Psoriasis, which is a chronic skin disease, can affect both adults and children. People with psoriasis have rapidly replicating skin cells that build up on the skin’s surface to form red, scaly patches. This disease doesn’t yet have a cure, but psoriasis treatments can be effective for managing the signs and symptoms. Bring your child to a dermatologist for specialized care if you notice unusual changes of his or her skin.
Signs of Psoriasis
Psoriasis symptoms can go away for a while, and then flare up again in response to a trigger, like stress, sunburn, or skin injuries. There are different types of psoriasis, and so symptoms can vary from one patient to the next. In general, however, parents can watch out for these signs:
- Raised patches of reddened skin
- Silvery scales on red patches
- Excessively dry, cracked skin
- Persistent itching or burning in the area
- Thickened, pitted fingernails
Types of Psoriasis
The most common type is plaque psoriasis. It causes the hallmark scales and red patches. The affected areas, called plaques, can be itchy and painful. They often develop on the knees, elbows, scalp, and lower back. Guttate psoriasis is usually diagnosed in younger patients. It causes small, red spots to develop on the trunk, arms, and legs, and sometimes on the face and scalp. Guttate psoriasis usually develops after the patient has had an illness. Other types of psoriasis include inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic psoriasis, as well as psoriatic arthritis.
Treatments for Psoriasis
The goals of psoriasis treatment are to clear up the skin abnormalities and reduce the inflammation. Some medications are applied directly to the skin in the form of a cream or ointment, while others are taken orally or injected. The dermatologist may have to try different treatment regimens before finding the one that works best for your child. Another possible treatment is light therapy. The doctor may recommend exposing the child to natural or artificial UV light for brief amounts of time. Too much unprotected sun exposure can make psoriasis worse, and increase the risk of skin cancer later in life.
At Arlington Dermatology, the well-being and comfort of our pediatric patients are very important to us. Our dermatologists in Arlington Heights will go the extra mile to help your child find relief of his or her psoriasis symptoms. You can reach our office at 847-392-5440 to request an appointment.