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Children Can Be Affected With Psoriasis Too

psoriasis in a kid's head

Story at-a-glance -

  • One-third of psoriasis patients are less than 20 years old when the first hallmarks of the disease appear, and 1 in 10 patients develop the condition when they are children
  • A very important precaution about psoriasis symptoms: your child will experience unpredictable cycles or periods of increased and decreased activity

Psoriasis is much more common in children than you might think; the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) estimates that around 20,000 American children under 10 years old are affected with this skin condition annually.

Although psoriasis is a condition that can appear at any age, the disease usually makes its presence felt between the ages of 15 and 35. Plus, one-third of patients are actually younger than 20 years old when initial symptoms appear,1 and 1 in 10 patients develop the condition when they’re children.2

What Causes Psoriasis in Babies and Young Children?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that occurs when the immune system facilitates faster reproduction of skin cells. This results in a two- to six-day turnover instead of a 21- to 28-day cycle. Because these cells quickly multiply, they rise up from under the skin and pile up on the surface where flaky, red and inflamed patches with silvery scales then appear.3

A faulty immune system is said to be responsible for the onset of psoriasis, since the disease involves a type of cell called the T cell. This cell, which is responsible for fighting infections and healing diseases, can be overstimulated by mistake. This then leads to heightened immune responses, inflammation and rapid skin cell turnover.4

Genetics are also a big factor in the development of psoriasis in babies and children, since at least one-third of psoriasis patients have a relative already diagnosed with the condition. If a child has one parent with psoriasis, there is a 10 percent chance that they will have the condition. This risk rises to 50 percent if both parents have psoriasis.5

However, if a child’s parents aren’t affected with psoriasis but has a sibling diagnosed with the condition, then his or her risk goes up by 20 percent.6 Psoriasis is known to skip generations, but a link in the family still remains if a relative has the condition.7

Other common triggers of psoriasis in children include infection/s, skin irritation, stress, obesity and cold weather.8,9,10 On the other hand, upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis or strep throat11 could prompt the onset of a type of psoriasis called guttate psoriasis. Further scratching can also exacerbate psoriasis symptoms.12

Check Your Child for These Typical Symptoms of Psoriasis

The most common symptoms of psoriasis in children include:13

  • Raised patches of skin that are often red and covered with silver scales
  • Dry and cracked skin that can bleed
  • Itching, soreness or burning sensation in and around the affected areas of skin
  • Thick and pitted fingernails

The scalp, face, knees, elbows and buttocks are the locations where psoriasis plaques are most likely to appear, so make sure to check these body parts frequently.14

A very important precaution about psoriasis symptoms: your child may notice that some symptoms suddenly develop and then disappear, only to resurface anytime afterward. This can be confusing and debilitating because while you may think that the child is already healed from the disease, psoriasis may suddenly flare up again.15

Once you notice any signs of childhood or infant psoriasis , consult your physician immediately to figure out how to alleviate any irritation or pain that your child might experience. Fortunately, there are natural treatments that you can give to your child in order to treat psoriasis and hopefully lessen the irritation.16

Don’t forget that psoriasis can have a big impact on a child’s self-esteem. This may cause a child to feel embarrassed and self-conscious. In some cases, as KidsHealth points out, children may even feel depressed.17

Treatment of psoriasis in children involves combating the negative emotional and psychological consequences of the disease. Allowing your child to talk to a therapist or joint a support group for people with the same condition may help. This makes the child feel that he or she may be accepted, and that there is nothing wrong with him or her just because of a psoriasis diagnosis. Reassure the child that they are not alone in this battle so they can go on with daily tasks normally.18,19


Psoriasis: Introduction

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis In Children

Psoriasis Versus Eczema

Psoriatic Arthritis

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

Psoriasis Causes

Psoriasis Types

Psoriasis Symptoms

Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis Prevention

Psoriasis Diet

Celebrities With Psoriasis

Psoriasis FAQ

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Psoriasis Versus Eczema

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