Skin Disorders and Acne
From an isolated rash to a chronic skin condition, skin disorders in children may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, an allergic reaction, or a genetic condition.
The dermatologists at Penn State Children’s Hospital take a holistic, compassionate approach to diagnosing and treating children with all types of skin disorders.
Care at Children's
We diagnose and treat a variety of skin problems in children of all ages. Led by Andrea Zaenglein, M.D., the only board-certified pediatric dermatologist in central Pennsylvania, we have experience you won’t find at other hospitals in the area. We have a particular interest and specialized training in congenital and acquired vascular lesions, as well as rare genetic disorders of the skin (including ichthyoses and epidermolysis bullosa) and work closely with other specialists to provide multidisciplinary care.
Children with complex vascular malformations, such as an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), lymphatic malformations, or venous malformations, are seen by specialists at the multidisciplinary Vascular Anomalies Clinic.
Children typically come to our clinic with referrals from their primary care physician. At the first appointment, we’ll ask questions about the symptoms and your child’s skincare routine.
Treatment for skin disorders vary by condition. Some of the more common conditions we treat include:
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is one of the most common conditions we treat and is characterized by dry, itchy skin. Treatment for atopic dermatitis has two key components:
- Sensitive skin care routine, with gentle cleansers and frequent fragrance-free moisturization to hydrate the skin
- Topical corticosteroid to reduce inflammation
In addition to other medicines, such as topical calcineurin inhibitors, we may choose to use topical or oral antibiotics. Occasionally, sedating antihistamines, such as Benadryl or hydroxyzine, are used at nighttime.
Patients with acne receive combination therapy: a topical retinoid in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide. Depending on the severity of the condition, we may use:
- Oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline
- Isotretinoin (Accutane)
- Oral propranolol (for problematic hemangiomas)
For port wine stains, we offer pulsed-dye laser therapy, a treatment that uses bright light to target and destroy abnormal blood vessels in the skin.
Care for skin disorders involves multidisciplinary care from other clinics and departments, including:
- Vascular Anomalies Clinic
- Allergy, asthma, and immunology
- Interventional radiology
- Plastic surgery
- Pediatric surgery
Our pediatric clinic is located at:
Penn State Dermatology
200 Campus Drive, Entrance 3, Suite 100
Hershey, PA 17033
We see also patients at clinics in Harrisburg, Mount Joy, and Palmyra, Pennsylvania. For the location nearest to you, call 800-243-1455.
Groups, Classes & Support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Learn more about pediatric support groups offered at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Research & Clinical Trials
Dermatology clinical research is very active with studies in topics such as acne and atopic dermatitis. Our clinical trials office guides participants through the process, from initiation through completion of the study. View current clinical trials.
If you have questions about dermatology research studies at the Children’s Hospital, please contact Amy Longenecker at 717-531-5136.