Pediatric Dermatology

Although we think of perfect skin as "soft as a baby's bottom", sometimes children have skin issues as well. We're here to help.

Our littlest patients are hugely important to us, despite their small size. We treat a wide range of pediatric skin conditions, starting from the very first day of life. With an emphasis on gentle, conservative approaches to minimize discomfort for children and their families, our kid-friendly office means more than just having stickers--but don't worry, we have those too!  We focus on minimizing discomfort from procedures and use a variety of techniques that are evidence-based to help us accomplish this goal.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

The dry, scaly patches of atopic dermatitis which can bubble up to ooze and weep fluid are common in infants and children, and often begin within the first year of life. Affecting some 20% of children worldwide, the condition is generally very itchy, and may be severe enough to disrupt sleep, family life, and school. Because atopic dermatitis is not yet fully understood, it is important to learn how to take care of the skin safely and effectively so that it can heal. Our focus is on gentle, supportive treatments and we are the home of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center that specializes in alternative and complementary treatment approaches to atopic dermatitis as well.

Moles (Nevi)

Moles in children are generally benign, but still should be monitored for changes. Moles may be present at or shortly after birth, but also may develop during childhood and adolescence. Existing moles tend to grow proportionally as the child grows. Some moles may slowly darken, and others may lighten over time. While melanoma (a type of skin cancer arising from a mole) is rare in children, it is helpful for parents to be aware of any changes in color, size or shape of moles on their child. Most moles are round with a sharply defined border and single color. They may be flat or raised, but should maintain their symmetrical character and even coloring. Generally, no treatment is required unless a mole appears to be abnormal or is changing rapidly.

Birthmarks

Birthmarks are spots or growths on the skin that appear at or shortly after birth.There are many different types of birthmarks, most of which require no treatment. Hemangiomas, sometimes called “strawberries”, are deep red growths that enlarge for the first 1-2 years of life, then naturally fade over the following years, usually without treatment. However, hemangiomas in sensitive locations (such as around the eye or mouth) may require treatment. Capillary stains (“salmon patches”, “stork bites”, or “angel kisses”) are reddish patches that are similar to the darker and more purple port-wine stains. These can be treated with laser if needed, and are rarely associated with genetic conditions such as Sturge-Weber Syndrome. There are many other types of birthmarks that we can help evaluate and manage, including juvenile xanthogranuloma, nevus sebaceus, and epidermal nevus.

Diaper Rash

A very common condition in babies, most of the time diaper rash can be effectively managed by your pediatrician. However, sometimes it does not respond to the usual care and requires further testing and different therapies. From psoriasis, to severe yeast infections, to more rare conditions, we will guide the testing and therapy to solve the underlying issue.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

“Cradle cap” is one of the most common conditions in the first years of life, and is characterized by scaly patches on the scalp and face, that sometimes is inflamed. Thought to be a reaction to a natural skin yeast called Malassezia, we have gentle and effective treatments to clear things up and keep them clear.

Molluscum

Molluscum contagiosum (sometimes called "water warts" since the infection is often picked up from pools) is a common skin disease, frequently seen in children. It is caused by a virus that is spread from person to person through water, towels, or close contact. The characteristic dome-shaped bumps generally heal without treatment over time, but can become very inflamed or even infected by bacteria. Scratching or picking these bumps can spread the virus from one part of your body to another. When treatment is needed, we work to find the safest, pain-free approach for our pediatric patients to clear up the skin as quickly as possible.

Warts

Warts are common growths that are caused by a virus that is tremendously widespread. It can be spread simply by touch, and some individuals are more susceptible to infection than others. Warts may develop on any part of the body and can spread rapidly. Although they generally will go away on their own if untreated, this can take months or even years, and they can cause significant discomfort while present. There are many treatments for warts, from gentle home remedies to aggressive surgeries, with many options in between. Depending on the type of warts, their location and other factors, we work to find the best treatments to clear the warts quickly and with minimal discomfort when they need to be treated.

Acne

Acne results from a complex interaction between hormones, bacteria, inflammation cells, and the pores becoming clogged. Mostly affecting teens and young adults, acne can also occur in younger children and even has a variant in the neonatal period. There are numerous treatments for acne, from gentle washes, diet changes, and mild topical preparations, all the way up to more powerful light treatments and oral medications. We help guide the choice of the best treatment on a patient-by-patient basis taking into account many factors so that everyone is comfortable with the plan. We follow up closely to ensure that the treatments are working, and doing so safely.

Hairloss and Hair Disorders

Dermatology also includes the study of hair disorders. From localized patches of loss to larger areas of thinning, hair problems can affect people of all ages. Alopecia areata, thyroid problems, hormonal issues, infections, and other inflammatory and hereditary conditions can result in hair loss which can have a tremendous psychological impact on patients. We work to find the underlying cause and treat the root of the problem whenever possible.

Nail Disorders

Brittle nails, color or shape changes, swelling of the skin around the nails, thinning or thickening of the nails, bleeding or discharge, and pain around the nails are just some of the issues that can arise. Underlying medical problems can sometimes present with specific nail changes, while at other times the problem is limited just to the nails themselves. We can perform a variety of tests for unhealthy nails, including biopsy and culture, and will find the best treatment to restore the nails back to health.

Medical Dermatology Associates of Chicago