It is recommended that parents bring their children to their first dermatologist screening between the ages of 12-15. In these early teenage years, kids are starting to battle acne, making it a prime opportunity for an initial skin screening. Plus, this is a good time to begin the conversation about the importance of sun protection and wearing sunscreen so they don’t get skin cancers later in life. One of the most important things you can do for your skin at a young age is to protect it from the sun. It is critically important for children to develop the habit of wearing sunscreen and learn to protect their skin. Eye protection from the sun is critical too. Teenagers, remember to wear sunglasses when you’re outside, particularly at sports practices. Also, avoid tanning beds. There is clear research that shows an increased risk of melanoma with the use of tanning beds.
While skin cancer in kids isn’t a common occurrence, there are multiple skin conditions that could affect your child, specifically acne and rashes.
Acne is basically something that many of us go through during our teenage years. Our goal as dermatologists is not only to help teenagers treat acne but to treat the scarring that may come from it. Scarring is much more difficult to treat than it is to prevent. Acne is a frustrating skin disease and it takes time and patience using treatments to see improvements. The biggest mistake teens make when it comes to acne is not sticking to a routine, or not sticking to the routine long enough. Many patients will try multiple products for 1-2 weeks at a time, then stop it because they believe it doesn’t work. In reality, it takes most treatments 2-3 months to bring visible improvement to the skin. Rather than jump from product to product, teenagers need to simplify their routine. How do you find a routine that actually works? Acne is inflammation — and inflammation always needs time to respond to treatment. Beware if a cream states it will clear your acne in one week!
Talk to your doctor about finding a treatment regimen that’s best for your skin type — then stick to it for at least three months before following up with your doctor.
Sunscreen is also vitally important to prevent acne scarring. Regular application of sunscreen will help prevent some of the red marks that acne can leave behind. Plus, it can reduce and minimize scarring. Your skin is already inflamed because of the acne, so adding the irritation of a sunburn compounds the issue and makes long-term scars more likely.
Kids are also prone to rashes. It’s common to see rashes form after a cold, virus, or in response to a new medication. If you notice red, itchy, dry skin on your child that doesn’t fade in a few weeks, talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a red, itchy, inflamed rash that commonly appears in childhood and can last into adulthood. Children may need a treatment to control the inflammation that comes with this skin condition.
Family history of seasonal allergies and/or asthma may be at higher risk for developing eczema or having children with eczema. There’s a lot of information (and misinformation) about eczema online. If you suspect eczema on your child, a consultation with a dermatologist is the best first step.
We can manage the symptoms of eczema however, there is not a cure. We typically start with good skincare, including gentle soaps, thick lotions, and reducing the frequency and duration of bathing time. If necessary, we can also prescribe topical creams and ointments to decrease the inflammation. We also have a biologic medication that is extremely effective for treating severe eczema in people age 12 and older.
For more information on these topics, please go to AAD.org
To schedule a free consultation, visit AssociatedDermHelena.com, email LaserClinic@AssociatedDermHelena.com, or call (406) 324-7447