For many patients, the symptoms of psoriasis do not become apparent until they are adults. According to the Psoriasis Association figures, only 0.71% of all under 18 have psoriasis. In contrast, about 10 to 15 % are affected by neurodermatitis. Due to its rarity, therefore, it is often misjudged, and psoriasis is not recognized.
The following symptoms are typical for common psoriasis (med. Psoriasis vulgaris):
The causes of psoriasis are not fully understood. However, heredity certainly plays a decisive role. That is why psoriasis often occurs in several family members. For example, in identical twins, the risk is about two-thirds that not only one but both siblings will have psoriasis. In addition, there are specific triggers, such as other diseases or the use of certain medications.
Every person permanently needs new skin cells. These renew themselves on average about every 28 days. If a child has psoriasis, the body needs only three to seven days for this process. As a result, there is a visible formation of scales.
In addition, the body’s defense cells (T-cells and phagocytes) become active and try to fight off a supposed infestation by viruses or bacteria. Thus, the body works against itself, causing inflammation of the skin.
Injuries to the skin, contact with chemical substances (e.g., fragrances in washing powder or shampoo), and sunburn can aggravate skin problems or trigger them.
Psoriasis is much more than a cosmetic problem. Many children suffer from itching and the unpleasant feeling on the skin and face ridicule from their classmates.
This psychological influence on health is often underestimated to this day. The soul and the body suffer equally. If the diagnosis of psoriasis has been made, it should therefore be dealt with as openly as possible.
Do not try to see the affected areas as a blemish and hide them. To deal with psoriasis as a child, you need to have a strong sense of self-confidence. In addition to doctors, parents are essential supporters in dealing with the disease properly.
Is your baby suffering from psoriasis? You must take your baby to see a doctor if they have a rash to ensure it doesn’t require immediate treatment and get the right advice. He is the one who can tell what type of psoriasis has developed in your baby’s body. Yes, indeed, this is not a very common problem among children. From time to time, it is treated as cradle cap or diaper rash; however, you must be very careful and take care of the baby as per the prescription and guidance of the doctor.
Creams are used first before more potent drugs, or extended therapy measures are considered. For example, doctors usually use ointments with urea and salicylic acid at the beginning of therapy. This promotes the desquamation of the skin, which leads to a reduction of the externally visible skin scales.
On the other hand, ointments containing cortisone are not used until later. This measure is particularly controversial in children. In addition, corticoids can only be used for a short time and only in relatively small areas.
There is nothing to be said against trying to counteract psoriasis with known home remedies in this first phase.
Typical home remedies are:
Light or laser therapy can be used to improve healing. However, due to the radiation exposure, skin cancer increases, so this treatment is not yet used in children.
This therapy is often used in combination with special vitamin D derivatives. The aim is to reduce the excessive cell division in psoriasis.
Drug therapy is used primarily in severe courses of the disease. What helps, however, depends very much on the individual clinical picture.
Modern therapies often rely on biologics. These unique active ingredients are based on the body’s natural elements. They cannot cure the disease, but they can suppress the symptoms of psoriasis in a child and an adult.
The problem is that some patients get used to biologics, so the preparation has to be changed. In addition, the costs are very high, so such therapy is usually considered only when other means do not help.
Various studies show that a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and the number of relapses.
Obesity, lack of exercise, and stress often worsen the condition. Therefore, try to do sports with your children, get regular exercise in the fresh air and eat a balanced diet.
It is also crucial for adults to drink as little alcohol as possible and not smoke to relieve the symptoms.
Start with a visit to your pediatrician. If the psoriasis is particularly severe or persistent, you should see a dermatologist. How do I know if it is psoriasis or neurodermatitis?
The distinction between psoriasis and eczema-like neurodermatitis is difficult. It is believed that the immune system triggers both skin diseases. Psoriasis usually looks worse than atopic dermatitis – it is redder and scaly, while atopic dermatitis is usually pink, and the skin does not flake like that.
Your doctor will probably prescribe a cortisone ointment at first. This should stop the redness and any itching. Next, you need to get the large scales off the skin and soften the rash. There are two active ingredients for this. One type is calcipotriol and tacalcitol, both of which are related to vitamin D. If that doesn’t help, tar ointments are used, a medicinal form of road tar. That’s exactly how they smell. Unfortunately, both the tar ointment and the vitamin D relatives can irritate the skin, but you can use cortisone to curb the unpleasant side effects.
For psoriasis on the scalp, you will probably be prescribed the same medications but in a different form. They come as solutions that you can spread on your hair and rub in. Your doctor may also recommend a tar-based shampoo, such as Neutrogena T-Gel.
Keep the skin moist. Regular baths can help, as long as you do them correctly. Bathe your child in lukewarm water without much soap. After bathing, apply lots of moisturizing milk to your little one to retain the water that has soaked into the skin. If the skin is dry and rough, this can lead to another psoriasis outbreak.
A little sunshine. If you’re lucky, Mother Nature offers her helping hand. Some psoriasis disappears when you expose it to a bit of sunlight. (You may also have noticed that your child’s skin looks healthier in the summer). Of course, more time in the sun increases the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. Therefore, take it very slowly. Start by exposing the skin to the midday sun for five minutes. Extend this time by a few minutes each day for about a week. One more caveat: If your child is fair-skinned and very sensitive to the sun, the method just suggested may not be the best. Get your doctor’s opinion.
Your doctor might recommend a bath in a tar solution in severe cases. This is not as horrible as it sounds, except, of course, for the Eau-de-asphalt smell. Regular light therapy has a detoxifying effect but may be time-consuming. You may need to go to a special clinic several times a week, where your child will be exposed to increasingly intense UV light. This method is a good alternative if the weather does not allow your child to spend much time in the sun. In exceptional hardship cases, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic or other medication.
The good news is that psoriasis that broke out in childhood becomes milder or disappears entirely with age. But the disease is unpredictable. Unfortunately, you can never tell when a flare-up will come, how long it will last, or when the condition will be over for good.