Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. This build-up of cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface with inflammation and redness around the scales.
Scales typically develop on joints, such as elbows and knees. They may develop anywhere on the body, including the hands, feet, neck, scalp, and face. Less common types of psoriasis affect the nails, the mouth, and the area around genitals.
There are 5 types of psoriasis and most common symptoms include:
- Plaque psoriasis: This is the most common type of psoriasis — about 80 percent of people with the condition have plaque psoriasis. It causes red, inflamed patches that cover areas of the skin. These patches are often covered with whitish-silver scales or plaques. These plaques are commonly found on the elbows, knees, and scalp.
- Guttate psoriasis: Guttate psoriasis is common in children. This type of psoriasis causes small pink spots. The most common sites for guttate psoriasis include the torso, arms, and legs. These spots are rarely thick or raised like plaque psoriasis.
- Pustular psoriasis: Pustular psoriasis is more common in adults. It causes white, pus-filled blisters and broad areas of red, inflamed skin. Pustular psoriasis is typically localized to smaller areas of the body, such as the hands or feet, but it can be widespread.
- Inverse psoriasis: Inverse psoriasis causes bright areas of red, shiny, inflamed skin. Patches of inverse psoriasis develop under armpits or breasts, in the groin, or around skinfolds in the genitals.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: This type of psoriasis often covers large sections of the body at once and is very rare. The skin almost appears sunburned. Scales that develop often slough off in large sections or sheets. It’s not uncommon for a person with this type of psoriasis to run a fever or become very ill.
Psoriasis symptoms differ from person to person. Most people with psoriasis go through “cycles” of symptoms. The condition may cause severe symptoms for a few days or weeks, and then the symptoms may clear up and be almost unnoticeable. Then, in a few weeks or if made worse by a common psoriasis trigger, the condition may flare up again. Sometimes, symptoms of psoriasis disappear completely. When you have no active signs of the condition, you may be in “remission.” That doesn’t mean that the psoriasis won’t come back, but for now you are symptom free.