What types of psoriasis are there?
Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris), the most common form. In plaque psoriasis, lesions have a reddened base covered by silvery scales. It typically appears as thick, flaky patches of skin on one or more parts of the body. Sometimes the patches of affected skin are large, extending over much of the body. The patches, known as plaques or lesions, can wax and wane but tend to be chronic. Plaque psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body. Commonly affected sites are the elbows, knees,
knuckles, scalp, trunk, arms and legs, and external sex organs. The plaques do not always itch, but when scratched they can become inflamed. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
Guttate psoriasis. Small, drop-like lesions appear on the trunk, limbs, and scalp. Guttate psoriasis is most often triggered by bacterial infections. This type of psoriasis most often affects children and young adults. It appears as small, red bumps-the size of drops of water-on the skin. It usually appears suddenly, often several weeks after an infection such as strep throat. Antibiotics may be used to treat guttate psoriasis that is triggered by an infection. Guttate psoriasis usually responds to treatment and may gradually go away on its own. Many people who have an episode of guttate psoriasis may not have another one for many years. In adults who have plaque psoriasis, the appearance of the small droplike bumps of guttate psoriasis can be a sign that the disease is flaring up.
Pustular psoriasis. Blisters of noninfectious pus appear on the skin. Medicines, infections, emotional stress, or exposure to certain chemicals can bring on attacks of this form of psoriasis. It may affect either small or large areas of the body. People with this condition may need to be treated in the hospital. They are usually ill with fever and chills. They need special therapies because standard treatments for psoriasis easily irritate their skin. Pustular psoriasis can be disabling when it affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Erythrodermic psoriasis. Itching or pain occurs along with widespread reddening and scaling of the skin. A severe sunburn, use of oral steroids (such as cortisone), or a drug-related rash can trigger this type of psoriasis. Erythroderma is a generalised redness of the skin. It is a very severe skin condition that can be fatal. It can be the result of many inflammatory skin conditions, drugs and malignancies but in a third of cases it is due to psoriasis. This is a serious but rare, complication of psoriasis. Large areas of the skin become hot, red and dry and you may also experience itching, pain and swelling. This is one of the few emergencies involving skin conditions. If you suffer from this disorder your doctor will admit you to hospital.
Flexural psoriasis. Smooth well-defined patches in body folds. This form of psoriasis appears as smooth, dry areas of skin that are red and inflamed but do not have the scaling associated with plaque psoriasis (the most common type of psoriasis). Flexural psoriasis is more frequent and severe in people who are overweight because it is in the skin folds where it is particularly prone to irritation from rubbing and sweating. Also called inverse psoriasis. Flexural psoriasis appears as smooth inflamed lesions without scaling and is prone to irritation due to rubbing and sweating.
Psoriatic arthritis. About 10 percent of the people who have psoriasis will develop a form of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. This causes inflammation and swelling in the hands, feet or in larger joints such as the knees, hips, elbows and the spine. It may cause stiffness, pain and joint damage.
Nail psoriasis: Psoriasis can affect toenails and fingernails. It usually appears as pits in the nails and the nails may change to a yellowish colour and become thick or crumble easily. They may also be surrounded by inflammation. In some cases the nail may break away from the nail bed.
Scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis affects at least half of all people who have psoriasis. Raised, inflamed lesions covered with silvery white scales will develop on the scalp and particularly along the hair margins.
More information on psoriasis
What is psoriasis? - Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched.
What types of psoriasis are there? - Types of psoriasis include plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, flexural psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and nail psoriasis.
What causes psoriasis? - Psoriasis is driven by the immune system. Psoriasis is the growth of too many skin cells. The first outbreak of psoriasis is often triggered by emotional or mental stress or physical skin injury.
How is psoriasis diagnosed? - Physicians diagnose psoriasis by examining the affected skin. In people with psoriatic arthritis, the arthritis usually follows the appearance of psoriasis.
What triggers psoriasis? - Psoriasis triggers include streptococcal infection, sun exposure, drug reactions, hormonal factors, psychological factors, and skin trauma.
What are the psoriasis symptoms? - Symptoms depend on the type of psoriasis the individual has and may include bright red areas of raised patches (plaques) on the skin, tiny areas of bleeding, and itching.
What are the psoriasis risk factors? - The risks associated with developing psoriasis are similar to the triggers of the disease. The most significant risk factor for psoriasis is a family history of the condition.
What is the treatment for psoriasis? - The treatment is chosen on the basis of the pattern of psoriasis and its severity. Treatments for psoriasis can often control the disease for long periods.
What is the topical treatment for psoriasis? - Some patients with psoriasis respond well to ointment or cream forms of corticosteroids, vitamin D3, retinoids, coal tar, or anthralin. The medication that is best may depend on the type and location of the psoriasis.
What is the phototherapy treatment for psoriasis? - Phototherapy treatment for psoriasis uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill T cells in skin, reducing redness and slowing the overproduction of skin cells that causes scaling.
What is the systemic treatment for psoriasis? - Systemic treatment for psoriasis involves taking medicines internally by pill or injection. Systemic psoriasis treatment drugs include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine.
What is plaque psoriasis? - Plaque psoriasis can is a disease with very clearly defined area of skin which has a raised, red and inflamed section of skin covered in silvery scales.
What is guttate psoriasis? - Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that looks like small, salmon-pink drops on the skin. Guttate psoriasis is characterised by multiple tiny areas of psoriasis.
What is flexural psoriasis? - Flexural psoriasis is a form of psoriasis found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other flexion creases (skin folds) such as those around the genitals and buttocks.
What is pustular psoriasis? - Pustular psoriasis is an uncommon form of psoriasis. People with pustular psoriasis have clearly defined, raised bumps on the skin that are filled with pus (pustules).
What is erythrodermic psoriasis? - Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that often affects most of the body surface. Erythroderma is a generalised redness of the skin.
What is scalp psoriasis? - Scalp psoriasis range from very mild with fine scaling to very severe with thick, crusted plaques. Scalp psoriasis scales appear powdery with a silvery sheen.