6 Common Questions Kids Have About Their Skin

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6 Common Questions Kids Have About Their Skin


Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy some sunshine. This month, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is celebrating a Summer of Amazing at the Mall of Louisiana. At this week’s Mommy & Me (and Daddy too!), the theme was all about safety. We invited one of Our Lady of the Lake dermatologists, Dr. Jill Fruge, to talk about the importance of skin safety. However, many kids don’t know much about their own skin and hair. Dr. Fruge shares six of the most common topics kids ask about:

1. Why do I have freckles?

If you have light-colored skin, it’s very possible you’ll have freckles,
especially during the summer when you are playing outside. This is
because of melanin, something that gives your skin color and tries to protect it from the sun. When your body senses your skin being damaged by the sun’s rays, it produces more melanin to try and protect your skin from more damage. Sometimes this is an all-over color like a sunburn or tan, and sometimes it’s small patches of freckles.

2. What makes birthmarks? Will mine go away?

Nobody really knows what makes birthmarks or why some kids have small birthmarks and others have bigger ones. They just seem to happen. Some birthmarks do fade or seem to go away as you get older. This depends, though, on what kind of birthmark it is. If you are worried about your
birthmark, talk to your parents about seeing a doctor who takes care of your skin (dermatologist). The skin doctor can tell you if there are ways to make a birthmark fade or become lighter.

3. What is the difference between a freckle and a mole?

Freckles, which are usually brown and flat, are a sign of extra melanin, the stuff in your skin that gives it color. Making more melanin is one of the ways your skin protects itself from the sun. Getting too much sun can make freckles appear.

You can be born with a mole, but you also can get moles as you grow up. A mole is an area of your skin where the pigment (a fancy way to say color) has clumped together. Some moles are bigger than freckles and can be completely flat or raised above your skin like a little bump. Moles can range in color from light tan to almost black. They can also be pink, red or even blue.

4. What happens when you get a sunburn?

Any time your skin tans or burns, it’s a sign that it has been damaged by the ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are produced by the sun and tanning beds. The change in color comes from something in your skin called melanin. It’s what gives your skin its color. It’s there to protect you. When your body senses your skin being damaged by the sun’s rays, it produces more
melanin to try and protect your skin from being damaged even more.

5. Why is hair different colors?

Like your skin, hair color comes from something called melanin. Some
people call it pigment. People with darker hair make more melanin than people with lighter hair. How much melanin you make depends on your genes, which you get from your parents. As you get much older, you make less melanin, so your hair starts losing its color. That’s why older people have gray or white hair.

6. How many layers of skin do I have covering my muscles?

Three layers of skin cover your muscles, including the epidermis, the top layer that protects your body. The middle layer, called the dermis, helps you feel things. The third layer is subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. It attaches the dermis to your muscles and bones with fat and special connecting tissue.

The answers to these questions can help your child better understand their skin, so that they can learn just how important it is to take care of it. Learn more about skin safety and 7 Common Mistakes Made With Sunscreen.

Have more questions? We’re here to help.
Dermatology at Bocage
7855 Jefferson Hwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
(225) 214-3199

About Dr. Jill Fruge

Dr. Jill FrugeJill H. Fruge, MD earned her degree in medicine from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, and completed her internship at Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge. She performed her residency in dermatology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Dr. Fruge is Board Certified in dermatology. Click here to learn more about Dr. Fruge.

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