Paediatric dermatologist in stellenbosch

Conditions encountered in this patient population include:
 

Birthmarks

Birthmarks are coloured marks that are visible on the skin. They’re often present at birth or develop soon afterwards.

There are several different types of birthmark and some of them are very common.

 

The two main types of birthmarks are:

  • vascular birthmarks (often red, purple or pink) caused by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin
  • pigmented birthmarks (usually brown) caused by clusters of pigment cells

 

Vascular birthmarks often occur in the head and neck area, mainly on the face. But both types of birthmark can appear anywhere, including inside the body.

If surface blood vessels are affected, a vascular birthmark will appear red, purple or pink. If the affected vessels are deep, the birthmark will appear blue.

Pigmented birthmarks are tan or brown-coloured skin marks.

 

Treating birthmarks

Most birthmarks are harmless and don’t need to be treated. Some types of birthmarks will fade over time, whereas other types will be permanent if they’re not treated.

In some cases, a birthmark will need to be treated for medical reasons or to prevent complications. 

Read more about dangerous moles on your children’s skin.

Diaper rashes

What is a diaper rash?

  • A diaper rash is a skin rash that happens anywhere in the area that is covered by a diaper. Diaper rashes are very common.

 

What causes diaper rash?

Diaper rash can be caused by:

  • The urine or bowel movement in the diaper – these can irritate the skin.
  • Perfumes or dyes in a diaper that a baby’s skin is allergic to
  • Skin conditions or infections that happen in the diaper area but are not caused by wearing a diaper

 

What are the symptoms of a diaper rash?

  • Red, painful, or itchy skin
  • Raised, peeling, or scaly areas
  • Yellow blisters filled with fluid

 

How should I treat the diaper rash?

  • Take the diaper off to air out the skin as much as possible
  • Change your baby’s diaper frequently and right after each bowel movement
  • Gently clean the area covered by the diaper
  • Put a skin ointment or paste on the area each time you change the diaper
  • Use disposable diapers instead of cloth diapers.

If the rash is severe or infected, your doctor might prescribe a medicine for you to use on the area.

ECZEMA / ATOPIC DERMATITIS

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchy, dry and flaky skin. Another term for eczema is “atopic dermatitis.”

 

What are the symptoms of eczema?

  • Severe itching
  • Redness
  • Small bumps
  • Dry scaling skin

 

Eczema can look different in people of different ages and different skin types:

  • In babies, eczema affects the front of the arms and legs, cheeks, or scalp.
  • In older children and adults, eczema often affects the sides of the neck, the elbow creases, and the backs of the knees.
  • Adults can also get it on their wrists, hands, forearms, and face.
  • In older children and adults, the skin can become thick and dark, and can even form scars from too much scratching.
  • In darker skin types, eczema may present as multiple small bumps.

 

How can I treat my symptoms at home?

Use unscented thick moisturizing creams and ointments for dry skin.

Avoid triggers that can exacerbate eczema, such as:

  • Being too hot or sweating too much
  • Being in very dry air
  • Harsh soaps or cleaning products
  • Perfumes
  • Wool or synthetic fabrics (like polyester)

 

Medical treatment for eczema.

Using regular moisturisers and avoiding triggers may not be enough to control your eczema.

The medical treatments for eczema include:

  • Moisturizing creams or ointments
  • Steroid creams and ointments
  • Medicines that change the way the immune system works
  • Light therapy
  • Prescription systemic therapies

About half of children with eczema grow out of it by the time they become adults.

 

Can eczema be prevented?

Babies who have a parent, brother, or sister with eczema have a higher risk of getting it, too.

In these babies, using moisturizing creams or ointments (starting right after birth) might help prevent eczema during the first year.

CONTACT DERMATITIS

 

Contact dermatitis is a rash caused by your skin reacting to a substance it has come into contact with. You may need patch testing to identify the causative substance. A steroid cream or ointment will usually clear the rash.  However, the long-term treatment is to avoid contact with the agent that’s causing it.

There are two types of contact dermatitis – irritant and allergic.

 

Irritant contact dermatitis

This is caused by direct contact with a substance which irritates the skin. It most commonly affects the hands.

Irritant substances

  • Water. Hands being in water for long periods of time is one of the most common causes. It is more likely if the water is hard, chalky or contains a lot of chlorine.
  • Detergents (washing-up liquid, soaps, bleach, etc).
  • Solvents (such as petrol), oils and other chemicals.
  • Acids and alkalis, including cement.
  • Powders, dust and soil.
  • Certain plants.

 

Allergic contact dermatitis

This occurs when your immune system reacts against a specific substance (allergic skin reaction).

Many substances can cause an allergic contact dermatitis. Common ones include:

  • Nickel – this is the most common cause. Nickel occurs in many types of metal – for example, jewellery, studs in jeans and other clothes, bra straps, etc.
  • Cobalt – traces of this metal may be found in some jewellery.
  • Chromate – a metal which may be found in cement.
  • Cosmetics – particularly perfumes, hair dyes, preservatives and nail varnish resins.
  • Additives to leather and rubber.
  • Preservatives in creams and ointments.
  • Plants – the most common culprits being chrysanthemums, sunflowers, daffodils, tulips and primula.

SKIN INFECTIONS AND INFESTATIONS

 

The skin can be infected with bacteria, viruses, mycobacteria and fungi.

Skin can also be infested by parasites such as scabies, lice and other organisms.

Your dermatologist will be able to distinguish between these different infections by performing a skin scraping to evaluate under the microscope or by sending a sample for a culture.

The treatment of these infections will be dictated by die identified organism and by medication susceptibility studies.

 

Dr. Johann de Wet is a top Paediatric Dermatologist in Stellenbosch and treats skin conditions in babies, toddlers and young children.