Dermatology conditions

At Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, we understand that you want the best possible care for your child – the kind of care you can count on. The kind of care you can trust.

We’ve put together a team of experts with different specialties who treat both children and adults with skin conditions ranging from acne to warts and everything in between, including skin cancer.

Some of the skin conditions we diagnose and treat at Children’s Hospital are:

Acne

Acne is a skin condition. It can happen at any age, but most often it begins and ends during adolescence. There are different kinds of acne, including plugged oil glands (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples and nodules.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema and dry skin)

Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a skin disorder that usually appears in babies or very young children. It may last until your child reaches adolescence or adulthood. Eczema causes the skin to itch, turn red and flake. Dermatologists at Children’s Hospital treat patients with a number of skin symptoms and conditions, including atopic dermatitis (eczema), hives and dry skin.

Birthmarks

The word birthmark is a general term used to describe skin lesions that are present at birth or appear shortly after birth. There are many types of birthmarks that vary widely in their appearance, treatment, and outcome.

Diaper dermatitis (diaper rash)

Diaper dermatitis is a common skin condition that affects anyone that wears a diaper or pull-up. Many rashes in the diaper area are due to irritation from urine and feces, however, there are other causes of diaper rash including infection, allergic reactions, and psoriasis. Rarely, there are serious causes of diaper rash that may require further testing and treatment.

Hemangioma

A hemangioma is a type of vascular birthmark that occurs within days to weeks after birth. This birthmark is sometimes called a "strawberry birthmark" and can develop anywhere on the body. Although these lesions will resolve with time, some may require further evaluation and treatment if they grow rapidly, if their growth interferes with vital functions like sight or breathing, or if they occur in children that have blood vessel abnormalities of the brain or heart.

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a medical problem involving excessive sweating that can be harmful to a child's social and physical well-being.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is very rare in children. When this does occur, it usually appears as a growing and changing dark lesion on the skin. Treatment is based on the size of the lesion and on whether or not it has spread anywhere else in the body.

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum is a virus that infects the skin and causes flesh colored bumps. This virus can spread to anywhere on the body, sometimes resulting in numerous bumps. These bumps last a few months to a few years before the body’s immune system learns to get rid of them, however, there are several treatments available that may help treat these lesions.

Morphea (linear scleroderma)

Morphea is a condition characterized by patches of thickened, hardened, and discolored skin. This is caused by inflammation in the skin and underlying tissues. Although symptoms may be mild, this can cause severe deformation and functional limitation depending on the areas that are affected.

Melanocytic nevi (moles)

Moles are made up of large amounts of melanocytes, the pigment producing cells of the skin. These usually appear as light brown to dark brown, round bumps on the skin, however, moles can have a wide variety of appearances. Congenital melanocytic nevi are moles that people are born with. These can be larger than moles that people develop with age and carry a slightly higher risk of developing skin cancer within them. It is normal to continue to make moles on the skin into middle age.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes pink scaly spots on the skin and the scalp. The extent and severity of the condition can vary. Some people may only have a few affected areas while others have large areas of skin affected. This can sometimes run in families.

Ringworm (fungal skin infections)

Ringworm, also known as tinea, is a fungal infection of the skin. There are different fungi that cause infection in various areas of the body, including the feet, back, groin, nails and face. It is contagious and causes a red, scaly rash that often forms in a ring. It is not a worm.

Scabies

Scabies is an infestation of tiny insects called mites. It causes small, red bumps and intense itching. Scabies is highly contagious and can spread from person to person while they are sleeping together in the same bed or have close personal contact. The itching occurs when the mites burrow into the skin and lay eggs that hatch a few days later.

Seborrheic dermatitis (cradle cap, dandruff)

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common rash seen in infants and children. This is typically found as scaly, pink areas over the scalp, face, and body.

Warts

Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age. Warts are contagious, which means they can spread to other parts of your body and to other people who touch you.

Other conditions

  • Alopecia areata
    Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that occurs in both children and adults. This is caused by the immune cells in the skin attacking the hair follicle, causing the hair to fall out. This is commonly seen on the scalp as round patches of hair loss, however, this can occur over any part of the body including the eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair.
  • Cysts
    Cysts are pockets of material underneath the skin. These appear as lumps or bumps in the skin. There are different types of cysts, requiring different types of treatment. Some of the most common types of cysts include: acne cysts, epidermal inclusion cysts, pilomatricomas, and dermoid cysts.
  • Herpes (cold sores)
    Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common virus that causes blisters on the skin. There are two different types of herpes virus. HSV I is typically associated with oral cold sores and HSV II is the primary cause of genital herpes. Both of these viruses can be seen on any part of the body. Infection with HSV can be especially concerning in patients that have comprised immune systems, underlying atopic dermatitis (eczema), and infections near the eye.
  • Ichthyosis
    Ichthyosis is a skin condition caused by a genetic defect in one or several genes. Most people with ichthyosis have dry, scaly skin, however, symptoms can vary greatly depending on the type of ichthyosis. Management of this condition depends on the type of ichthyosis and severity of symptoms.
  • Impetigo (bacterial skin infections)
    Impetigo causes a crusty or blistering rash on the skin. This is usually caused by an infection with bacteria. The most common types of bacteria to cause impetigo are Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Both of these can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Insect bites
    Many insects bite or sting the skin of humans. Bites or stings can cause symptoms of itching, redness, and pain. Rarely, stings and bites can cause allergic reactions or infections.
  • Lichen scerlosus et atrophicus
    Lichen sclerosus is a condition of the skin that results in inflammation and thinning of the skin. This is typically seen in the genital area of girls before puberty, however, there are cases where other areas of the skin are affected. Lichen sclerosus can cause symptoms of itching, pain with urination or defecation, and constipation.
  • Mastocytoma (urticaria pigmentosa)
    Mastocytomas are light brown, slightly raised patches on the skin that are made up of the skin’s allergy cells. These can turn into a hive with gentle scratching or rubbing. When there are multiple mastocytomas, this is called urticaria pigmentosa. Although these will resolve with time, these can be itchy or painful to the patient. Rarely, these may cause symptoms throughout the body.
  • Perioral dermatitis
    Perioral dermatitis causes pimple-like bumps on the skin around the mouth, nose, and eyes. This can be caused by topical steroid use on the face or from the use of nasal sprays, inhalers, or nebulizers that contain steroids.
  • Pyogenic granuloma
    A pyogenic granuloma is a growth made up of fragile blood vessels. This is commonly found on the head and neck of children. Although these tend to bleed profusely when traumatized, these are benign.
  • Spitz nevus
    Spitz nevus is a type of growth made up of mole cells that can look very much like a serious kind of skin cancer called melanoma. An ordinary Spitz nevus does not act like a skin cancer. Rarely, there are more serious types that require additional testing and treatment. Many times, there are only single lesions that may be removed or monitored over time.
  • Viral exanthem
    A viral exanthem is a rash that occurs in response to the body fighting off a viral infection, such as a cold. This is very common and benign, but can sometimes be itchy. The skin rash will typically appear after the virus has been cleared by the body and can last several weeks to several months after first appearing. This is not contagious.
  • Vitiligo
    Vitiligo is a pigment disorder that causes smooth, white patches on the skin. Melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin, can sometimes be destroyed by the body’s immune system which results in the patches of vitiligo. Sometimes the melanocytes can reproduce, resulting in normally pigmented skin.