This common, inflammatory skin condition affects mainly adults and children aged 10 years upwards. Babies can also be affected but this tends to be rare. Psoriasis is characterised by red, raised patches of skin which are hard and scaly, and develop on certain areas of the body. These include the scalp, elbows and knees and lower back. There are five different varieties of psoriasis but the two which affect babies and children are:

  • Guttate psoriasis
  • Plaque psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis occurs more in children than adults and appears as small, red spots on the arms and legs and body.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis which affects babies as well. It appears as a red, raised patch of skin with a flaky white covering or scale. This type of psoriasis develops on the scalp, elbows and knees. Both of these are mild cases of psoriasis. Moderate and severe cases tend to cover larger areas of the body and result in blisters or lesions. Psoriasis isn’t that common in babies and can in fact, be a different type of skin rash such as eczema or ringworm. If the rash appears in the groin area then it could be nappy rash.

Psoriasis can be itchy and sore and in some cases, the affected skin may crack and bleed.

Causes of psoriasis

No-one is exactly sure what causes psoriasis but it appears to be triggered by an excess production of skin cells. These cells are shed far more quickly than normal which leads to a build up on the surface of the skin.

This build up appears as raised, scaly patches of skin. Extra blood is circulated into these infected areas which causes the angry red colour.

Psoriasis can be inherited. Some babies with psoriasis are part of a family in which one person already has psoriasis.

But, there are babies who develop psoriasis without a family history of this condition.

Treatment of psoriasis

Psoriasis is uncommon in babies so if you think your baby has developed it then visit your GP. Another factor is that it may be another type of skin rash such as seborrhoeic dermatitis or eczema which looks similar to psoriasis.

If it is a mild case then your GP will advise you to apply a moisturiser or a topical cream to the infected areas. It is also a good idea to put a pair of mittens on your baby’s hands to stop him/her from scratching at this rash.

A moderate or severe case will require a stronger form of treatment such as anti-histamines (to treat the itching) or an oral medication. Antibiotics are only prescribed if your baby has developed a bacterial infection, possibly from scratching the infected areas.

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