Services for Infants
Some skin conditions are especially common in babies. This section lists the most common questions and concerns addressed by pediatric dermatologists in the first months of life.
Birthmarks appear in a variety of shapes and colors in the first year of life. Most birthmarks are harmless and may fade or disappear over time without treatment. However, some types of birthmarks may be signs of a more serious medical condition. A pediatric dermatologist can help determine the type of birthmark based on a visual examination of your child’s skin.
Biopsies involve removing a small piece of skin to help diagnose the cause of skin changes. The most common types are punch biopsies, excisional biopsies, and shave biopsies.
Congenital nevi are moles you are born with or that appear during a baby’s first year of life. They may also be called congenital melanocytic nevi. Most congenital nevi do not cause health problems, but some may develop into skin cancers (melanoma) later in life. A pediatric dermatologist can help determine if a congenital nevus should have special monitoring or be removed.
Creams and Moisturizers
The skin of babies is thinner and more sensitive than in other age groups. Most of the time simple products with less ingredients are best for infants.
Most diaper rashes are caused by irritation from moisture, poop, and urine. Sometimes, however, a pediatric dermatologist can help determine if the rash is due to an underlying skin condition, allergy, or other problem.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin disorder that usually first appears in babies. It causes the skin to itch, turn red, and flake. Often the parents of babies with eczema also had eczema when they were babies. Although there is no cure for eczema, a pediatric dermatologist can help determine if there are triggers, help reduce itching and inflammation of the skin, and provide advice on gentle skin care.
Many genetic and inherited diseases affect the skin, hair, or nails. Skin problems may range from minor to complex. Pediatric dermatologists have expertise in diagnosing and treating genetic diseases related to the hair, skin, and nails.
Infants may have a variety of different hair disorders including alopecia. Pediatric dermatologists have unique expertise in diagnosing and managing diseases of the hair in infants.
Hemangiomas are a type of birthmark that may be present at birth as a faint red mark or appear in the first months after birth. If a hemangioma is large, on the face, or affects another organ system (such as breathing or vision), a pediatric dermatologist can help with diagnosis and treatment. Treatments may include medications, lasers, surgery, or collaboration with interventional radiology to shrink or remove the hemangioma.
Laser treatments (birthmarks, vascular lesions, hemangiomas, and scars)
Although the pulsed dye laser is the most common laser used in infants, we are able to customize our lasers to each infant’s unique needs. In addition to pulsed dye laser treatments, we are able to offer alexandrite lasers, Nd:YAG laser, Q-switched lasers, CO2 laser, and Erbium:YAG lasers depending on your baby’s needs.
A large group of conditions may affect the appearance of fingernails and toenails. Nails sometimes reveal a lot about your child’s health. Infections caused by bacteria, fungus, or viruses, underlying conditions, and inherited ailments can all cause abnormalities in the nails.
There are many types of alterations in pigmentation, or coloring, that can occur on the skin. Some are congenital (present at birth) and others develop later in life. Almost all are related to either an increase or decrease in melanin (pigment) in the skin. Examples include albinism, vitiligo, moles, and café-au-lait spots.
Dr. Burkhart is a national expert on the treatment of port wine stains in infants and children. He is a member of the Sturge Weber Foundation and has written several journal articles and book chapters on the treatment of port wine birthmarks and capillary malformations. We are also able to assemble a team of experts when needed for your child. Dr. Burkhart has collaborated with WakeMed, Cone Health, UNC, Duke, and specialists around the state in the care of vascular birthmarks.
We are able to offer excisions in the office or with sedation (under general anesthesia) depending on your baby’s needs. Common lesions that may require dermatologic surgery in infants include dermoid cysts, accessory tragi, congenital nevi, and other birthmarks.
Vascular malformations are composed of blood vessels, such as arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels, or capillaries. Dr. Burkhart is a well published national expert on vascular malformations. Sometimes, a multidisciplinary team is needed to provide babies with the latest and most advanced therapies. We are uniquely positioned to work with institutions across the state to help your child receive access to the best care available close to where you live.
*Dr. Burkhart has operating room privileges at Wake Med for conditions requiring surgery
Sweet dreams form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head;
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams.
~ William Blake
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