It must be hard for parents with children that have any type of skin problem. Their daily activities are disrupted by these irritating triggers and severe itchiness. So, what can parents do about it? Worry not, because in this fourth episode of AskMeDoctor! Season 2, we have Dr JoAnn Rajah, a paediatrician from ABC Children Specialist Clinic to answer all of our questions about children's skin conditions and health! Q1: Some people said skin problems are normal - what is 'normal'? Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Dr. JoAnn: Children experience many of the skin problems that adults experience as well. But in younger children, especially in babies, skin problem can be rather common because of their immature skin barrier, their sensitive skin as well as an underdeveloped immune system. But the good thing about this skin problem is, it is treatable and transient. Q2: What are the most common skin conditions among children? Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Dr. JoAnn: In babies, we generally see diaper rash, heat rash, as well as cradle caps. And of course, eczema is one of the main complaints that bring a child to see a doctor in the clinic. On rare occasions, we do see skin problems from bacterial, viral and fungal infection. Q3: What are the factors that lead to those skin problems? Dr. JoAnn: Every skin problem has different risk factors. \tDiaper Rash If we look at the diaper rash, it is due to the infrequent diaper changing that results in prolonged contact of the skin with urine and also poop. This leads to a skin irritation. Not only that, but the wearing of diapers also creates a very moist environment which encourages the growth of a fungus called Candida, leading to Candida diaper rash. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock \tHeat Rash The other example would be a heat rash. Living in Malaysia, which is a tropical country, we would experience a hot and humid climate throughout the year. And this can lead to clogged sweat pores, leading to heat rash.\u00a0 Photo Credit: Adobe Stock \tCradle Cap Another one which is quite interesting is the cradle cap. The exact mechanism in the cradle cap, is unknown. However, it is taught to be due to excessive oil production by the oil glands, as well as hair follicles, or the growth of a special fungus called Malassezia, or it can be a combination of both. Q4: Out of these conditions, which one is most likely will happen to our children? Dr. JoAnn: Any of these skin problems can occur in children. However, one of the upcoming skin conditions would be eczema. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Eczema is the condition where the skin gets inflamed or irritated. It is seen commonly in children who have a strong family history of allergies. 10 to 40% of children do have Eczema under the age of 14 years old.\u00a0 Q5: What are the symptoms of eczema? Dr. JoAnn: The most important symptoms of eczema or the salient point is intense itchiness. Other symptoms would include: \tRedness of the skin due to inflammation \tDryness of the skin leading to scaling \tThe skin having blisters \tCrusting and oozing \tThickening of the skin\u00a0 \tSkin discolouration.\u00a0 Q6: Is it true that eczema has several types? Dr. JoAnn: There are several types of eczema. However, the most common type is Atopic dermatitis. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Atopic dermatitis basically is a complex interaction between genetic predisposition which relates to a child who has a strong family history of allergies - which interacts with environmental triggers, and due to the abnormal immune response. Q7: What are the causes of eczema? Dr. JoAnn: Eczema is a complex interaction between genetic predisposition with environmental triggers. The triggers of eczema would include: \tProlonged contact of the skin with sweat \tSweat acts as a skin irritant \tHarsh cleansers\u00a0 \tContact with Aeroallergens (mole, pollen and animal fur) \tOvergrowth of bacteria (staphylococcus aureus) \tStress \tThe child is unwell Q8: Is eczema treatable? If yes, how can it be treated? Dr. JoAnn: Eczema is treatable, but it is not curable. The most important things in treating eczema are to relieve the itchy, to reduce the inflammation and to prevent further eczema flare out. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Depending on how bad the eczema is, the treatment can include giving: \tOral antihistamine \tAntibiotic cream \tSteroid cream \tVetraps \tSteroid sparing agents But at the same time, it is important to maintain the hydration of the skin with a good hypoallergenic moisturizer as well as using a gentle cleanser. And the best time to moisturise your skin or your baby\u2019s skin would be within 3 minutes after bathing. Q9: Is eczema hereditary? Dr. JoAnn: Yes, it is. In a child with one allergic parent, the risk of the child developing eczema\u00a0or any other allergy is as high as 20 to 40%, and this increases to 60 to 80% if both parents are affected. Q10: When should I see a Paediatrician? Dr. JoAnn: Seeing a paediatrician is the most important thing. Well, when we talk about rash generally, any rash which comes along with fever. \tRashes Parents do need to be more conscious and bring their child to see a doctor. That also includes rash which causes discomfort to a child, to such an extent that it disturbs the child\u2019s daily activities. For example feeding and sleeping. \tSkin infection Next, any skin infection that looks like there is a bacterial infection. This skin condition tends to worsen with BP, discharge or past discharge. And last but not least, a skin condition which is rapidly progressing in which the skin is in red, swelling and also painful to touch. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock Skin condition in children is common. However, the good thing about it is that it is conscious and socially treatable. But for children with eczema specifically, having a good moisturisation regime and also avoiding the trigger factors is very important to reduce the flare out.\u00a0 https:\/\/youtu.be\/X1jYl-MaI-0 Stay tuned with the next episode of AskMeDoctor! at our Facebook page and Motherhood Story.