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Paediatric dermatological conditions

Babies generally have smooth, soft skin, but sometimes their delicate skin can become dry, flaky and inflamed. It's essential to practise good routine skincare to preserve your baby's tender skin; however, some skin conditions occur spontaneously. Atopic dermatitis or eczema can affect the skin harshly if not it’s treated early.

What’s eczema?

Eczema is a condition that causes red, flaky and irritated skin. Atopic dermatitis occurs when the skin’s protective barrier weakens and becomes damaged as a result of your child’s exposure to allergens and irritants.

What are the signs of eczema?

Although the symptoms of eczema vary, the most common sign of the condition is red, scaly patches on the skin.

Other signs of the condition include:

  • Itching
  • A rash that appears on the scalp, cheeks, elbows or knees
  • Small bumps on the skin that weep fluid when irritated
What does the diagnosis involve?

There's no particular test that your paediatrician uses to diagnose eczema, but it’s essential to rule out other illnesses that are related to skin inflammation. Dr Vahed examines your little one’s skin to check for rashes and flaky, discoloured patches. The paediatrician reviews your child’s medical history and checks for genetic ties to eczema as well.

An allergy or patch test identifies irritants that trigger allergic reactions. This hypersensitive skin test picks up materials like perfume, rubber or metal which are responsible for skin breakouts. A patch test, however, doesn’t determine whether food allergies are a cause of eczema.

What does treatment involve?

Although eczema isn’t curable, its symptoms can be managed. Dr Vahed first recommends parents remove allergens and irritants to reduce eczema-related breakouts. Treatment may either be oral or topical.

Types of treatments include:
  • Moisturisers: Skin cleansing must happen at least three times a day. It’s important to pat the skin dry first before moisturising the skin. Petroleum jelly and certain creams contain oil and are more useful than lotions which contain too much water.
  • Corticosteroid creams: Corticosteroid creams reduce skin inflammation. It’s vital to use a cream that the paediatrician prescribes and not utilise someone else’s ointment. These creams function at different strengths and can damage sensitive skin.
  • Topical anti-inflammatories: Anti-inflammatory medication alters how skin responds to allergens.
  • Oral medication: Anti-allergic medication promotes healthy sleeping patterns and reduces itchiness for your child.
  • Phototherapy (light therapy): Narrowband ultraviolet light or B (NB-UVB) is a general type of light therapy that is used to treat eczema. Ultraviolet (UV) light is directed to widespread or localised areas to reduce inflammation. When topical creams don’t work, light therapy is a treatment option.
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