Healthy skin habits for your family

Skin care is not limited to anti-wrinkle and anti-acne creams. When it comes to healthy skin, it’s never too early to put kids on the right track. Pediatrician Nora Fahden, MD, of Stanford Children’s Health’s Bayside Medical Group in San Ramon, offers some tips for keeping skin healthy and what to do if something goes wrong.

According to Dr. Fahden, it’s easy to take our skin for granted when there are no obvious problems. “Our skin sort of exists, but it’s a very important organ in the body,” she says. Not only is our skin the largest organ in the human body, but it has several big jobs to do: protect our body from germs and the elements; regulation of body temperature; and communicate sensations of cold, heat and of course touch.

Daily ways to keep skin healthy

With so much at stake, healthy skin is important even for the youngest of us. Dr. Fahden recommends starting with a few daily habits to help protect this vulnerable organ. The first and most important is to use sunscreen SPF 30 or higher daily to protect the skin from harmful UV rays, even on cloudy or rainy days.

Next, she emphasizes the value of regular bathing in promoting healthy skin. “A nighttime bath removes allergens from the skin, removes germs from the skin, and helps moisture penetrate the skin,” she explains. Not to mention the added benefit when it comes to getting the kids ready for bed. “It will actually drop your body temperature a few degrees once you go outside, and that’s a trigger for sleep,” says Dr. Fahden.

However, she also notes that parents should avoid scented soaps or bubble baths as much as possible. “The more the soap bubbles, lathers and lathers, the more it will dry out the child’s skin,” she says. “You really want a soap that’s a bit more boring and has a milky texture that doesn’t really lather much.”

It is also essential to pay attention to product labeling. “If your child has sensitive skin, you may think you can buy something that says ‘all natural’ or ‘scent-free,’ but what you really want to look for is ‘scent-free,'” she says. . After a soothing bath, Dr. Fahden suggests using a gentle cream or ointment rather than a water-based lotion or alcohol-based gel to help skin stay hydrated.

Managing children’s skin conditions

Eczema. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is quite common: “More than one in 10 children will be affected by eczema.” For most children, the eczema will go away on its own around their first birthday. However, some children will have it for several years. Although many things can cause rashes in early childhood, itching is the hallmark of the condition. “Eczema is really defined by itching. If it’s not itchy, it’s not eczema,” says Dr. Fahden.

Although there may be a link between eczema and certain food allergies, Dr. Fahden recommends consulting a pediatrician or allergist before making any changes to your child’s diet. “So many research studies over the years show that it doesn’t really prevent flare-ups from happening in most children,” she says. “Eliminating things from the diet can reduce calories [and] nutrients they need to grow, so we really don’t recommend trying systematically or blindly to simply eliminate items from the diet.

The first line of defense against eczema is to create a daily routine with a nightly bath to flush out allergens. Keep the water lukewarm, as hot water can dry out the skin and cause a breakout. Then use a regular cream or ointment like Vaseline immediately after bathing.

If your child’s eczema gets worse or you have a concern, take pictures of the affected area to share with your pediatrician. If needed, there are prescription creams and ointments or topical steroids that can help if the inflammation is severe.

Urticaria. Urticaria, also called urticaria, is another form of skin rash that appears as red welts, which can be itchy. According to Dr Fahden, “Talking about hives is tricky because they can either be part of something serious and life-threatening – an anaphylactic reaction – or, in most cases, be completely harmless and benign”. Watch for signs of a serious allergic reaction: You should call 911 immediately if your child has hives, itching, and other symptoms like a swollen face, difficulty breathing, and vomiting.

However, not all hives warrant an emergency room visit. “If your child has hives but is reading a book and is perfectly happy, maybe a little itchy, then you really don’t have to worry at all. You can just call your pediatrician If your child is old enough, oral antihistamine medications like diphenhydramine or cetirizine along with a cool compress on the hives can reduce itching.

There are many triggers for hives, including viruses, plant irritation, and even temperature changes. However, pinpointing the exact cause is often difficult, says Dr. Fahden. Fortunately, most cases of chronic hives go away on their own within a year.

Warts. Warts are another condition that Dr. Fahden commonly sees in his practice. Although not usually a cause for concern, the virus that causes warts can be spread through contact. To avoid this, she recommends keeping warts covered with a bandage and making sure the child doesn’t share things like nail clippers and washcloths. “Warts are aesthetically disturbing, but they’re pretty harmless,” she says.

Over-the-counter treatments that contain salicylic acid can help clear a wart over time. “Patience is one of the main ingredients in treating a wart. It really takes weeks, not days, for a wart to get better,” says Dr. Fahden.

When parents have doubts about a rash or other skin condition, Dr. Fahden recommends taking pictures to share with the pediatrician. “There’s just no wrong question,” she says. “Parents should really feel free to take pictures and send them to us so we can find out what’s going on.”