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[5 min read] The role of the paediatric dermatologist
Paediatric dermatology specialises in treating various conditions that affect the health of skin, hair, and nails in infants, children, and adolescents.
For further information on this topic, you may be interested to learn more about the HealthCert Professional Diploma program in General Dermatology.
Paediatric dermatologists treat all types of skin conditions, ranging from acne to skin cancer. They also perform minor surgical procedures, such as:
- Skin biopsies
- Removal of cysts, warts, and other skin lesions
- Laser treatment of birthmarks and vascular changes
A paediatric dermatologist knows what the normal development of a child looks like. They can recognise certain medical disorders that do not exist in adults. Also, their experience in working with paediatric patients allows them to identify children-specific symptoms of common skin disorders, such as psoriasis.
Although the scientific approach to diagnosis and treatment is not significantly different, there are other valuable differences between paediatric and general dermatology. Patients’ age is the most important one.
In many cases, children cannot describe what’s bothering them or answer questions that aid a medical exam. Treating them requires a child-friendly approach and environment, using equipment designed specifically for such patients.
Paediatricians in primary care with adequate training in general dermatology also play a vital part in the prompt diagnosis and treatment of pediatric skin conditions.
Education and training requirements
It takes between seven and ten years to become a certified paediatric dermatologist. In addition to four years of medical school, one year of internship, three years of dermatology residency and one year of paediatric dermatology fellowship are necessary.
What conditions do paediatric dermatologists treat?
Paediatric dermatologists diagnose and treat various conditions. These include all types of surface-level skin problems, rashes, burns, and irritation, regardless of their cause.
Here is a list of conditions commonly treated by paediatric dermatologists:
- Skin infections
- Skin cancer
- Allergic reactions
The diagnostic process usually involves checking the child’s medical history, performing a physical exam, and running various tests. These may include blood tests, urine tests, and skin biopsy.
The treatment options include:
- Oral or topical medications,
- Dietary changes, and
- Surgical removal of skin growths
Common skin issues in children
Studies show that almost a third of children patients in primary care face a skin-related health problem.
Some skin disorders are more likely to affect pediatric patients. These include:
- Atopic dermatitis (eczema),
- Seborrheic dermatitis,
- Contact dermatitis,
- Acne, and
- Birthmarks (hemangiomas and port wine stains)
Paediatric dermatologists are at the forefront when it comes to treating these conditions. They have significant experience in dealing with them and are in a better position to use novel treatment options such as:
- Oral Propranolol for complex cases of infantile haemangiomas, or
- A combination of pulsed dye laser and topical sirolimus ointment for port-wine stains
Good communication with parents is essential in paediatric dermatology. The treatment of most dermatologic issues requires at-home maintenance efforts. That’s why parents need to understand and fulfill their role to achieve the best outcomes. The way to attain this doctor-parent cooperation is through education and counselling.
– Dr Rosmy De Barros
Read another article like this one.
- Prindaville B, Antaya RJ, Siegfried EC. Pediatric dermatology: past, present, and future [published correction appears in Pediatr Dermatol. 2015 Jul-Aug;32(4):562]. Pediatr Dermatol. 2015;32(1):1-12. doi:10.1111/pde.12362
- Castelo-Soccio L, McMahon P. Pediatric Dermatology. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(3):S8-S15.
- Ho T, Taylor MT, Marathe KS, Lucky AW, Barbieri JS. Most common pediatric skin conditions managed in outpatient dermatology clinics in the United States stratified by race and ethnicity. Pediatr Dermatol. 2021;38 Suppl 2:129-131. doi:10.1111/pde.14693
- Sebaratnam DF, Rodríguez Bandera AL, Wong LF, Wargon O. Infantile hemangioma. Part 2: Management. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021;85(6):1395-1404. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2021.08.020
2 comments on “[5 min read] The role of the paediatric dermatologist”
it is a long journey to become a pediatric dermatologist. According to the case rates, the sacrifice is opportune. Any case of Rosacea in the list of pediatric dermatologic diseases? Acne is a common and difficult affection that affects young people in my place.