Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects more than 7.5 million people in the United States. Though it typically affects adults, it can develop in people of any age and it comes in many different forms.
There are a number of different types of psoriasis differentiated by their symptoms and triggers – keep reading to learn what they are.
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General Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis
Each case of psoriasis is unique. For one person, it might form on the elbows and knees while, for someone else, it primarily affects the scalp or face.
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Though each case of psoriasis is different depending on the type of psoriasis you have, the condition can be characterized by a similar set of symptoms. Generally speaking, the following are the most common signs and symptoms of psoriasis:
- Patches of dry, red skin
- Skin covered in thick, silvery scales
- Small red, scaling spots
- Dry or cracked skin
- Dry skin that bleeds
- Itching or burning skin
- Thickened or rigid nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Again, each case of psoriasis will be different depending on the type you have, the location of the rash, and its severity. To learn more about the different types of psoriasis and what causes psoriasis to flare up, keep reading.
Psoriasis Symptoms by Type
There are many different types of psoriasis, each of them characterized by different psoriasis triggers and different types of rash. Some types are caused by psoriasis food triggers and others by stress – some are even caused by other forms of psoriasis. If you want to know what type of psoriasis you have, you’ll need to take a closer look at your symptoms. Below you’ll find an overview of psoriasis symptoms for each type of psoriasis.
1. Plaque Psoriasis
This is the most common form of psoriasis and it typically takes the form of red, raised skin lesions that are dry and may be covered with silvery scales. These lesions are called plaques and they can range from itchy to painful and may occur anywhere on the body – this includes the tissue in your mouth as well as the genital areas.
2. Guttate Psoriasis
Most commonly seen in children and young adults, this form of psoriasis is characterized by small, water droplet-shaped scales that appear on the torso, arms, legs, or scalp. The lesions are usually smaller and thinner than typical plaques and they may be covered by a fine scale. Common guttate psoriasis triggers include bacterial infections like strep throat.
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3. Inverse Psoriasis
This form of psoriasis usually develops in skin folds such as the groin, in the armpits, under the breasts, and around the genitals. Inverse psoriasis triggers often take the form of fungal infections and can lead to the development of smooth patches of red, inflamed skin. Because the rash is located in skin folds, it tends to stay moist rather than developing dry scales – this makes it easy to confuse with a fungal or bacterial skin infection.
4. Nail Psoriasis
As the name suggests, this type of psoriasis affects the nails. Nail psoriasis usually causes the fingernails and/or toenails to become thick or rigid. It may also cause pitting, abnormal growth, and discoloration. In some cases, the nail might loosen and separate from the nail bed – this is called onycholysis.
5. Pustular Psoriasis
With pustular psoriasis, stress is a common trigger – this is evidenced by the fact that it frequently develops very quickly. It starts with a red, tender rash and quickly develops into pus-filled blisters covering the affected area. This form of psoriasis is fairly uncommon, but it can become very widespread – it can also affect very small areas like the hands or even the fingertips.
6. Erythrodermic Psoriasis
The least common of all the different types of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis is extremely serious. This condition can cover the entire body in a red, peeling rash that can be very itchy or it might burn painfully. Many cases of erythrodermic psoriasis require hospitalization for treatments which may include medicated wet dressings, topical corticosteroids, and prescription medications.
How to Tell Psoriasis from Other Skin Conditions
There are many different skin conditions that can cause the skin to become dry, scaly, or inflamed. When you start to notice some of the symptoms listed above, you may find yourself wondering, “Is it dandruff or psoriasis?” – you may also be wondering about the differences between psoriasis vs eczema. Though all of these conditions present with similar symptoms, there are some key differences to look for that will help you make the correct diagnosis.
Dandruff vs Psoriasis
Also known as seborrhea, dandruff is characterized by flaky patches of dry skin on the scalp. You’ll probably notice the flakes when you comb your hair, or you may notice them on your pillow or on your shoulders when you wear dark clothing. This condition typically results from a dry scalp and it is easily treated with medicated good shampoo for dandruff or simply by using a better conditioner.
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Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that doesn’t have a cure. Though it can sometimes be mild and easily managed, it is also possible for psoriasis to become uncomfortable or even painful. Treatment often requires corticosteroid topical applications or oral medications. You’ll also need to identify and manage your psoriasis triggers to prevent psoriasis flare up.
Psoriasis vs Eczema
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a long-term skin condition caused by hypersensitivity. Common triggers for eczema include certain fabrics, dyes, soaps, or other irritants including pet dander. Though this condition can affect people of all ages, it most commonly develops in infants and they often outgrow the condition by early adulthood. Eczema is characterized by redness, inflammation, peeling, cracking, and blistering of the skin – it doesn’t usually become scaly as is the case with psoriasis which is termed as psoriasis scales.
Know that you have a better understanding of the different types of psoriasis as well as its differences from dandruff and eczema, you may have a good idea which type you have. If you haven’t been officially diagnosed, you would be wise to seek help with psoriasis treatment from your doctor. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor can work together to choose the best form of treatment based on the types of psoriasis you have.