Psoriasis Types

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The symptoms of psoriasis are not the same for all patients and vary considerably according to the type of psoriasis responsible. The following types of psoriasis may affect patients and are characterized by unique signs.

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis, accounting 80-90% cases of psoriasis. The signs of this type include inflamed and reddened areas that are usually raised and covered in scaly skin, known as plaque. The flaky white dead skin cells build up in affected areas, causing the formation of plaque, which can become dry, itchy and painful.

Any area of the skin may be affected, but the knees, scalp, trunk, nails and elbows are most commonly involved. The involvement of the nails quite common and can involve thickening of the skin underneath the nail plate and the weakening of the nails, such that they crumble under pressure.

Erythrodermic psoriasis

This is the least common form of psoriasis and involves redness, inflammation and shedding of skin over the majority of the skin surface area. It usually occurs in patients with severe plaque psoriasis that is unstable and widespread. This type can be particularly itchy and painful, as well as interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, which has the potential to lead to fatal outcomes.

In some cases, it presents as a rebound response, following the sudden discontinuation of systemic treatment for psoriasis, without appropriate withdrawal techniques.

Flexural Psoriasis

Also known as inverse psoriasis, this type primarily affects folds in the skin, such as under the armpits, fat folds, the breasts, buttocks or in the genitals. It commonly affects overweight individuals, as they tend to have greater skin folds that are prone to rubbing and triggering the condition.

Signs of this type of psoriasis include smooth, dry skin that is red and inflamed. The main difference between this type and plaque psoriasis is the absence of the scales and white skin cell patches.

Guttate Psoriasis

This type of psoriasis is usually linked to a streptococcal throat infection. It involved red patches of skin that are inflamed and scaly. The most commonly affected body areas are the trunk, limbs and scalp, although any area of the skin may be affected.

Psoriatic Arthritis

This type of psoriasis involves inflammation of the skin, joints and connective tissue. Although any area in the body can be affected, the most commonly affected areas are the hands and toes, with the finger and toe joints respectively.

It typically develops a considerable amount of time, approximately ten years, after the initial appearance of plaque psoriasis and affects up to 30% of patients with the condition.

The treatment of psoriatic arthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis, which also commonly affects the small joints in the hands and feet.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis involves tender, red, pus-filled bumps on the skin called pustules in patches of the skin. It is often to be localized to a certain area, such as the feet or the hands, but can also occur generally to affect any area of the body.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Yolanda Smith

Written by

Yolanda Smith

Yolanda graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of South Australia and has experience working in both Australia and Italy. She is passionate about how medicine, diet and lifestyle affect our health and enjoys helping people understand this. In her spare time she loves to explore the world and learn about new cultures and languages.


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