General Question

Seek's avatar

Is there a doctor in the house? (A dermatologist, perhaps?)

Asked by Seek (34769points) June 27th, 2010

My son’s pediatrician is an hour drive away, and I’m not terribly fond of him, so I try to avoid him if at all possible. So, I’m asking the FlutherDoc’s opinions first, and I’ll see Dr. Patel if I have to. ^_^

My son is almost two. No medications, no known allergies. He’s a healthy weight and height, and he eats well.

For about six months, he’s had what I thought was cradle cap – a little bit of dark, somewhat scaly, patchy discoloration under the hairline on the crown of his head. It kind of came and went for a while.

One day, about a month ago, we went to the beach, played in the sun and the saltwater. When we came home, the rash had turned reddish and became more prominent. I used a spray sunscreen that turned his hair orange for a few days so I assumed that was what did it. I’ve waited since then for it to diminish, but it hasn’t.

It doesn’t appear to bother him (I never see him scratching it), but it’s worrying me that it hasn’t gone away on its own.

Pictures are


and here

Any ideas, my genius Jellies?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I am not a doctor. My only guess is Impetigo but it usually is more severe looking and I think irritating for children. Still, it might be a mild case? It can last for months if untreated, and is very common in children.

I think since it has lasted so long maybe you should go to a doctor. Can you bring him to a doctor who is clower to you, like a dermatologist nearby?

MissAusten's avatar

Well, it kind of looks like this picture of seborrheic dermatitis, but that is not very common before puberty.

Also, I just learned that there are lots of things you should NOT look up on google images, like staph infections. I might need to go bleach my eyeballs.

It could also be something similar to ringworm, which as I’m sure you know is a fungal infection and not worms. You may want to consider going straight to a dermatologist. A pediatrician (not the one we currently use) diagnosed my daughter with ringworm when she was in preschool. When the anti-fungal treatment didn’t work and we went back to the doctor, he prescribed a steroid cream instead. He actually almost left the room without telling me that it was eczema and not ringworm at all!

Seriously though, I second @JLeslie ‘s suggestion to see a doctor. I wish I had something more specific to tell you. Good luck!

Jeruba's avatar

I’m afraid I can’t offer help with your son’s skin problem, but I sure do think you ought to look into changing pediatricians. Even if you can’t find one closer, surely you can find one you like better. Ask around, consult your insurance company’s list of participants, get a referral from your own doctor, or pick one out of the Yellow Pages, but don’t hang in with someone you’re not comfortable with. Look who you’re entrusting to his care. You need to have complete confidence in your child’s doctor.

Seek's avatar

My son is on Medicaid. The selection is very very slim. His pediatrician is the only one in a 50 mile radius that would take him without vaccination and circumcising – two things I will not do. For us, it’s this guy or nothing. And they might as well be the same thing, as I pretty much have to diagnose Ian myself, and the doctor just writes a prescription based on what I tell him.

breedmitch's avatar

I don’t care if I’m moderated. For god’s sake, get your son vaccinated!
What you’re doing is highly irresponsible.
Fluther’s resident medical authority, shilolo will tell you the same thing.

Ivan's avatar

Any medical authority would tell you the same thing.

DrBill's avatar

Wash your baby’s hair more frequently, and use a soft brush to brush the scales away. Use baby oil or mineral oil (most baby oil is just mineral oil with a scent added),

If you’ve been shampooing your baby’s hair without noticing any decrease in flaking, try using oil. If you don’t like the idea of mineral oil, use a natural product such as olive oil. Gentley massage it on your baby’s head, use a soft brush to brush the flakes out with it, and then finish up with a gentle shampoo. In this way, you’re using the oil to loosen the oily flakes and then washing it away so it doesn’t add to the build-up.

If you try this and it doesn’t decrease, you can get a special medicated baby shampoo from your pediatrician or GP. These shampoos contain salicylic acid (the main ingredient in aspirin) and some well-known dandruff shampoos, sulfur. But they can irritate the baby’s skin and dry the scalp, so use them carefully and sparingly (after consulting with your doctor).

For strong cases your doctor can prescribe a cream made of hydrocortisone to treat the redness and rash.

If you really don’t like the pediatrician, you could see your GP or a dermatologist.

PS: I agree with your stand on circumcision but encourage you to get the vaccinations.

Seek's avatar


The vaccine issue is irrelevant to this issue, and I’m not even going to get into the reasoning behind my decision.

breedmitch's avatar

The scaliness of the images you posted leads me to guess ringworm.

breedmitch's avatar

I think the vaccine issue is very relevant to your son’s health issue if you cant get a doctor located within an hour’s drive to administer to his health.

Seek's avatar

There are three vaccine-injured children in my family in the last six years. Three out of five children of his generation. Those are not odds I wish to play with.

Now, if you have any advice on red, dry rashes on a toddler’s scalp, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, let me parent my own child. Thank you.

breedmitch's avatar

Please see my answer two posts above.

But I just can’t let this go. Yes you are parenting your own child, but you are also endangering the entire community. Perhaps you missed the Frontline episode which covered this topic recently. I highly suggest you watch it. The facts are there. Jenny McCarthy is not a doctor.

Seek's avatar

I don’t give two shits about Jenny McCarthy, and it is my right and responsibility to protect my own child as I see fit. I have two cousins who are living the “facts” right now with their own kids.

If you’re that damned scared of sexually transmitted diseases and the chicken pox, go ahead and get vaccinated. I’m not stopping you.

Seek's avatar

Now, if I might direct your attention back to the original post…?

JLeslie's avatar

@breedmitch If your kid is vaccinated you don’t have to worry. Lay off.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I wonder if nizoral works on ringworm? Maybe you can use that shampoo and see if it helps? Maybe they sell cream, also? Nizoral shampoo is for dandruff, which is a fungas also, but it may not work on both. By the way that shampoo is VERY pianful if it gets in your eyes, so if you use it be careful. Meanwhile, if it is bacterial it will do nothing. Will medicaid pay for the baby to see a specialist like a dermatoligist? SInce you don’t have much confidence in your pediatrician. I empathasize I had a family member come to me with a horrible case of warts on his feet, and also around his fingernals, because he would bite his cuticles. Anyway, I ordered him to the doctor for prescription stregnth treatment, and he called to tell me he picked up a prescriptio of Lotrimin, and not to worry. Idiot doctor was treating him for athletes foot instead of warts. Two days later he saw a pediatrist and was diagnosed correctly. Frustrating.

Seek's avatar


Sounds like routine care here, too. I even stopped taking Ian for his periodic checkups. Two hours of driving for the guy to walk in, say “Yep, he’s still breathing, see you in six months”. And then when there’s a problem, “Oh, it’s probably a virus. Call me if it doesn’t go away”.

I have such faith in modern medicine.~

I do, however, have faith in the friends I’ve made here on Fluther, as they aren’t giving an answer based on how much they can charge Medicaid for as little work as possible.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I have so many awful stories, although that one I told is thank goodness not a life threatening one, just frustrating, because it is such a common thing. I hope a doctor or two chimes in for you. Some of them don’t like to diagnose online. The thing is, no matter what it might be best to have prescription strength of whatever you need. I think Wlagreens has Nurse Practioners at some locations. Might that be an option for you. I would guess it is not very expensive? The crap thing about medicine is if they are wrong, you don’t get your money back, and if you leave with no answer they still charge you as much as if they solved your problem.

JLeslie's avatar

It seems my comment on vaccinations has been misunderstood from some PM’s I received, I was snapping at @breedmitch because I felt he was harping on something off topic, and the OP had asked him to stop. When he persisted she gave her reasons why she did not want to vaccinate. Just to be clear I am not against vaccines. I think they are very important, especially for highly contagious sometimes deadly diseases like polio, measles, and others. I do feel it is a social responsibility for people to vaccinate their children to help protect not only themselves, but society. But, if there is a good reason not to vaccinate, like allergies, dangerous side effects that have been experienced previously by a patient, or an illness that raises the chances of bad side effects I support not vaccinating in those instances. It seems that is the case for the OP, she was not stating a negative attitude about vaccines in general, just for her child.

I apologize to @Seek_Kolinahr For bringing the topic up again, but I felt the need to clarify. Maybe all comments reagarding vaccines will be modded and it will be a non-issue.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Let’s not make this personal, folks, and please stick to the original topic.

Pandora's avatar

It looks like craddle cap. pictures
It can develop as infantatile eczema later on. My son had this happen to him as a child.
@Dr.Bill has some good suggestion. I’ll like to add, that instead of using soap and water try, Cetaphyl cleanser lotion. Don’t use soap of any kind or water. The cleanser is extremely gentle for any problems of the skin. And then gently brush (like mentioned above) with a soft brush.
When the dermatologist recommended this for my son he also suggested that once its under control that I use only dove soap. My whole family suffers from one skin allergy or another and dove soap (original, never scented) has never harmed any of us or made our skin worse. Usually the most harm came from harsh water or other scented stuff. Cetaphyl and dove is all we use. For skin lotions we’ve tried probably over 100 types. So far there are only two that never cause any reactions. Cetaphyl lotion and cleansers and Aveeno skin relief moisterizing lotion (fragrance free) I know for a fact the cetaphyl lotion and cleansers is fine for baby skin, but the second one I’ve only used as an adult. Wasn’t around when my kids were small.
Hope this helps.

lilikoi's avatar

I have no idea what it is. Looks like some kind of rash (that’s probably not that helpful). I am thinking it is probably not impetigo because I thought the skin blisters with this condition, and it looks like the skin of the affected area is scabby not blistering. It could be dermatitis which is a pretty broad term for “rash” as far as I know, but then I always thought this condition came with an itch. My best guess is heat rash. The symptoms sound like they match, the conditions you described seem to be consistent with that which triggers it, and it is probably far more likely than impetigo, dermatitis, etc.

I – having eczema – can speak to ocean water causing rashy skin to look and feel red and inflamed but it doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. In fact, I think being in the ocean and out in the sun does good things for rashes and open wounds in general. If he doesn’t scratch it I wonder how it scabbed. The other thing I wanted to say is that I once had this really bizarre skin condition appear out of no where once, went to a dermatologist who ran several tests (he in fact thought it could be impetigo), only to conclude that he had no idea what it is, hoped it goes away, and charged me/insurance over a hundred bucks for his 10 minutes (and about what amounted to 1 hr of waiting time) of brilliant expertise. I’m nearly convinced dermatology is pure quackery.

ashsaintsfan's avatar

Its really not that serious. It honestly looks like psoriasis, which i had when i was younger but it cleared up. But i think its just sunburn on his scalp that probably irritated the cradle cap. I would just try and switch pediatricians if I were you, and i agree with you on dermatology being a quack. When I was younger and had the psoriasis on my scalp all they did was give me this oily liquid to rub on my scalp at night, and it never helped a thing. Sometimes it just has to go away on its own :)

ashsaintsfan's avatar

oh and i have a question, do they let unvaccinated children in school where you are at? Im just curious. In my state you have to turn in proof of vaccination before you can put your child in kindergarten. Unless youre homeschooling? anyway it’s your choice and people shouldnt criticize your parenting…no parent is perfect.

Kayak8's avatar

It sounds like you have found a pediatrician you can work with. I would email him/her the photos you posted and ask him/her what you should do about it. It will save you a trip and I think he/she can likely figure out what is going on based on your description and the photos.

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