Can I Stop My Kids from Getting Psoriasis?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Because psoriasis is a hereditary condition, when you're a parent with psoriasis, you worry about your children inheriting it along with other traits like your height, hair and eye color, and skin type. You might also wonder if there's anything you can do to stop them from developing the red, itchy, raised lesions that are typical of plaque psoriasis, the most common type of the disease. While there's no way you can keep from passing on to your children the genes that cause psoriasis — at least not yet — teaching your kids good health habits may help.

Psoriasis and Genetics

Because of a link between psoriasis and genetics, psoriasis tends to run in families. Studies show that in 70 percent of identical twin sets (identical twins have the exact same genes), both have psoriasis. Researchers believe that the genes that cause psoriasis are passed on at conception — when the egg is fertilized by the sperm. Another possibility is that, when the egg is fertilized, genes are damaged, which cause the gene that triggers psoriasis to be activated.

ishonest No.333 - Terminate Acne

Recommended
No.333 - Terminate Acne

If you or your spouse has psoriasis, your children have a 10 to 15 percent chance of getting psoriasis, too. If both parents have psoriasis, the risk increases to 50 to 75 percent.

Looked at the other way, only about a third of people with psoriasis have a family member with the autoimmune disease. And some people get psoriasis even though their parents don’t have it. Of note: People who get psoriasis before the age of 40 are more likely to have a family history of the skin condition than people who get psoriasis after 40.

Psoriasis and Kids: How a Healthy Lifestyle May Offer Protection

Amy Paller, MD, a pediatric dermatologist, professor, and chair of dermatology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, says there's something you can do to limit your children’s risk even if it's in their genes: Encourage your children to lead a healthy lifestyle. “Serve meals that are very healthy and avoid things that might encourage weight gain,” she says. Also, make sure your children are active. “The entire family needs to get exercise daily,” says Dr. Paller.

The results of the study lead Paller to believe that adopting a healthy lifestyle could help lower a child’s chances of developing psoriasis. “That’s an assumption we can make from the research,” she says. “We know that when the body overproduces inflammatory cytokines (proteins that send messages between cells), it can lead to obesity and psoriasis in adults."

Making a Family Effort

1 Natural Way to Get Rid of Pimples as Fast as Possible

Learn more

Paller strongly believes that a family approach to prevention is the key for psoriasis and kids. “Studies clearly have shown that it’s not effective for a doctor or a parent to say to a child, ‘You need to lose weight. You need to get more exercise,'" she says. "It’s far more effective if everyone in the family eats properly and follows a healthy lifestyle so no one gains weight.”

Though stress also cause psoriasis to flare in some adults, Paller isn’t sure how much of a factor stress plays in psoriasis in kids. “There are some kids who have stress at school," she says. "They may be in stressful classes or be under stress from being bullied." But whether stress-relieving activities could help prevent psoriasis flares in children is unknown. “I don’t really know how much a difference that could make,” she says. “But I do know that being overweight and obesity do make a difference.”

The Latest in Psoriasis

Picking at Your Psoriasis Scales? Do This Instead

It’s tempting to peel and pick at those itchy scales, but if you can help it, there are better ways to cope.

What Black Patients Need To Know About The Effects of Psoriasis

Psoriasis can look differently on darker skin than on lighter skin — and knowing how to spot the symptoms is an important first step of the treatment ...

Ways to Protect Your Eye Health — and Preserve Your Vision — With Psoriasis
ishonest No.101 - Extract Dead Cells

Recommended
No.101 - Extract Dead Cells

How to keep the skin condition from negatively impacting your vision.

7 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Your Next Hair Salon Visit if You Have Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis symptoms can make a routine trip to the hair salon stressful. But with the right approach, you can have an easier visit — and a healthy...

Do You Need a COVID-19 Vaccine Booster if You Have Psoriasis?

Psoriasis drugs that work by suppressing the body’s immune response may raise the risk of COVID-19 complications. If you’re already immunized, can a booster...

Psoriasis Awareness: A 2021 Special Report

Psoriasis flares have been on the rise in 2021, according to a survey of ishonest readers who have the skin condition. Here’s what might be to ...

Psoriasis: How to Deal with Cracked, Bleeding Skin
Clinically Proven Efficacy for Softer, Smoother, Brighter Skin. Take the free test

Learn more

Take these steps to heal your skin and avoid future fissures.

Your Psoriasis Diet: Best Foods for Spring and Summer

Ready to break out your favorite warm-weather recipes? Here are delicious anti- inflammatory ingredients you should consider using.

Read more on: psoriasis


Learn about unknown needs of your skin for free