Psoriasis in Children

Anyone can develop psoriasis, including children. In the United States, roughly 20,000 children under age 10 are diagnosed with this skin condition yearly.

Although psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) condition, it is manageable with the proper treatment and support as flare-ups come and go throughout life.

This article discusses the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood psoriasis.

A premature baby in an incubator

Photodisc / Getty Images

Does Childhood Psoriasis Go Away?

There’s no cure for psoriasis, but it can be treated and managed to help control symptoms. The skin condition tends to be a little unpredictable. Periods of disease flare-ups (worsening symptoms) and periods of remission (disappearing) are common for children and adults with psoriasis.

At What Age Can a Child Get Psoriasis?

Psoriasis can develop at any age, but the disease typically first flares up between the ages of 15 and 35. About a third of people with psoriasis are under the age of 20 when first diagnosed.

Which Children Get Psoriasis?

Researchers have identified several risk factors that may increase a young person's chances of developing psoriasis. Some of these factors include:

Common Types of Childhood Psoriasis

There are several different types of psoriasis. A few are more commonly seen in childhood cases, including:

  • Plaque psoriasis (the most common type of psoriasis overall) causes itchy, dry patches with light or silvery scales known as skin plaques.
  • Guttate psoriasis typically causes a lighter or paler teardrop-shaped rash that usually develops after an infection, like strep throat.

Keep in mind that developing more than one type of psoriasis is possible.

Less Common Types of Childhood Psoriasis

Certain types of psoriasis are less commonly seen in the younger population, such as:


Psoriasis is diagnosed with a physical exam. A healthcare provider looks at the skin, scanning for patches of thick, discolored, scaly skin that come along with the condition. The provider will also likely ask the child (and the parent) about symptoms, family history of psoriasis, and any recent changes, stressors, or illnesses.

A small skin sample may be removed and examined under a microscope to confirm a psoriasis diagnosis. From there, some healthcare providers will classify how severe the psoriasis case is by using a medical reference scale known as Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI).

How Is Psoriasis Treated in Kids?

There's currently no cure for psoriasis, so treatment efforts focus on easing the symptoms and managing flare-ups.

Psoriasis treatment in children differs from adult treatment. Before recommending a treatment plan, the healthcare provider will first consider whether medical treatment is fully necessary—analyzing the risks and benefits and what type of treatment may be needed.

In general, experts may recommend treatment options such as:

  • Mild topical steroids
  • Phototherapy (light therapy)
  • Oral medication
  • Injectable medication

Effect of Psoriasis on Children

Whether you're a child, a teenager, or an adult, visible skin diseases like psoriasis can often impact your quality of life and everyday experience.

  • Mental health: Experts say psoriasis can affect a child's quality of life just as much as other diseases like diabetes and epilepsy. Research shows that people living with psoriasis are more likely to experience depression than the general population. This often translates into psychosocial and mental health issues in childhood, which are more common in younger psoriasis patients.
  • Social effects: Children can also feel the impacts of psoriasis socially, particularly in withdrawing from others in social settings. In addition, persistent symptoms like itch and pain can make it difficult to concentrate during school hours and at home, leading to stress and other psychosocial tolls.

How Parents Can Help Their Child With Psoriasis

Parents or caregivers of children with psoriasis can help make this journey a little easier by working with their medical team on the physical and emotional impacts of this skin condition. Experts recommend supporting your child by:

  • Advocating for the child by encouraging education
  • Involving the child (as appropriate) in discussions or decisions about their treatment plan
  • Acknowledging the child's feelings about living with the condition

Children with psoriasis aren't the only ones who may feel the toll of the disease. Research shows parents of psoriasis patients often carry a heavy burden when helping to manage the disease, particularly when psychological stress is involved.


Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition in children. Though it is a lifelong disease, pediatric psoriasis can be managed and treated with input from a healthcare provider, a parent or caregiver, and the child who has it (if appropriate). Within this treatment plan, it's important to address the emotional, mental, and social tolls that a visible skin disorder like psoriasis can take on children and often the family.

15 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cristina Mutchler
Cristina Mutchler is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in national media, specializing in health and wellness content.