This is a collaborative post.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for kids. It causes red, scaly patches on the skin and can be challenging to treat. But there are ways to manage it, and with your help, your child can live a normal life. Let’s explore the causes of the disease and the best psoriasis treatment options.
The Causes of Psoriasis
Some people develop psoriasis because of their genes. If your child’s blood relatives – your or your spouse’s parents, children, brothers, and sisters – have the disease, there is a higher chance that they will too.
Psoriasis can also skip generations. For example, if your child’s grandparents had psoriasis and you do not, there is a higher chance that your children will develop it. But parents need to note that even if you or your spouse don’t have psoriasis, your child might still inherit it from somewhere else in your family tree.
Some people develop psoriasis after an infection, like strep throat or herpes. People with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk for developing this condition.
Streptococcal bacteria are the same bacteria that cause strep throat. When these bacteria enter the body, they can trigger an overactive immune system response in some people, leading to psoriasis. But this type of infection only accounts for about 10% – 20% of all psoriasis cases.
Psoriasis is also related to the environment you live in. For example, if your child lives in an area with cold or dry winters or is exposed to certain materials like nickel (the metal in jewelry), there is a higher chance of developing psoriasis.
The Symptoms of Psoriasis
The most common symptom of psoriasis is red skin, which may be covered with silvery scales. The affected skin cells build up quickly and form thick red patches on the skin called plaques. Psoriasis usually affects the elbows and knees, but it can also appear on your:
• Back or torso,
• Genitals, and
Your child may also have a fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes when they have psoriasis. In addition to skin-related problems, psoriasis can cause:
• Problems in your nails or joints,
• Serious heart problems if it’s left untreated for too long,
• Dry eyes, and
• Anemia, a condition in which your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red cells or hemoglobin.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, let their doctor know right away.
How to Treat Psoriasis
Start Treatment Right Away
Diagnosing psoriasis in children can be difficult because it’s hard to tell between psoriasis and eczema. To make sure your child gets the proper psoriasis treatment, schedule a visit with their doctor right away. In some cases, you may have to see several doctors before one of them can diagnose your child.
Get a Biopsy Done
A biopsy is a medical test that removes cells or tissues from the skin and checks them under a microscope to see if they have psoriasis. It can be done in three ways:
• Punch biopsy, where the skin is cut out with a special tool
• Shave biopsy, where a thin layer of the affected skin is removed with a special blade
• Excising biopsy, where the entire psoriasis patch is surgically removed
Depending on the extent, the doctor may use one or more of these ways to get a sample for their diagnosis.
Take Care of Your Child’s Skin
You and your child must maintain good skin hygiene and avoid picking the scales. You can:
• Use a gentle, non-drying soap on your child’s psoriasis patches
• Apply moisturizer to soften and protect your child’s affected skin
• Keep the skin covered with light clothing made of cotton or linen
• Use medicated lotions that contain coal tar, vitamin A, salicylic acid, or corticosteroids
• Apply ultraviolet lights on your child’s psoriasis patches
• Ask your doctor about topical medications your child can use to ease their symptoms
Keep Your Child’s Diet Balanced and Healthy
Studies have shown that some foods can bring on psoriasis flare-ups or make them worse. But there is no clear proof of which foods affect the condition and how they do so. The same goes for alcohol, smoking, and stress – these factors may influence your child’s psoriasis, but there is no clear data to show how exactly they affect it.
Although there is no cure for psoriasis, research shows that keeping your child’s weight in check and following the correct treatment helps them lead a happier life. If you think they are suffering from any skin condition, do not hesitate to visit a trusted dermatologist near you today.