Dr. Alan Greene on Skin Problems

Is my child going to have a skin condition for life?


My son is only 8 years old and he already has skin problems. Is he destined to have skin problems when he is older? He's had small bumps on his cheeks since he was 2.


It depends on the skin problem. The most common ongoing skin condition in kids is eczema (atopic dermatitis). Most kids with eczema will outgrow it or at least have it improved significantly.

As for the bumps, there are a number of things those might be. One of the most common is something called keratosis pilaris. This refers to little plugs in the hair follicles that show up as small, white bumps on the back of the arms. It looks like gooseflesh and usually shows up at age 2 or 3, but improves by puberty.

The simplest treatment is a good moisturizer (these problems happen most on dry skin) and to be sure that he's getting enough vitamin A (the amount found in a multivitamin -- not too much). Adding a gentle acid to the moisturizer, such as uric acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid, can improve it even more (though treatment is not necessary).


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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