National Psoriasis Awareness Week 1st – 7th November 2014

Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by accelerated skin growth, resulting in flaky, crusty patches of skin, which can feel itchy and sore.

These patches usually appear on the creases of elbows and knees, the scalp and lower back areas, but can appear anywhere on the body.

Psoriasis is not contagious although it can run in families.  It is thought that the immune system of sufferers attacks some of their healthy skin cells, causing them to grow more rapidly than normal.

Symptoms can come and go, with sufferers often experiencing ‘flare ups’ of the condition.  These could be triggered by stress, illness or certain medications.

Psoriasis in Children

It is quite rare for babies and young children to have psoriasis, but it can occur.  Ordinarily people get their first outbreak between the ages of 15 and 35.

The most common form of psoriasis in children is plaque psoriasis on areas such as the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.  The plaque can look red and shiny and well demarcated (i.e. you can clearly see where it ends and normal skin begins).

Guttate psoriasis is also more common in childhood and teenage years.  This is often triggered by the Streptococcus bacteria (ie. After a throat infection). It looks like a rash of small, scaly patches up to 1cm in diameter, over the trunk, limbs and occasionally the scalp.

Treatments available

Topical treatments such as creams and ointments can help manage the condition.  Moisturisers and emollients help smooth and hydrate the skin, keeping it in good condition.  Active creams such as coal tar-based ointments, vitamin D analogues and topical steroid creams can also help soothe the symptoms.

If topical treatments don’t work then your child’s doctor might refer them to a dermatologis for more specialised treatments such as UV light therapy or oral medication.

Support and information

The above information was taken from the following websites:

Psoriasis Association:

National Psoriasis Foundation:

The psoriasis Foundation also provide advice for parents, coving topics such as:

  • About the condition
  • Bullying
  • Telling others
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