchy, and inflamed. Likewise, eczema commonly presents with a dry, itchy, and bumpy red rash. In many cases, it can be the result of some outside irritant, be it a harsh laundry detergent, or even cold, dry air. There are also cases where the cause is entirely unknown, but there is always a treatment option available.
The Prevalence of Eczema Among Children
Most people who develop eczema get it as children. Symptoms often should improve by the time the child turns five or six, and flare-ups should stop by their teenage years. Adults can definitely experience eczema, but it is less common to have eczema for the first time as an adult. There are different types of eczema, with atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis being the most prevalent. In the United States, eczema affects 13 percent (9.6 million) of children under the age of 18, with 31.6 million people having some form of it.
Eczema is Not an Allergy, but An Allergic Reaction
It is important to note that eczema is not the same as having allergies, rather, it’s a disease or a set of skin conditions caused when a child comes into contact with certain allergens, causing an allergic reaction, commonly the bumpy rash on the skin. Eczema is considered an unpredictable skin condition, which can cause flare ups at any time. Therefore, children who have sensitive skin or allergies are the most prone to eczema. Children with eczema are also more likely to have food related allergies.
Diagnosis of Eczema
For those who have eczema, it can be difficult to find products that soothe and protect the skin. Consulting the pediatric dermatologists at Children’s Skin Care Center immediately is important, to avoid skin damage due to eczema, and get the best treatment and relief that can be administered. We are trained specifically in dealing with children of all ages, specializing in treating skin disorders in infants, children, and adults.
Your doctor will perform a series of tests to help determine what is causing your eczema symptoms, and what you are allergic to. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for children with eczema, as everyone is different, as well as their skin types. If it turns out that your child does in fact have eczema, we will formulate a customized an allergy and eczema treatment plan.
How to Treat and Avoid Eczema Flare-ups
To help our patients manage their eczema, we suggest moisturizing skin daily and at night with a hydrating cream to control flare-ups, and combat dryness. Most importantly, we tell parents to help keep their child away from any irritants or allergens that are triggers. Use products for sensitive skin, which your doctor may prescribe a topical medicine, ointment, or cream rather than lotions, as lotions can often irritate the skin. During particularly intense flare-ups with severe itchiness or pain, moisturizing, bathing, and using recommended medications will help rehydrate and calm your child’s skin.
Dr. Ana Duarte is board certified in both Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology. She provides her expertise and care to children and adults of all ages, and can help reduce your child’s eczema flare-ups.
The Children’s Skin Center focuses on the latest medications and cutting-edge technology for the treatment of skin disorders among infants, children, and adults. We specialize in both pediatric and adult dermatology in Miami Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, across South Florida. Call our office at (305) 669-6555 to request an appointment at one of our locations in Miami, Coral Gables, Doral, Miami Lakes, Miramar, Kendall, and Palm Beach Gardens.