Understand more about your conditionWe tend to think of psoriasis as a single condition, but there are, in fact, several different types.
Plaque psoriasisThis is the most common form, affecting about 80% of people with psoriasis. It can appear anywhere but is mostly found on the elbows, knees, back and scalp. Symptoms include raised, red plaques covered by silvery white scales which fall off regularly.
Scalp psoriasisAffecting between 50%-80% of people with psoriasis, the condition itself is actually the same as plaque psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis ranges from very mild (slight, fine scaling) to very severe, with thick crusted plaques covering the entire scalp and extending beyond the hairline onto the forehead, the back of the neck and around the ears.
Guttate psoriasisThis type affects about 10% of people with psoriasis – mostly those under age 18 – and appears as small red scaly dots which look like drops of red water sprinkled over the body. Guttate psoriasis can often be triggered by a streptococcus throat infection. Mild cases may disappear without treatment. Guttate psoriasis may develop into plaque –type psoriasis, which is the most common form of psoriasis.
Pustular psoriasisLess than 5% of people with psoriasis are affected by pustular psoriasis. It can appear as a complication to plaque psoriasis, as a result of taking certain medicines, or as a result of abruptly stopping a treatment which has been used continuously for a long period of time. The plaques in pustular psoriasis are characterised by pustules, raised bumps filled with pus, with the hands and feet most affected. Pustular psoriasis is also not contagious.
Psoriasis is a single name that covers a number of different conditions. Learning more about each type of psoriasis can help you understand your symptoms.
Flexural or inverse psoriasisLess common, this usually occurs on the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other skin folds around the genitals and buttocks. It appears as bright red, smooth patches around the folds of the skin and, at its edges, can cause cracks in the skin. It can be made worse by sweat and by skin rubbing together because of its location.
Psoriatic arthritisAround 30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. It is most likely to develop in people between 30-50 years old. Both genes and environmental factors may play a role in the onset of the disease. Psoriatic arthritis is treated in the same way as rheumatoid arthritis.
Erythrodermic psoriasisThis occurs only rarely. It can cover the body with red, scaling patches. This is one of the most severe forms of psoriasis and can be life-threatening because the protective barrier of large areas of skin is affected.