Most kids are born with skin that is smooth, soft and oh-so kissable, but keeping your child's skin healthy and beautiful as they grow isn’t always simple. Dermatology professionals can make a big difference in caring for even the littlest patients.
When should you seek the care of a dermatology professional?
Dermatologists specialize in conditions that affect your child’s skin, nails and hair, whether those conditions are caused by genetic factors, autoimmune conditions, infections, allergies or the environment.
Michelle Bruner, DO, FAOCD is a board certified Dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, the 2022 presenting sponsor of the Healthy Family Fair. Advanced Dermatology has more than 150 offices nationwide and several in the Tampa Bay area.
But it’s more than Dr. Bruner’s professional training, knowledge and experience that make her eminently qualified to talk about getting and keeping children and teen’s skin healthy… she is also a mommy to two “squiggly, squirmy kiddos.”
“If your child has any skin issue that’s not getting better, seeing a specialist early on is really a good idea,” said Dr. Bruner. “We can help.
“If your child has moles, they’re always growing and changing. In adults, that can be a cause for concern. In children, it’s good to get a baseline body scan and to monitor those moles, especially if mom or dad has a family history of skin cancer.”
From cradle cap and diaper rash to eczema and warts
“In our practice, we see a lot of little babies with eczema, dry skin, rashes, atopic dermatitis, and skin infections. We see inherited skin conditions, vascular growths/birthmarks, warts, molluscum, and different viral rashes. Some conditions like eczema and psoriasis are chronic and may require management over time. Others are acute and can be treated quickly or will resolve on their own.
“Some, like vascular growths and autoimmune conditions, can possibly be a sign that other things may be going on in the body.
“We’ve seen treatments in the past 15 years become more effective and more sophisticated. That’s been a real game changer for the treatment of vascular growths, eczema and psoriasis.”
Changing the face of acne
Some of the deepest scars acne can leave behind may not be visible at all.
“The best time to see us about acne is right away,” said Dr. Bruner. “Acne can occur as young as nine or 10 and have a significant impact now and later in life if there are scars. It can rob kids of their sense of security and confidence. This isn’t a “cosmetic” thing. This is a medical thing. There is no exact acne regimen that works for everyone, and it can take time to get an active case under control. Over-the-counter products can actually make acne worse if they contain harsh, irritating ingredients.
“We have an arsenal of treatments available: medicines that can literally change the face of acne. And there are more are on the horizon. Since acne comes in different forms, it’s important to find a doctor you can trust, who really cares about you and will help you find the best treatments for your individual needs.”
Every sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer later on
“The very best sunscreen is the sunscreen you’ll use,” said Dr. Bruner. “Being a mom has taught me it’s hard to lather up a squiggly kiddo. The more sun protective clothing kids wear, the better. For babies under six months, sun protective clothing and sun avoidance are preferred methods of protection. For exposed areas, I do recommend at least 30 SPF, physical sunscreen. Other kids, regardless of skin tone, should wear sunscreen anytime they'll be outdoors.
“Sunscreen should be at least a 30 SPF and water resistant. It should be broad spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB rays. It’s better to use physical screens rather than chemical ones – the sun’s rays bounce off physical sunscreens like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
“Most people are using only 20 – 50% of what they should. We can help you pick a good sunscreen for your kids’ needs, including sunscreens for acne-prone kids, and sunscreens for for all skin types.”
Hair loss… in children?
While much is said about men and thinning hair, women often experience hair loss, too, especially after pregnancy, stress or trauma. And dermatology professionals treat all those.
Surprisingly, kids experience hair loss, too.
“Autoimmune conditions, stress and other factors can cause hair loss in kiddos,” said Dr. Bruner. “If you have a child who is losing hair, your dermatology professional can help evaluate the cause.”
Taking care of your kids’ mom is important, too
One of the best ways to take care of your family is to take care of yourself.
“Teens aren’t the only ones who experience breakouts. We see a lot of moms and grandmas who have hormonal acne, and we are very good at identifying and treating it.
“We encourage women (and men) to have annual Total-Body Skin Cancer Exams.
The earlier we detect skin cancer the better, especially with melanoma, the deadliest kind.
“When it comes to cosmetic dermatology and our aesthetic treatments – one size does not fit all. Pigmentation, fine lines, red and brown spots, wrinkles, dull or lax skin. We have treatments that address them all. It’s never too early or too late to begin taking care of your skin. You can spend a lot of money on services or products that don’t make much of a difference. We’ve got years of medical training and clinical experience behind the recommendations we make.”
Not just little adults
“Kids are not just small grownups,” said Dr. Bruner. “They have their own set of ‘stuff’. We must treat the whole presentation, the whole human, no matter how little. We look for the most compassionate, safest, and most comfortable way possible to care for kids who come to us for their care.
“Because we have colleagues who are experts in so many different areas, we can reach out to a “community” to find answers to even the most complex situations. All that is built in.
“We use everything we’ve got to help kids feel healthy and to face life with confidence. And fortunately, we’ve got a lot,” said Dr. Bruner.