Healthy skin care tips for your family

Board-certified dermatologist A. Yasmine Kirkorian shares insight on common skin problems.

© Konstantin Yuganov

Maintaining a healthy skin care routine for your family can be a constant battle. Whether you’re dealing with sensitive skin, acne or just trying to avoid sunburn in the summer heat, healthy skin care routines can prevent many issues.

Yasmine Kirkorian, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist at Children’s National, answers frequently asked questions about different ways parents can maintain healthy skin care practices for their children, below.

Moisturizing is showing promise as an inexpensive and easy way to avoid a lot of problems. For instance, moisturizing your child from birth onward may prevent the development of eczema. Even if you don’t have eczema in your family, it’s not a bad idea to purchase a fragrance-free moisturizer and moisturize your child before their bedtime each night or after their bath.  For teenagers with acne, Dr. Kirkorian recommends using a non-comedogenic (non-acne causing) moisturizer followed by sunscreen every day.

Sensitive Skin
During hot temperatures, children with sensitive skin should wear clothes and seek shade. When swimming, Dr. Kirkorian recommends wearing a rash guard, a piece of clothing designed to prevent sunburn from extended exposure to the sun. While sunscreen is important, it is better to let the clothing do the heavy lifting to protect them from the sun.

Safety tips for protecting sensitive sking include children going to school with hats, keeping kids under shaded structures and out of the sun and avoiding time outdoors during midday hours, which are the hottest.

Lastly, try using a sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in it because they are less irritating to the skin. Sunscreens are FDA-approved for infants under six months old.

Teenage Acne
Don’t wait until your child’s acne condition gets bad. If the condition is mild, then over-the-counter products can help. For more severe cases (nodulocystic, hormonal, etc.), you should see your doctor or a board-certified dermatologist.

For treatment, I recommend using a combination method of benzoyl peroxide wash and Differin Gel. These treatments work over time when used consistently.

For  acne scarring, get to a dermatologist to stop the acne. Sunscreen is also critical in this case because the sun will make the dark pigment spots stay longer. Over-the-counter moisturizers with hydroquinone can help with brown marks or pigmentation from acne, but severe scarring should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

Dr. Kirkorian serves as the interim chief of dermatology at Children’s National. Her interests and expertise include vascular birthmarks, neonatal dermatology, genetic skin disorders, inflammatory skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis, pigmented lesions (moles), acne and hyperhidrosis (increased sweating). She is an expert in laser and surgical treatments for pediatric dermatology patients.