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Looking for a special gift this holiday season? Consider giving an SSDP Gift Certificate.

These versatile gift certificates are good for a variety of uses, including cosmetic dermatology products and treatments, co-pays, even balances. Your loved one will enjoy a unique holiday present along with the chance for clearer, healthier skin with a Gift Certificate from SSDP.

Phone our office at 508.535.3376, or email us from the Contact page on the SSDP website to find out more.

SSDP home page

SSDP's new website contains valuable information for all of your dermatologic needs. Visit us online at
www.southshorederm.com to read about SSDP's high quality medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology services, download important patient forms, and discover helpful information about caring for your skin.



Leera M. Briceno, MD By Leera M. Briceno, MD


Skin. It's our body's most visible organ, but it's easy to forget that our skin is constantly changing and our skin care needs are changing, too.

In honor of the recent National Healthy Skin Month in November, this issue of the SSDP newsletter will examine skin care at different ages and provide recommendations for keeping skin healthy at every stage of life.

The Early Years: Birth to Childhood
The skin of a newborn provides a lens into your child's beginnings. The skin of a healthy newborn will look deep red or purple with bluish hands and feet. The surface will be covered with a thick, waxy, protective substance called vernix, and fine, soft hair may cover your baby's scalp, forehead, cheeks, shoulders and back. The appearance of your child's skin may vary depending on the length of the pregnancy. The skin of a preemie is typically peely, dry and transparent, while the skin of a healthy full-term newborn will be thicker.

As a dermatologist, one of the rules I recommend for newborn skin care is 100% sun protection for the first 6 months of life. Keep your child out of direct sunlight, dress him in protective clothing and don't even put sunscreen on him because his delicate skin is not ready for sun exposure.

To care for your newborn's skin, clean your baby with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser and lukewarm water and moisturize with a gentle moisturizer. Avoid using soap with chemicals, which can dry your baby's skin.

The most demanding part of child skin care is caring for the diaper area. Change your child's diaper as soon as it becomes wet or soiled to prevent diaper dermatitis (aka diaper rash). Most diaper rashes occur because of skin irritation when diapers are too tight, left on too long, or due to the use of certain detergents, diapers or baby wipes. Frequent diaper changing is especially important for children who have a formula intolerance or food allergies that may cause watery or frequent stools.

To avoid diaper dermatitis, wash the skin with hypoallergenic wipes or a warm, wet washcloth and apply a moisturizer and a barrier cream containing zinc oxide to protect the skin from irritation.

Starting Sun Protection

When your child turns 6 months of age, it is time to begin teaching the importance of sun protection. Set an example by applying sunscreen to your own skin as well as your child's before any outdoor activity. When taking your child outdoors, cover her with clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and apply sunscreen to the unprotected areas to shield her delicate skin and eyes from harmful UV radiation.
Childhood Hair Care
When your child is ready to start shampooing her hair, teach her healthy hair care habits. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and choose the frequency of hair washing based on your child's hair type (ie. straight, curly, kinky) and level of oiliness. Massage the shampoo into the scalp without scrubbing. Use conditioner to smooth out tangles, then rinse the hair well and dry gently with a towel before combing the strands with a wide-tooth comb. Try not to yank or tug on hair to avoid breakage. Use hats to protect your child's hair from sun damage.

For most children, the steps outlined in this routine (ie. gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protective precautions for outdoor activity) will provide a basic skin care program that will serve until the onset of puberty.

In our next issue, the challenge of caring for pre-adolescent and adolescent skin.

Learn more about caring for your infant's and child's skin and hair on the SSDP blog and AAD website.

Leera M. Briceno, MD, is a Board certified dermatologist at South Shore Dermatology Physicians.