Psoriasis is a non-contagious, chronic auto-immune inflammatory skin disease that can affect the entire body. Marked by periodic flare-ups and remissions, psoriasis can improve and worsen over the course of time. Those with a family history of psoriasis are often predisposed to this skin condition. While there is no cure, psoriasis can be successfully controlled with treatment and medications.
There are several forms of psoriasis, with the 5 main types being plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic. Though symptoms vary from individual to individual, the identifying characteristics of the different types are as follows:
- Plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, the most common type, affects about 80-90% of people with psoriasis. The identifying symptoms are areas of raised patches of dry, red lesions, covered with silvery scales, which can be a singular spot or widespread. Usually seen on the elbows, knees, back, and scalp, plaque psoriasis can crop up anywhere on the body. The plaques are prone to inflammation and can cause itching and pain, leading significant discomfort.
- Guttate psoriasis, or eruptive psoriasis, primarily affects young adults and children. It is indicated by small sores on the legs, arms, torso, and scalp. It usually follows an upper respiratory tract infection, such as strep throat.
- Inverse psoriasis, characterized by smooth, red patches of inflamed, affects areas of the skin with folds, such as the armpits, beneath the breasts, in the groin area, and around the genitals.
- Pustular psoriasis is a less common form that presents as pus-filled bumps or blisters. Pustular psoriasis can be generalized, arising in larger patches in different parts of the body, or localized, occurring on hands, fingertips and feet.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis, the least common type, can develop on the entire body. People with the erythrodermic type experience a peeling, burning rash can appear on the face, hands, feet, nails, torso and extremities.