When summer officially ends every late September, the somewhat stressful “Back-to-School” season is also pretty much over with – whew! The question is, did shopping for school supplies and other preparations also leave you well-prepared for dealing with inevitable school year skin problems?
Below are 5 of the most common causes of skin problems among schoolchildren, plus some practical skincare tips on how to prevent or treat them.
It’s remarkable how much stress affects the skin. Various rashes and acne are commonly caused by stress. So what can you do to help minimize the impact of stress on your children’s skin? Find the right tools and techniques to keep their stress levels low (easier said than done, but think communication, exercise & relaxation). Ensure they gently wash their face twice daily with a mild, natural cleanser and warm rather than hot water. And get them to use a hypoallergenic, lightweight moisturizer (with SPF 30 or higher sun protection) daily.
Hormones can play a huge role in causing acne for teens, and for an increasing numbers of “tweens” too. Getting your schoolkids into a consistent daily facial cleansing and skincare routine is extremely important. Visiting a dermatologist for the right acne treatment will be warranted in some cases. In extreme instances, you may also want to ask your family physician if hormone therapy is worth consideration.
Let’s face it. Here in South Florida, everyone sweats – which can cause rashes and acne breakouts. Training your children to seek shade outside and stay as dry as possible can help. Same with washing off sweat as soon as possible. Consider adding gentle, individually wrapped facial wipes, a lightweight, comfy cap or hat and a soft, absorbent washcloth or bandana to their daily backpack load. But remember to put that bandana in a baggie to keep it clean, and replace with a clean, dry one each day!
Autumn sports such as football can cause their own set of skin conditions. In Florida, there’s still the sun and heat causing heavy sweating. And sports helmets can cause folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles). Washing the face immediately after sports activity and cleaning helmet pads with rubbing alcohol are good preventive measures. Some sports uniforms and gear can also cause allergic reactions to some kids. If skin irritations develop in weeks after donning uniforms, a trip to your nearest Water’s Edge Dermatology office is in order.
Switching from summer’s tank-tops, shorts, and flip-flops to shoes, sneakers, and school uniforms can trigger common skin conditions, such as athlete’s foot. Breathable socks that wick away moisture from damp feet and over-the-counter foot powders that do the same can help prevent such fungal skin infections. New school uniforms should always be washed before first wearing, and if possible, given a day of “test-wearing” to identify any possible irritation or allergic reaction.
Of course, getting the kids on board with a program that addresses the 5 issues above can be…challenging. Explain to them that getting and keeping the clear skin they crave is the goal, the reason for all the extra efforts. Putting sticky notes on bathroom/bedroom mirrors at home with gentle and/or humorous reminders can also help. And if/when needed, virtually all of our dermatology providers specialize in pediatric dermatology as well as adult skincare.
For questions on common school year skin conditions affecting children, such as skin rashes, skin infections and head lice, please contact Water’s Edge Dermatology for an appointment with one of our practitioners by calling your local office, or toll-free at (877) 900-3223. You can also request an appointment online.
Here’s to you and your children having a happy, healthy school year!