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Pediatric dermatology is the field which treats skin, hair, and nail conditions in children. Conditions may range from mild rashes to complex skin disorders. A pediatric dermatologist can diagnose conditions through visual examination, biopsy (tissue collection), or blood testing. When a skin disorder is detected, pediatric dermatologists prescribe treatment based on the patient's age, medical history, and symptoms.
A pediatric dermatologist may treat the following conditions, among others:
Treatment options include laser therapy, light therapy, surgery, and topical or oral medications. Pediatric dermatologists may use an advanced pulsed dye laser (PDL), a type of laser treatment, to treat vascular birthmarks. A pulsed dye laser directs heat to destroy or reduce the birthmark's irregular blood vessels. Lasers will not completely erase a mark, but will greatly diminish its appearance. Photolight therapy uses an ultraviolet light to disrupt the growth of eczema-affected skin cells. Cutaneous surgery involves small incisions to remove a benign (non-cancerous) skin growth. For chronic (persistent) skin disorders like atopic psoriasis, pediatric dermatologists may prescribe a regimen of topical antibiotics or ointments. Some pediatric skin conditions will require monitoring and treatment throughout childhood, while others may resolve with early intervention. Disorders such as acne may be self-treated without constant dermatologist supervision.
Pediatric dermatologists frequently advise families to make necessary lifestyle changes to avoid allergens or environmental triggers that aggravate a child's skin condition. Pediatric dermatologists may work with specialists such as pediatric plastic surgeons, pediatric rheumatologists, and pediatric allergy and immunologists to develop personalized care plans.