Although less than 4% of the general population has psoriasis, about one-third of the people with the condition are children or teens. In fact, psoriasis often first manifests in babyhood, childhood, or the teenage years.
Psoriasis has no cure, which means that if your child has psoriasis now, they’ll have it for life. However, you can help them learn to manage the physical and emotional aspects of this chronic disease so they can feel more comfortable in their skin.
Paul Yamauchi, MD, PhD, a psoriasis specialist, diagnoses and treats the disease in people of all ages at Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica, California. If your child or teen has psoriasis, here’s what you can do for them.
Many of our culture’s favorite foods — and kids’ favorite foods — are highly processed and made with ingredients that trigger inflammation in the body. As more information about how your gut’s microbiome influences your overall health becomes available, it’s clear that diets rich in sugar and poor-quality fats may worsen psoriasis.
Fortunately, you can help them change their relationship to food by changing their diet at home.
Instead, focus on:
Explore cookbooks to find recipes from the Mediterranean diet and others that appeal to your entire family. A healthy diet not only controls psoriasis outbreaks but also reduces your family’s risk for a host of chronic diseases in the future.
For many children, their psoriasis is mild and only affects parts of their body hidden by clothing. In these cases, they may benefit from topical therapy, such as moisturizers or emollients.
Even moderate to severe cases may improve with a topical approach only, at least at first. Choices include:
If their disease is severe, Dr. Yamauchi may recommend curing light therapy. At Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, we offer Lumenis® B-Clear, a narrow-band UVB laser for noninvasive treatment of psoriasis.
Oral medications are rarely recommended for children. However, if their psoriasis doesn’t respond to other treatments, choices include:
If your child needs oral medication, we recommend short courses only. We also monitor them regularly for side effects.
Some children aren’t bothered by their psoriasis and only experience mild symptoms. In these cases, they may not need treatment at all.
As children become adolescents, their psoriasis may trouble them more, even if their symptoms don’t worsen. They may be embarrassed about their rashes and lesions. If they have scalp psoriasis, they may even lose patches of their hair.
Make sure that the treatment plan you choose for them works for their needs and lifestyle. Talk to them about the importance of using their topical therapy or taking their oral therapy regularly. If they’re distressed by their psoriasis, consider joining a support group or finding a counselor to help them deal with the emotional aspects of a chronic disease.
If your child has psoriasis, find the help and support they need by contacting our friendly staff today. Phone the office or send us an online message.