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What You Need to Know

Symptoms of psoriasis in babies and children are similar to those in adults. The good news: while it can be distressing for parents and baby, most pediatric psoriasis cases can be managed with the help of your baby’s doctor.

Potential Psoriasis Triggers

  • The triggers of psoriasis vary. Sometimes, a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, may spur psoriasis for the first time.
  • Genetics can also play a role as psoriasis tends to run in families. About one out of every three people with the condition also have a relative diagnosed with psoriasis. If a parent has the skin disease, according to research, their child has about a 10 percent chance of having it too.1

What is baby and toddler psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition, which means there’s no cure for it. However, it can be managed. While psoriasis in babies is not as common as in older children, teenagers, and adults, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), each year an estimated 20,000 American children under the age of 10 are diagnosed.2


The most common type is plaque psoriasis.3 You may see it appear on your baby’s torso, arms and legs, as well as on the scalp or face in children. In children, plaque psoriasis patches tend to be smaller, thinner, and less scaly than in adults.


Inverse psoriasis (sometimes called flexural psoriasis) often crops up in baby’s skin folds, particularly in the diaper area.3


Another common psoriasis in children is guttate psoriasis. It usually appears when the child has an infection, especially strep throat, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.4 However, it’s also possible for a child to get guttate psoriasis without having an infection. The rash caused by guttate psoriasis comes on suddenly and usually appears on baby’s chest, back, arms, and legs.5


Sometimes it’s tricky for parents to identify psoriasis because it can present like other common baby skin conditions—including diaper rash, cradle cap, or even a yeast infection, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s important to consult your doctor, who can make a proper diagnosis.


How does psoriasis develop?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, which means the immune system is attacking the body. With psoriasis, the body’s own T cells (a type of white blood cell) attack the body’s skin cells. This causes the body to make new skin cells—far too many. The extra skin cells pile up, the telltale sign of psoriasis. A wide range of triggers might cause psoriasis to develop such as stress, injury, infection, some medications, and exposure to cold, dry weather. 6


Is there a difference between eczema and psoriasis?

Although eczema and psoriasis may appear similar, they are completely different skin conditions—and it’s possible to have both. Generally, the itching associated with psoriasis tends to be milder than the itching associated with eczema. 7 Always consult your pediatrician who can recommend a dermatologist to diagnose.


Can psoriasis in babies and toddlers be treated?

Your pediatrician or dermatologist may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter product designed to keep your baby’s skin clean and well-hydrated.

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