Common Summer Skin Problems in Children and Solutions

Summer brings joy with its sunny days and outdoor fun, but it also brings a host of skin issues that can affect children. Understanding these common conditions and knowing how to treat them can help ensure a comfortable and healthy summer for the little ones.

1. Sunburn:
One of the most prevalent summer skin problems in children is sunburn. Overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause the skin to become red, painful, and inflamed. Solution: To prevent sunburn, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on your child’s skin every two hours and after swimming or sweating. Dress them in sun-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses. If sunburn occurs, cool baths, moisturizing lotions, and over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can alleviate discomfort.

2. Heat Rash (Prickly Heat):
Heat rash occurs when sweat ducts become blocked and sweat is trapped under the skin. This results in tiny, itchy bumps or blisters, usually on clothed areas of the body that are prone to sweating. Solution: To prevent heat rash, dress your child in loose, lightweight clothing and keep their environment cool. If your child develops heat rash, keeping the affected area dry and cool will help clear it up. Calamine lotion or cool compresses may also provide relief.

3. Insect Bites and Stings:
Summer increases exposure to insects, resulting in bites and stings that can be painful and itchy. Solution: To protect against insect bites, use insect repellent that is safe for children, and cover their skin with clothing when in insect-prone areas. If bitten, applying a cold compress can reduce swelling and itchiness. For bee stings, remove the stinger with a credit card edge or your fingernail, and then apply ice.

4. Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac:
Contact with these plants can cause an itchy, blistering rash due to an oil called urushiol. Solution: Teach your children to recognize and avoid these plants. If contact occurs, wash the affected area with soap and water immediately to remove the oil. Applying calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help soothe the rash. If the reaction is severe, consult a healthcare provider.

5. Chlorine Rash:
Frequent swimming in chlorinated pools can lead to dry, itchy skin or even a chlorine rash. This rash can cause red, itchy patches. Solution: Showering your child with soap before and after swimming can help remove chlorine residue and prevent skin irritation. Applying a moisturizer after swimming can also help protect their skin from drying out.

6. Eczema Flare-ups:
The combination of heat, sweat, and irritants like sand and saltwater can trigger eczema flare-ups in children. Solution: Keep your child’s skin moisturized with fragrance-free emollients, especially after bathing. Avoid triggers like scratchy fabrics and harsh soaps. If flare-ups occur, using prescribed topical steroids or over-the-counter hydrocortisone may be necessary under medical guidance.

Final Tips:
Hydration is crucial; ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids to maintain skin hydration. Also, maintain a routine that includes bathing in warm (not hot) water and applying moisturizer afterward to lock in moisture.

By taking these preventive measures and treating any skin issues early, your child can enjoy the playful and sunny days of summer with minimal discomfort.


Sunburn is typically characterized by red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch and might peel after a few days. It usually appears within a few hours of sun exposure. If the rash is itchy, bumpy, or appears in patches, it might be caused by other factors such as heat rash, insect bites, or an allergic reaction to plants or chemicals. If you’re unsure, consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.

To treat sunburn, keep the affected area cool with damp cloths or take cool baths. Apply aloe vera or a light moisturizer to soothe the skin. Avoid using products containing petroleum, which can trap heat in the skin. Keep your child hydrated by giving them plenty of water, as sunburn can dehydrate the body. If the sunburn is severe or blisters develop, seek medical advice.

Yes, insect repellents can be safely used on children, but it’s important to choose the right type and apply it correctly. Use repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, ensuring they are appropriate for the age of your child (oil of lemon eucalyptus is not recommended for children under three years old). Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Do not apply under clothing or on damaged skin. Always follow the product’s instructions for application and reapplication.