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Pediatric Psoriasis

What is Pediatric Psoriasis? Psoriasis is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, leading to an accelerated skin cell turnover and the formation of thick, scaly patches known as plaques. In pediatric psoriasis, these symptoms can manifest in children of various ages, from infants to adolescents, impacting their physical and emotional well-being.


Symptoms in Children: Pediatric psoriasis can present with a variety of symptoms, which may vary in severity and appearance.

Common signs of psoriasis in children include:

  • Red, Raised Patches: The hallmark symptom of psoriasis is the development of red, raised patches of skin covered with silvery-white scales. These patches, known as plaques, can appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, trunk, and other areas of the body.
  • Itching and Discomfort: Psoriasis plaques can be itchy and uncomfortable, leading to scratching and potential skin irritation. In severe cases, the itching sensation may interfere with a child’s sleep and daily activities.
  • Nail Changes: Psoriasis can affect the nails, causing pitting, discoloration, thickening, and separation from the nail bed. Nail involvement may be particularly challenging to diagnose in children and can contribute to self-esteem issues.
  • Scalp Involvement: Psoriasis of the scalp can result in red, scaly patches and may be mistaken for dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. Children with scalp psoriasis may experience itching, flaking, and discomfort.
  • Inverse Psoriasis: In some cases, psoriasis may present in skin folds such as the groin, armpits, and under the breasts. Inverse psoriasis appears as smooth, red patches without the typical scaling seen in other areas.


Diagnosis: Diagnosing psoriasis in children often involves a thorough clinical evaluation by a dermatologist or pediatrician. The healthcare provider will examine the child’s skin, nails, and scalp for characteristic signs of psoriasis. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other skin conditions.


Management and Treatment: The management of pediatric psoriasis typically involves a combination of topical treatments, phototherapy, and, in some cases, systemic medications.

Treatment options may include:

  • Topical Steroids: Corticosteroid creams or ointments can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching associated with psoriasis plaques. These medications are often used as first-line therapy for mild to moderate cases.
  • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: Non-steroidal medications such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus may be prescribed for sensitive areas such as the face, genitals, and skin folds.
  • Phototherapy: Light therapy, or phototherapy, involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet (UV) light under medical supervision. Phototherapy can help slow the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation in psoriasis plaques.
  • Systemic Medications: In severe or refractory cases of pediatric psoriasis, systemic medications such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, or biologic agents may be considered. These medications work by targeting specific components of the immune system involved in the development of psoriasis.
  • Emollients and Moisturizers: Keeping the skin well-hydrated with emollients and moisturizers can help alleviate dryness and discomfort associated with psoriasis.


In addition to medical treatment, it is important to address the emotional impact of psoriasis on children and provide support for coping with the condition. Encouraging open communication, promoting self-esteem, and connecting with support groups or mental health professionals can help children manage the psychosocial aspects of living with psoriasis.

Pediatric psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that can significantly impact the lives of affected children and their families. By recognizing the symptoms, seeking timely medical evaluation, and implementing appropriate treatment strategies, children with psoriasis can effectively manage their symptoms and enjoy an improved quality of life. If you suspect your child may have psoriasis, consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on treatment options tailored to your child’s needs.

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