My ten-year old son has mild psoriasis. Are there dermatologists who specialize in working with children?

Pediatric dermatologists have specialized training for the diagnosis and treatment of children with dermatologic disorders. Check with your doctor about being referred to a paediatric dermatologist.

My young daughter was just diagnosed with psoriasis. How can I help her understand this chronic disease?

It is very important for a parent to be well-informed about the nature of psoriasis. To explain how each person is different, use examples such as eye or hair colour, then tell her that psoriasis is another quality that makes her unique. Meeting other children with psoriasis might be helpful, as well as joining local support groups. Acknowledging your child’s initial emotional discomfort might make her more open about her feelings later on. Also, read through the Children’s Guide with your child to help them understand and familiarize themselves with psoriasis.

I have some specific questions about how to care for a 12-year-old girl with severe psoriasis. Her scalp is about 80 percent covered. What do you recommend for her treatment?

Topical corticosteroids seem to work very well for scalp psoriasis, if people can find the time to actually put them on. Topical steroids in a solution, shampoo or foam seem to be easiest to use in the scalp.

People with scalp psoriasis should try applying the medication twice a day for one week. It can be hard to find the time to do it and not miss any applications, but with such regular use, most patients will see the psoriasis improve quickly. If it doesn’t start to improve within a week, other things can be added, including salicylic acid or tar shampoos.

My child has mild psoriasis, but I believe they have the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Are they too young for arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis usually occurs in patients between the ages of 30 to 50. However, psoriatic arthritis makes up about 10 to 15 percent of all chronic childhood arthritis cases. The arthritis precedes the skin symptoms in more than half of the children.

Unlike adults, psoriatic arthritis affects girls two to three times more than boys. Studies show that children and adults with psoriatic arthritis may start out with only one or two joints involved, but over time, more than half progress to four or more joints (polyarthritis). Unlike adults, psoriatic arthritis in children may be associated with chronic eye inflammation called uveitis. This is a treatable, controllable condition. It is frequently associated with a blood test called ANA (anti-nuclear antibody).