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July 15, 2009 > Keeping Your Baby's Skin Healthy

Keeping Your Baby's Skin Healthy

Moms, Learn How to Protect Little Ones' Skin From Common Ailments, Sun Damage

Children's skin conditions can be baffling and sometimes nerve-racking unless moms are armed with the right information.

On Thursday, July 23, Washington Hospital Medical Staff dermatologist Dr. Aleda A. Jacobs will talk about common childhood skin ailments during her presentation, "Skin Health for Babies and Children." The class will be held at noon in the Washington Women's Center Conference Room, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue.

Recognizing common ailments

The seminar will cover basic skin conditions and initial treatments, as well as which conditions necessitate a visit to the doctor and which do not.

Some symptoms that call for a trip to the doctor might include: pain, severe itching or oozing, but Dr. Jacobs says it depends on the condition.

"I will talk about eczema, dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap, some skin diseases common to kids, and certain lesions that are usually alarming to a parent or person unfamiliar with a new skin condition, but which are benign," she says.

Dr. Jacobs will show pictures during her talk to better illustrate what moms need to look for when examining their child's skin for potential problems.

Daily sun protection makes for healthier skin

In addition to knowing when to visit the doctor, a vital element to protecting babies' and children's overall skin health is sun protection.

Dr. Jacobs says that while there are no key differences between protecting adults' skin versus children's skin, sun protection for children especially important.
"Kids should be protected with sunscreen on a daily basis, because the majority of sun damage occurs with burns and/or UVA exposure during a child's first 14 years of life," she says. "UVA and UVB exposure, especially sunburns, correlates positively with many skin cancers, and also the premature aging of the skin which ultimately manifests as wrinkles."

When choosing sunscreens for babies 6 months and younger, parents should look for a product specifically labeled for infants or babies, she notes.

The most important element when choosing a sun care product is to make sure it has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. It also is a good idea to avoid products that contain PABA, as some people may be allergic, according to Dr. Jacobs.

Proper sun protection early in life is especially important considering statistics show individuals who have had at least one severe, blistering sunburn as a child or teenager have an increased risk of melanoma, which is a potentially fatal form of skin cancer.

"I'm hoping participants will gain helpful information regarding common skin diseases, basic treatments, and the need for skin protection from the sun," Dr. Jacobs says of her talk.

To learn more about protecting babies' and young children's delicate skin, join Dr. Jacobs on Thursday, July 23, at noon in the Washington Women's Center Conference Room located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

To register for the class, call (800) 963-7070.

To find out about upcoming classes and seminars at the Washington Women's Center, call (510) 608-1301 or (866) 608-1301. On the Web, visit, choose "Services & Programs," scroll to "Women's Health" and select "Wellness Classes & Services" from the drop-down menu.

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