Psoriasis is an itchy, uncomfortable skin disease. It occurs when the life cycle of skin cells is accelerated. This causes skin cells to rapidly accumulate at the skin’s surface, resulting in the scales and patches that are characteristic of psoriasis. Psoriasis can be particularly difficult for children to cope with because of sensitive self-esteem issues. If your child has developed any unusual skin issues, bring him or her to a dermatologist right away.
Types of Pediatric Psoriasis
Dermatologists recognize five types of psoriasis, but only two of these are common in kids. Guttate psoriasis is often triggered by a strep infection. It results in the formation of small red dots on the back, arms, legs, and trunk. Note that kids who have guttate psoriasis may also get plaque psoriasis. This type is the most commonly diagnosed in children. Plaque psoriasis can cause these symptoms:
- Red, dry patches (called plaques).
- Silvery scales.
- Itchy, painful, bleeding patches and scales.
In children, the patches tend to be smaller and less scaly than in adults.
Risk Factors of Pediatric Psoriasis
Although psoriasis isn’t contagious, it’s possible for an unrelated bacterial infection to trigger the first onset of psoriasis. Some of the possible risk factors of pediatric psoriasis include:
- Cold weather.
- High stress levels.
- Skin problems (sunburn, rashes, cuts, or scratches).
Taking certain medications might also raise a child’s risk of psoriasis. These include beta-blockers and anti-malarial drugs.
Treatments for Pediatric Psoriasis
Unfortunately, psoriasis isn’t curable, but it is manageable. Dermatologists may recommend oral or topical medications. Topical applications can be quite effective for treating mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. Since the oral medicines used to treat psoriasis can cause side effects in children, these will probably only be considered in severe cases, and only if the topical medications aren’t effective. Light therapy may sometimes be recommended if the plaques are widespread.
We treat both children and adults here at Arlington Dermatology, and we’ve been serving dermatology patients near Arlington Heights for over 40 years. Our exceptionally qualified dermatologists take a patient-centered, compassionate approach to care. Call 847-392-5440 to request our next available appointment for you or your child.