Psoriasis is a chronic, noncontagious skin condition. Children diagnosed with the most common kind of psoriasis get thick red patches (plaques) on their skin. These patches can be itchy and covered with silvery scales. The patches can occur anywhere on the body, but they most often develop on the elbows, knees, scalp and torso.
Psoriasis occurs because of complex abnormalities of the immune system and skin. This means the body’s own immune system attacks developing healthy skin cells, forcing the cells to the skin’s surface faster than normal. Red patches form because of all the extra skin cells.
Episodes of psoriasis come and go and can be minor or major. An outbreak can be triggered by a variety of situations such as:
Children with psoriasis may feel self-conscious and can become depressed. In about 40 percent of cases, psoriasis is inherited.
Symptoms of psoriasis can vary depending on the specific type of psoriasis. In general, symptoms include:
There are five different kinds of psoriasis:
There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are good treatments that can reduce symptoms and help control flare-ups.
If your child shows signs of psoriasis, a pediatric dermatologist can perform the following exams and tests to make a diagnosis:
The treatment goal for psoriasis is to get patients into remission. Treatments include:
Many therapies quiet the chronic symptoms of psoriasis, but if patients stop treatments, dry red patches of skin or rashes will return.
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