Common Paediatric Skin Conditions (A Guide For Parents)


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Lee Hwee Chyen

MBBS MRCP (UK) FAMS (Dermatology)

Common Paediatric Skin Conditions (A Guide For Parents)

Paediatric skin conditions may appear as rashes, discolouration, bumps or dry skin and may occur anywhere on a child’s body. Learning about these conditions can help parents identify potential problems early and seek appropriate medical care. This article will be exploring the symptoms, causes & treatment options of common paediatric skin conditions.

Understanding Skin Conditions in Children

Children’s skin is unique and differs significantly from adult skin. It’s thinner, more sensitive, and capable of rapid healing. Additionally, the immune systems of children are still developing, which can make them more susceptible to certain skin conditions.

Skin conditions often mirror the internal health of an individual. This can be particularly revealing for children as their bodies are still growing and developing. Dermatological issues can serve as early warning signs of underlying health conditions. They can also indicate that a child’s skin has come into contact with an irritant or allergen.

Common Paediatric Skin Conditions

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. It is most common in children, though it can occur at any age.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Persistent itching, which may be particularly severe at night
  • Red or brownish-grey patches, particularly on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, and in areas of skin that bend
  • Small, raised bumps that may leak fluid and crust over if scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive skin from scratching

Common Triggers:

  • Certain food allergies (such as eggs, milk, wheat, and soy products)
  • Environmental factors (pollen, dust mites, and pet dander)
  • Irritants (harsh soaps, detergents, shampoos, and disinfectants)
  • Fabrics ( wool or synthetic fibres)
  • Stress and hormones

Management and Treatment Options:

  • Regular use of moisturisers to hydrate the skin
  • Topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors to reduce inflammation
  • Avoiding known triggers
  • Antihistamines to reduce severe itching

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is a common form of inflamed, irritated skin on a baby’s bottom.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Red, inflamed skin in the diaper area
  • The child seems uncomfortable or distressed, especially during diaper changes
  • In severe cases, the rash can cause blisters or sores


  • Infrequent diaper changes leading to prolonged exposure to urine or stool
  • Irritation from a new product, such as baby wipes, diapers, or laundry detergent
  • Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection
  • Introduction of new foods affecting the content and frequency of stools

Management and Treatment Options:

  • Changing diapers frequently to reduce moisture
  • Cleaning the area gently with water instead of wipes
  • Using a diaper rash cream or ointment that contains zinc oxide
  • Giving the baby’s bottom more air time to dry out the area

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin infection caused by a virus, which results in raised, pearl-like nodules or papules on the skin.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Small, firm, round bumps on the skin with a small indentation centrally


  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person
  • Indirect contact through shared items like towels or toys
  • Scratching or shaving can spread the bumps to other parts of the body

Management and Treatment Options:

  • Often, the condition resolves on its own over time without treatment
  • Topical treatments can be applied to individual lesions
  • In some cases, minor surgical procedures may be needed for removal


Impetigo is a common and highly contagious skin infection, mainly affecting infants and children.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Red sores or blisters that rapidly rupture
  • Itching in the affected area
  • Swollen lymph nodes in severe cases
  • May also develop yellow-brown crusts


  • Bacterial infection, often from Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Entering through a break in the skin, such as a cut, insect bite or rash

Management and Treatment Options:

  • Topical antibiotics for mild impetigo
  • Oral antibiotics for more widespread or severe impetigo
  • Keeping the affected area clean and covered to prevent the spread

Ringworm (Tinea)

Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin, characterised by a red or silvery ring-like rash.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Red, circular patches of skin that may be slightly raised
  • Itching in the affected area
  • Scalp ringworm may lead to patches of hair loss


  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or pet
  • Indirect contact through shared items like towels, hairbrushes or clothing
  • Fungus thrives in warm, moist areas

Management and Treatment Options:

  • Topical antifungal creams or ointments
  • Prescription-strength oral antifungal medication for more severe or widespread infections

Prevention and Home Care for Skin Conditions

Routine skin care for children includes:

  • Bathing in lukewarm (not hot) water
  • Using gentle, unscented soaps
  • Regularly applying moisturisers to keep skin hydrated
  • Using a humidifier in dry climates or seasons

Parents should consult a skin specialist when:

  • Symptoms persist despite home care
  • The child is in discomfort or pain
  • The skin condition appears to be spreading
  • There are signs of infection, such as fever, increased redness or pus


Understanding common paediatric skin conditions can aid parents in early detection and management. Parents can ensure their child’s skin health is appropriately addressed and treated by maintaining good skincare habits and a vigilant eye. If your child’s symptoms are persistent or worsening, consult our paediatric dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

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