Meet Dr. Amanda Moon
Amanda Moon, MD, is a pediatric dermatologist at Drexel Medicine where she sees patients in Center City Philadelphia. Dr. Moon has trained at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Moon is an assistant professor and chief of the Division of Pediatric Dermatology at Drexel University College of Medicine.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before medical school and what sparked your interest in the field?
I was born and raised in South Jersey. I'm the oldest of four girls. I don't remember exactly when I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but it started at an early age. My youngest sister has some medical issues, so seeing that from the family perspective played a role in my interest. Additionally, my mom used to babysit my cousin's children while she was a medical student. I remember talking to my cousin about her anatomy class and being interested in what she was doing. I also loved my pediatricians and I always thought pediatrics was what I'd specialize in.
Why did you go into pediatric dermatology?
I had planned to go into pediatrics. When I was a medical student, I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed procedural medicine while on my surgery rotation. Then, on my pediatric rotation, I saw a lot of dermatology patients. I knew that dermatology was a procedural field, so that got me thinking about pediatric dermatology. At the time, I didn't know anything about the field, so I reached out to Dr. Albert Yan at CHOP, who is one of the fathers of pediatric dermatology. He encouraged me to pursue pediatric dermatology and it has been a natural fit.
What kind of training did that involve?
Most dermatologists do an internship in internal medicine, but because I wanted to pursue pediatric dermatology, I completed my internship in pediatrics at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. After that, I went to the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York for my dermatology training. I practiced there for a year after my training while my husband finished his emergency medicine residency. During that year, I saw mostly adult patients because I hadn't formally combined the two—pediatrics and dermatology. Once my husband finished residency, we came back to Philadelphia where I completed a fellowship in pediatric dermatology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
What are some of the common conditions you treat in pediatric dermatology?
A lot of people think it's just eczema and acne (which it is!), but there's much more to it. There are a lot of unique birth lesions that babies can get. Infantile hemangiomas are one of my favorite things to treat. These are vascular tumors that grow until about a year and then go away on their own, but they can be cosmetically deforming during that time. Additionally, if infantile hemangiomas are near an eye or a nose or if they're in the diaper area, they can break down, get sores, and even compromise the function of those organs. Fortunately, we have great medicine to treat them. There's also other types of birthmarks and unique rashes that kids get. I also treat hair loss, and diseases of the nails.
What services do you provide as a pediatric dermatologist to treat these conditions?
I perform skin checks for children and adolescents that are worried about their nevi, or moles. I provide treatments for common conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. I also see lots of infectious diseases. Warts and molluscum are very common. I also manage bacterial infections, such as staph and strep. These are more commonly seen in children with eczema, or atopic dermatitis. Kids also come in with various rashes that are caused by viruses- such as hives or pityriasis rosea. Genetic syndromes can present with skin lesions, and my job is to help patients figure out what their skin lesions might mean. I help diagnose and manage some types of autoimmune disease, like lupus and dermatomyositis. Hidradenitis, which consists of recurrent boils, is another condition that I treat. If kids have any moles or other growths that need to be removed, I will do those procedures or refer them to our Mohs surgeon here at Drexel Dermatology who does pediatric surgery and help with larger lesions on the head and neck. I also use a pulsed dye laser to treat children with vascular lesions, such as infantile hemangiomas, port wine stains, and spider angiomas.
Why do some children have more severe acne than others?
Sometimes it's family history. If a parent had really bad acne, there's probably something in the genetics that could be causing it. Kids who play a lot of sports and aren't great about cleaning their sporting equipment or showering right after can get a specialized type of acne—a frictional acne. That can sometimes be treated by just improving hygiene habits, although most acne has nothing to do with hygiene. It's due to hormonal change in adolescents, which leads to growth of the oil glands.
Sometimes patients have underlying conditions. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome in girls can lead to a specific type of acne along the jawline, which tends to flare with periods. Their periods can also be irregular, so sometimes we will do a hormonal workup.
We can't really predict who's going to have bad acne and who's not, but we offer treatment for mild acne, severe acne, and very severe. We start out with topical medications and washes, and then we'll add oral medicines if we need to.
Acne and other skin conditions can affect self-confidence and have other emotional side effects. How do you address that?
That can be challenging. Sometimes the patient won't bring it up at all. Sometimes the parent will mention it. Regardless, I reassure every patient that if you stick with your treatments, we'll find something that works. It may take a few tries and sometimes rashes or acne can get worse before getting better, but we have lots of really good choices to treat acne, and other skin conditions. I also talk to my patients about upcoming social events like prom and vacations, and we will try to plan treatments around those.
In any type of pediatric medicine, you're treating patients who may not fully understand what's going on. How do you tailor your approach to younger patients?
I'm a parent myself. I have two young children and I think that's enhanced my ability to understand what questions the parents will have. Being a parent has also taught me patience, and I bring that with me when I'm working with patients and their families.
I think it's reasonable for parents to have lots of questions, and I try to take the time to really explain things to them. In pediatrics, you can't just say, "Here's your medicine. Take it and you'll get better." You have to take a family-centered approach and explain how to use the medicine and take the time to talk with the parents so that it's used correctly.
Pediatrics includes a big age range. Teenagers usually want to be treated like the adult, but you still need to incorporate the parents. For the little ones, you have to examine the child, but everything else goes through the parents. You have to find the proper balance depending on the situation and I find that enjoyable. It makes my job fun and interesting.
What do you like most about working at Drexel?
When I was finishing my fellowship, I had the choice of trying private practice or staying in academics. I chose academic medicine. I love the learning environment because it keeps me sharp and brings a good energy into the practice. I enjoy working with the medical students and with the residents that rotate through our practice. I work very closely with the dermatology residents in my clinics. The medical students are either going into dermatology or sometimes are looking for the dermatology exposure before pursuing their chosen field of internal medicine, pediatrics, or other specialties. I also work with pediatric residents from Saint Christopher's Hospital for Children to give them the opportunity to see skin conditions managed by a pediatric dermatologist. Overall it's just a great place to practice medicine because of the people who are here.
Amanda Moon, MD
Pediatric Dermatology, Dermatology
MD - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2010)
BA in Biology - Rutgers University (2007)
Drexel Dermatology Center City
The Arnold T. Berman, MD Building
219 N. Broad Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.
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