8 Common Childhood Skin Disorders

October 30, 2020

Little girl scratching arm on color background. Allergy symptoms; blog: 8 Common Childhood Skin Disorders

With World Psoriasis Day falling on October 29th, we want to take some time to raise awareness for those living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is one of many common skin disorders, affecting both adults and children. In addition to raising awareness about psoriasis, we also wanted to examine some of the other common skin disorders that can occur during childhood. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the following common childhood skin disorders and the symptoms that your child may exhibit.

1. Eczema

Eczema refers to several different types of skin swelling, likely caused by environmental and genetic factors. A form of eczema called atopic dermatitis most commonly affects infants and children. Eczema in infants typically starts on the face, while eczema inside of the elbows, behind the knees, and on the neck is more common in children.


  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Common on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees, and on hands and feet
  • Redness
  • Swelling 


Eczema is not contagious and can be treated by using medicines or skin creams, avoiding skin irritants, and more. Other treatments can help heal the skin, reduce itching, and protect from infection.

2. Warts

Warts are a skin disorder more common in children than adults. Warts are small, contagious rough bumps on the skin caused by viruses from the human papillomavirus family. The growths can be contracted from contact with someone who has warts or results from a weak immune system.


  • Round, rough raised growths on the skin
  • Yellow, tan, brown, black, or grey coloring
  • On hands, near or under fingernails, also found on the toes, face, and around the knees


While warts typically heal on their own, a doctor can prescribe treatment for stubborn or recurring warts or remove them by freezing or cutting out the growth. Over-the-counter topical treatments can help manage warts as well.

3. Acne

Certain childhood skin disorders affect children of particular ages. Acne typically affects children as teenagers, as the hormones released during puberty stimulate oil glands beneath the skin. The oil clogs pores, causing acne that appears as bumps on the skin. 


  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads 
  • Red bumps
  • Mainly appears on the face, neck, and shoulders


Acne often clears up on its own, but severe acne can be treated by a doctor. To prevent acne, have your child wash their face with a mild face wash and warm water. Teens can also experiment with different over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to manage acne.

4. Fifth Disease

Fifth disease is an infection caused by a virus called parvovirus B19. The most notable symptom is a distinct rash on the cheeks, described as giving a “slapped cheek” appearance. Fifth disease typically isn’t serious and clears on its own, but the infection can cause serious illness in a fetus or children with anemia. 


  • Cold-like symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, fever
  • Itching
  • Bright red patch or rash on the cheeks
  • Raised rash in a lacelike pattern on the torso, arms, buttocks, and thighs


There is no treatment for fifth disease itself, but you can use treatment to manage the cold-like symptoms and itching to make your child more comfortable.

5. Ringworm

Ringworm is a skin infection caused not by worms, but by a fungus. The name comes from the ring-shaped, scaly patches that form on the skin. Ringworm is contagious and can be transferred from infected people or animals and even objects. 


  • Ring-shaped rash
  • Red, scaly skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Hair loss


There are ways to prevent ringworm, but once contracted, it needs to be treated medicinally.

6. Hives

Among the childhood skin disorders common in both adults and children are hives. Hives is a reactionary rash that forms red, itchy welts on the skin. The location of hives changes and the rash can occur in one area of the body or all over. Many different factors and substances can trigger hives, including certain foods, bites or stings, medications, and more. 


  • Raised pink or red bumps with pale centers
  • Itchy rash


An antihistamine relieves most hives symptoms. However, if your child’s reaction results in difficulty breathing, you should discuss more aggressive treatments, such as an EpiPen, with your child’s doctor.

7. Impetigo

One of the most contagious childhood skin disorders is impetigo, a bacterial skin infection. Impetigo develops in skin injuries such as cuts, scrapes, or insect bites and forms red, crusted sores. Impetigo can spread to other people as well as to other parts of the body through scratching. 


  • Red sores with a honey-colored crust
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Oozing rash


Because impetigo is highly contagious, a doctor will typically recommend antibiotic treatment. You should also regularly clean the infected area, covering the infected area loosely to allow airflow for healing.

8. Psoriasis 

Unlike many other rashes and skin disorders caused by infection or allergic reaction, psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease. The disease appears as irregular patches of an itchy, red rash that becomes covered with thick, white scales. Extensive cradle cap in infancy or dandruff in toddlers and young children are sometimes early indicators of psoriasis. 


  • Small scaling spots (particularly in children)
  • Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
  • Most common on the elbows, knees, scalp, and around the navel


Though not curable, psoriasis is treatable. Once diagnosed, a doctor or dermatologist can prescribe treatment. Common treatments include topical therapy, light therapy, and medication.

If you suspect your child is suffering from one of these common childhood skin disorders, reach out to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment.

Contact Holly Springs Pediatrics

Holly Springs Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times. That includes being there in uncertain times. We will always prioritize the health and safety of your family. Call our Holly Springs, NC pediatric office at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment or talk to a staff member.