Handling Toddler and Childhood Skin Problems

There are a multitude of common childhood skin problems, many of which are seen in toddlers and continue into childhood. Caring for the skin of children, whether babies or older, usually takes a common sense approach but there are three approaches to handling common childhood skin problems:

  1. Doctor Google;
  2. A real Medical Doctor, or
  3. Know how skin works.

Now this is not a diagnostic blog – and we are not medical doctors, so the first two options are up to you to follow up on when childhood skin problems occur. However, at Baby By Sia we are experienced skin specialists who know how skin works, and want to share this information in simple and helpful ways to improve your and your child’s skin health. Because there are so many products available in the baby and child skincare markets, knowing the basics about young skin can minimise your stress and your child’s irritation and pain, and save you time and money trying buying the best products to suit their skin.

If you understand how skin works, then you will be able to troubleshoot your child’s skin problems as they happen and make the appropriate decisions to minimise them or get help. This article discusses the three layers of skin and common childhood problems with the top layer of skin, the epidermis.

Know the structure of young skin and what is under the surface of your child’s skin


The diagram above shows three layers of skin that sit over the top of each other, defined by the Medical Dictionary as:

  • Epidermis – the top layer of skin, varying in thickness from 0.07-1.4mm. Note babies have about 50% thinner skin, which is why their skin requires more gentle skincare treatment.
  • Dermis – this is your “true skin”, varying in thickness from 0.05-0.3mm. This holds nerves and organs of sensation, blood vessels, hair roots, sebaceous glands. On the palms and soles the dermis has ridges and shapes that are unique to every person, which is why there is such a popular industry around the casting of baby feet and hands! See baby feet and hand portraits below for a great idea to record Baby’s uniquely-patterned feet and hands.


  • Hypodermis – the base layer of fat, muscle and connective tissue. This is the layer of skin that is the most varied between nutritional states, and the male and female sexes.

You need to know this because…if you know how the skin is layered, you can then treat common childhood skin problems depending on which layer they come from.

Common problems with the top layer of a child’s skin – and solutions

The top layer of skin is usually prone to bug bites, rashes from material rubbing against it (like nappies) and environmental damage. Some symptoms can be soothed by home remedies, others by prevention or appropriate skincare products. Here are some classic problems:

Bug bites

Children’s skin can have bigger reactions to bug bites than adults and because they play outdoors more (as a group, than adults), unfortuanately this is part of a child’s day-to-day life. If your child is, however, allergic to bites, then seek medical help straightaway. Some precautions and treatments:

  • If it is a mosquito bite: head off the swelling with ice or pressure. Discourage itching. If the bite is scratched and gets warm, pus-filled or red, take your child to the doctor.
  • If it is a bee sting: bees leave their stinger barbs and venom glands in the site of the sting on the child’s skin. The bee dies after injection, and your child could experience severe pain and swelling from the bite. Apply ice, and you could try paracetamol (for pain) or antihistamine medication to relieve the itching. If your child is allergic to bee stings they may have trouble breathing or get a widespread rash on their skin. In this case, take them to the doctor asap!


Nappy rash is caused by babies wearing nappies for too long, which prolongs dampness around the top of a baby’s legs, bottom and private parts. It is exacerbated by ammonia from their wee, and friction from the plastic or material cloth rubbing into the irritated area.

Baby-By-Sia-Washi Washi

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Environmental Effects

If not looked after from birth, environmental factors of sun, wind and pollution can irritate your child’s skin in the short-term and damage their future skin health in the long-term. Always, slip, slop, slap (this is an Australian sun protection mantra used in advertising campaigns to help children remember to put sunscreen on).

Hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing are always wise when trying to avoid skin damage to the top layer of your child’s skin, but your vigilance also protects their deeper layers of skin from future skincare problems.

The obvious signs of skin irritation from sunburn is redness and dryness, but you should never let your child’s skin get to that point. If your child’s skin is easily irritated or allergic to many sun lotions, try Zinki, Baby By Sia’s physical zinc face lotion which will help shade baby’s skin from harsh daily exposure to sun and pollutants with powerful antioxidants such as green tea and gingko extract, whilst helping to nourish, moisturise, shield and hydrate the skin with aloe vera, jojoba oil, chamomile, coconut oil and vitamin E. Great for even assisting baby’s skin on those cold windy days too. Free from Nanonised Zinc, Parabens, Phenoloxyethanol, Chemical Fragrance and Mineral Oil. BUY NOW

Zinki-sunblock Zinki

Protect your child’s top layer of skin

Knowing what can affect your child’s epidermis will make you more confident when symptoms occur, as well as being able to make the call as to which services or products can help your child’s skin problem. Next blogs will discuss the deeper layers of skin, what common problems and symptoms occur, and what solutions can be evaluated. As always, Baby By Sia is happy to help, provide support and effective products and solutions for Mums, Dads and babies.

For further information contact Baby By Sia online, by phone or via one of our You By Sia skin specialist clinics based in Sydney CBD, Parramatta, Burwood, Castle Hill, Bondi Junction and St. Ives.

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