Children's dermatitis: a guide to the most common ones in early childhood

Fonte: shutterstock

In this article

  • Meaning of dermatitis
  • Diaper rash
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • atopic dermatitis
  • Sudamina or miliaria
  • Childhood psoriasis
  • Contact dermatitis

Dermatitis, inflammatory skin disease

Let's start with a definition: "Dermatitis literally means inflammatory process of the skin"specifies Cesare Filippeschi, dermatologist specialist at the Meyer Children's Hospital in the city. He is therefore a generic term, which refers to various conditions, with different characteristics and causes, and which can cause various symptoms, including:

  • redness (erythema);
  • itch;
  • peeling;
  • appearance of bubbles;
  • appearance of small skin tears.

So let's see what the most common forms in young and very young children.

Diaper rash

It is an inflammation that affects the groin and bottom region, which is precisely the region covered by the diaper. Generally banal and transitoryshouldn't cause concern.


Diaper rash: photos to recognize it

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Inflammation of the skin on the bottom and genitals is called "erythema or diaper rash" and is common in the first months of a baby's life. In the form...

In the most common form, due to the rubbing the diaper on the skin and all 'action of irritating substances contained in urine and faeces, manifests itself with a redness of the skin (erythema, in fact), which can also appear slightly swollen and hot to the touch. More rarely, however, it can be due to other causes, such as infections or other diseases of the child.

The care

Il treatment is very simple: it involves changing the diaper often, washing the bottom well with running water and a delicate detergent at each change, and drying it with simple tampons; apply a soothing and protective cream (better not too pasty), e do not over-tighten the diaper. "Better to avoid, however, disposable wipes and talcum powder, and absolutely not the use of drugs (antibiotic creams, antifungal and cortisone creams) without a doctor's indication", Filippeschi points out.

Read also: Diaper rash (or erythema): the 4 things to know

Seborrheic dermatitis

"It is commonly known as cradle cap, even if milk - specifies the dermatologist - has nothing to do with it". It is actually called that because it is typical of infants, since it usually appears around 2/3 months of life, and then disappears around the sixth.


Seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap) in children: photos to recognize it

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Seborrheic dermatitis (or better known as cradle cap) manifests as small, greasy, yellow scales on the baby's head, forehead, and eyebrows. It depends on a ...

It is characterized by the appearance of yellowish scales typically located on the scalp, forehead, browbones and regions behind the ears and a erythema which can affect the face, neck, trunk and even the groin area. "The appearance can actually be challenging and it can be unpleasant, but it is by no means a serious disease and in many cases it tends to disappear by itself" reassures Filippeschi. Only if it persists for a long time can it be a sign of a predisposition to psoriasis or atopic dermatitis.

It is not yet completely clear what seborrheic dermatitis depends on: "What we know - states Filippeschi - is that there is an increased growth of cells in the superficial layer of the skin".

The care

In milder forms it can also do nothing, or just apply one emollient cream which helps to remove the scales without traumatizing them. "Instead, no mechanical removal, with combs or other, which can aggravate the situation" advises the dermatologist. In the most serious forms, it is advisable to consult a specialist doctor, who may recommend cortisone-based creams to be used locally.

atopic dermatitis

"Also known as atopic eczema, atopic dermatitis is a classic disease of the first 6/7 years of life and it usually appears in the first two years, starting from 5/6 months of age "explains pediatrician Elena Galli, head of the dermatitis commission of the Del Paesena Society of pediatric allergology and immunology. quite frequent, which affects about 2-3 out of ten children.

If you present with erythema and scales which usually appear on the face and in skin folds, for example in the elbows and knees. The skin lesions are also itchy and annoying.

Again, theand causes are not yet fully understood:

  • probably there is a genetic predisposition to do with it, relating in particular to the functioning of the immune system,
  • and triggers such as environmental pollutants, stress, emotional problems.

"What is important to underline is that, unlike what has always been believed, it is not an allergic form and therefore the child with atopic eczema should not be automatically considered allergic "states Filippeschi." Of course, there may be a connection with allergies, in the sense that skin lesions, especially in the most severe and persistent forms, can facilitate the entry of antigens - the agents that trigger allergies - and this can facilitate the onset of future respiratory or food allergies over time ".


Atopic dermatitis in children: photos to recognize it

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It is a form of eczema, which involves about 30% of children, characterized by skin lesions, generally very itchy, with a chronic-relapsing course, which usually appear ...

How to cure

La therapy varies greatly depending on the type of injury on the skin - red or skin-colored patches, moist or dry, thick or thin - and the severity of the disease. They range from the simple application of moisturizing and emollient creams, which help restore the skin's normal protective barrier and should always be used, even in the "quiet" periods of the disease, with more specific anti-inflammatory products, in particular creams with cortisone.

For daily management, it is important to remember some practical tips:

  • avoid aggressive detergents for hygiene. Washes must be daily but short, with warm water and delicate products. Drying must also be delicate, dabbing with soft towels;
  • avoid skin contact with synthetic clothing or raw wool, which cause itching;
  • hold the very short nails to reduce the risk of scratching injuries;
  • apply daily a moisturizing and emollient product.

According to the Consensus Del Paeseno on the management of atopic dermatitis in children these products go applied on the entire skin surface one or more times a day, in sufficient quantity according to different variables, such as the extent of dryness, the climatic conditions, the possible practice of sports activities. Among the emollient creams, those of the latest generation, containing ceramides and lamellar lipids, which help replenish the damaged skin barrier. According to the aforementioned document, products with a higher lipid content are indicated above all in the winter season.

Fear of steroids?

"Often the parents of children with atopic dermatitis present a real one corticophobia, a refusal to use these drugs"emphasizes the dermatologist." But beware: there is nothing to fear. If applied according to the doctor's instructions, and alternating with emollient creams, these products are essential to reduce the abrasions of the baby's skin and improve his quality of life, without side effects ".

The so-called therapeutic education, a 360 ° approach to atopic dermatitis, which allows to teach the child and his family not only the correct application of the therapy, but also the best ways to live with the disorder, which is certainly annoying, but is not serious or contagious and it can resolve spontaneously without results.

miliaria o sudamina

"Sudamina is simply a inflammatory process of the sweat glands which occurs almost physiologically as a consequence of a significant temperature change, for example when the child sweats a lot "explains Filippeschi.

So it can appear - the typical manifestation is given by transparent microbubbles on the skin - in summer, but also in winter, if the baby is covered up too much. The treatment is simple: usually just do a few refreshing bath, and avoid exposing the baby to situations in which the heat is excessive.

After the skin manifestation has passed it may be useful to apply a light veil of moisturizer to restore the softness of the skin.

Childhood psoriasis

As explained in an in-depth analysis of the website of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, it is a disease "characterized by the presence of rounded patches of reddish color, typically covered with whitish scales usually not itchy ".


Psoriasis in children: photos to recognize it

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Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease. The most common form, both in adults and children, is vulgar (plaque) psoriasis, which in ...

In the most classic form, typical of the adult, these lesions mainly affect the external surfaces of the limbs, and in particular the elbows and knees, and the lumbar region. In children, where it is anyway quite rare, it can also affect the groin area - in this sense it can be considered a form of diaper rash - the scalp and skin folds of the elbows, groin and knees: in this case we speak of inverse psoriasis.

It is considered one multifactorial disease, that is, caused by a combination of factors, in particular a genetic predisposition on which triggering factors such as mechanical trauma (rubbing), infections, emotional factors etc. are inserted.

The care

The therapy involves the application - depending on the case - of various types of creams, from simply emollient and moisturizing creams, to anti-inflammatory cortisone-based creams, to so-called keratolytic creams, which facilitate the detachment of the scales.

Contact dermatitis

They are those caused by contact with various types of allergenic substances that may be present in the environment, in particular:

  • metals such as nickel and chromium,
  • drugs,
  • perfumes,
  • dyes.

"I am however very rare in young children"says Galli." They tend to increase in frequency, up to 20% of children's dermatitis, only when school age is reached and it is easier to come into contact with allergenic substances ".

  • dermatitis
  • milk crust
  • eczema atopico
  • Sudamina
  • contact dermatitis
  • newborn 4-8 months
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