Children's skin care

Daily skin care for toddlers

  • Use gentle, fragrance-free cleansers and soaps.
  • To prevent dry skin and rashes, apply liberal amounts of moisturizer after bathing.
  • Initiate early sun-protection behaviors, including:
    • The regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
    • If child is prone to skin irritation or allergic reactions, select a physical or chemical-free sunscreen with the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
    • Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
    • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.
    • Seek shade when appropriate, and remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
    • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Pediatric skin infections

  • Skin growths caused by viral infection.
  • Warts most regularly seen by dermatologists are common warts and plantar (foot) warts.
  • Common warts usually grow around fingernails, on fingers, and on the backs of hands.
  • Plantar warts occur on the bottoms of the feet, close to the toes.
  • Warts can disappear on their own over a period of several months.
  • Treatment is recommended because old warts can spread the virus to the skin around them, creating new warts.
  • Topical treatment options include salicylic acid, liquid nitrogen, or canthardin.

Community acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureaus (CA-MRSA)

  • Also known as the superbug.
  • Easily spread among families and children at daycare centers and schools.
  • Presents itself as skin and soft tissue infections, such as cellulitis and open sores.
  • Treatment includes oral antibiotics such as clindamycin and tetracyclines.
  • To prevent CA-MRSA, children should wash their hands often, cuts and scrapes should be quickly cleaned and bandaged, and children should be taught not to touch other people's wounds or bandages.

Bug bites

  • The most common bug bites are from fleas, mosquitoes, wasps, or bees.
  • Some bug bites can cause bacterial infections, such as impetigo, a superficial infection of the skin characterized by yellow, crusted, well-defined lesions.
    • Impetigo is highly contagious and can be rapidly spread among children.
    • Treatment for impetigo includes the use of topical or oral antibiotics.
  • To avoid bug bites, apply an insect repellent with the ingredients permethrin or the chemical DEET.
  • Repellents containing permethrin should only be applied to clothing.
  • Permethrin has a residual effect through several washings and provides lasting protection.
  • Repellents containing DEET should have less than 10 percent concentration if applying to children.
  • Repellents with DEET should not be applied to babies younger than two months old.

Pediatric skin inflammations


  • This general term encompasses various inflamed skin conditions, including one of the most common forms of eczema, atopic dermatitis.
  • About 10 percent to 20 percent of the world's population is affected by this chronic, relapsing, and very itchy rash at some point during childhood.
  • It occurs most often on the face and scalp.
  • Can be confused with cradle cap, which is a red, scaly rash on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, and the skin behind the ears, and it usually clears on its own by 8 months.
  • Treatment options:
    • Nonprescription corticosteroid creams and ointments.
    • Prescription topical, steroid-free medications.
    • Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, which are prescription topical medications that belong to a class of drugs called calcineurin inhibitors and work by modulating the immune response.
  • The 2004 total direct cost associated with the treatment of atopic dermatitis/eczema (in both children and adults) was $1 billion. The majority of the cost, $154 million, is attributed to spending on prescription drugs1.

See your dermatologist for successful diagnosis and treatment of children's skin conditions.

Learn more:

1Source: The Burden of Skin Diseases 2004, copyright 2006, the Society for Investigational Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

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