What is psoriasis in children?
Psoriasis in children is a common, non-infectious skin condition. The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. This means that the skin cells are growing much faster than normal and should not fall off. Cells from on the surface of the skin, causing areas of thick, silver-red skin to form plaques. The plates are usually covered with thick, itchy, silver-white scales. The most active immune system is responsible for this process.
Plaque psoriasis can appear anywhere on your body, but it’s most common on the knees, skin, elbows, and torso.
Psoriasis can be passed from generation to generation. According to the national psoriasis foundation (NPF), if you or your child’s other parents have psoriasis, it can go as high as 10 percent for your child. If you and other parents of your child have a skin condition, your child’s chances of development will increase by 50 percent, perhaps even more.
Types of psoriasis in children
There are five types of psoriasis, but some are more common in children than others. These symptoms also appear differently in children. For example, they are more likely to develop psoriasis on the face or around the joints.
There are two main types of psoriasis in children:
- Plaque psoriasis: Most children with psoriasis have this type. This causes dry, red patches called plaques. It also contributes to silver standards. Plaques or scales are commonly found on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. They itch, redden, and sometimes hurt. They can also bleed. Plaque psoriasis patches in children are smaller, thinner, and less scaly than in adults.
- Guttate psoriasis: This type is also known as “drop-shaped” psoriasis. It causes small red spots to form on the trunk, back, arms, and legs. It is more likely to be triggered by a strep infection. Many children with this type of psoriasis also develop plaque psoriasis.
Children under the age of 2 can have a psoriatic diaper rash. It occurs on the skin covered by the diaper. It may look like plaque psoriasis or cause a red, weeping rash. You can tell the difference between psoriatic diaper rash and regular diaper rash because psoriatic diaper rash does not get better with regular treatment for diaper rash.
Causes of psoriasis in children
Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact cause of psoriasis, but many agree that it has a strong genetic pattern. An individual can pass it on to their children through genes.
Beyond that, the researchers concluded that a dysfunction of the immune system can lead to the overproduction of skin cells, which can lead to plaques and lesions that cause psoriasis.
Some known triggers that can cause or worsen psoriasis for the first time are:
- Throat or upper respiratory tract infection
Psoriasis is not contagious and a child cannot pass it on to another child. Therefore, it is not necessary to avoid contact between children who have and do not have it. Instead, parents and guardians should encourage children to socialize with others, as this will help them build a support network and reduce feelings of loneliness.
Symptoms of psoriasis in children
The main symptoms of psoriasis in children are thick red patches of skin plaques. These can include burning, itching, or a sore throat. Oftentimes, silver scales cover the panels.
Plaques can appear anywhere. In children, they are more common in:
- On the scalp
- Skin contact areas (such as where the arm is bent or in the armpit)
- Diaper area (in children)
Other symptoms of psoriasis in children:
- Dry, cracked skin can sometimes bleed
- Thick and pitted nails
- Arthritis (painful, stiff, and swollen joints)
Diagnosis of psoriasis in children
The doctor will examine your baby’s skin. Tell the healthcare provider:
- When you first notice a skin problem
- If it spills liquid or blood or is crusty
- If it changes size, color, or shape
- If your child has pain or itching
Tell your health care provider if your child has ever had skin cancer and if your family members have skin cancer.
Your child’s doctor will take a tissue (biopsy) from a mole or other skin marker that looks like cancer. The tissue is sent to the laboratory. A doctor called a pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope. Other tests may be done to find out if you have cancer cells in the sample.
The biopsy results are ready in a few days or a week. Your child health care provider will notify you of the results. He or she will tell you about other tests that may be needed if cancer is found.
Treatment for psoriasis in children
Treating psoriasis in children can reduce the severity of inflammation and help with the stress that psoriasis has. However, before a child undergoes any treatment, their parents or guardians should discuss the risks and benefits with the treating physician or dermatologist and ask if it is medically necessary.
If the clothing covers a child’s wounds or if he or she does not feel discomfort as a result of the symptoms, treatment may not be necessary. Visible injuries can cause a child to become socially isolated, and the itching can lead to distraction at school. If the symptoms are affecting the child’s quality of life, treatment may be necessary.
Treatment options include:
- Topical treatment
- Oral medications
People use topical therapy to treat most cases of psoriasis. This type of treatment includes medicated creams and lotions such as vitamin ‘D’ creams, moisturizers, and keratolytic lotions, which help a person cleanse dander, and topical corticosteroids.
Phototherapy involves the use of ultraviolet (UV) light focused on the skin and is generally recommended by doctors only for children older than 10 years. People with mild plaque or gout psoriasis respond better to phototherapy. Treatment is done two to three times a week in a hospital or dermatological clinic.
If the plaques or lesions don’t respond to other treatments, doctors sometimes prescribe oral medications to help treat psoriasis in children. These are systemic medications that directly treat specific parts of the immune system that address the root cause of psoriasis. Usually, people use them for moderate and intense performance and only take them for a short time. Doctors rarely prescribe them for psoriasis of the skin.
Department to consult for this condition
- Department of dermatology