Psoriasis is characterized as an autoimmune disorder that triggers inflammation in the skin. Common symptoms of psoriasis involve the development of thick, discolored skin patches covered with scales, which are medically referred to as plaques.
Psoriasis manifests in various types, including:
- Plaque psoriasis: The most common type affecting about 80% to 90% of people with psoriasis. It presents as thick, scaly patches on the skin.
- Inverse psoriasis: Occurs in skin folds, resulting in thin plaques without scales.
- Guttate psoriasis: Often follows a streptococcal infection and appears as small, red, drop–shaped scaly spots. It’s more prevalent in children and young adults.
- Pustular psoriasis: Characterized by small, pus–filled bumps on top of plaques.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: A severe type that affects a large area (more than 90%) of the skin, leading to widespread skin discoloration and shedding.
- Sebopsoriasis: Found on the face and scalp, appearing as bumps and plaques with a greasy, yellow scale, it combines aspects of psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
- Nail psoriasis: Affects the fingernails and toenails, causing skin discoloration, pitting, and changes to the nails.
Psoriasis is a common chronic disease that cannot be cured. It comes and goes in cycles, with flare–ups lasting for a few weeks or months, followed by periods of improvement. People with a genetic predisposition to psoriasis may experience worsened symptoms due to infections, cuts, burns, or certain medications. While there is no cure, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms. Additionally, you can try adopting lifestyle habits and coping strategies to help you live better with psoriasis.
Psoriasis encompasses a broad spectrum of types, each characterized by its distinct signs and symptoms. (1 all)
- Plaque psoriasis: This is the most common type, characterized by dry, itchy, and increase skin patches covered with scales. These plaques can appear on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp, with varying colors depending on the individual’s skin tone. After healing, the affected skin might temporarily display changes in color, particularly noticeable on brown or black skin (post–inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
- Inverse psoriasis: Inverse psoriasis primarily impacts the skin folds located in the groin, buttocks, and breasts. This condition manifests as smooth patches of inflamed skin, which tend to worsen in response to friction and sweating. In certain cases, it can be triggered by fungal infections.
- Guttate psoriasis: Guttate psoriasis is a condition commonly found in young adults and children. Its usual trigger is a bacterial infection, such as strep throat. The characteristics include small, drop–shaped scaling spots on the trunk, arms, or legs.
- Pustular psoriasis: Which is a rare type, manifests as clearly defined pus–filled blisters. These blisters can occur in widespread patches or on small areas of the palms or soles.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: This is the rarest form of psoriasis, characterized by a widespread rash that covers the entire body and often manifests as peeling skin. This condition can cause intense itching or burning sensations. It can occur in two forms: a short–lived acute episode or a long–lasting chronic condition.
- Nail psoriasis: Psoriasis has the potential to impact both fingernails and toenails, resulting in various nail issues such as pitting, abnormal growth, and discoloration. When psoriasis affects the nails, they may become loose and detach from the nail bed, a condition known as onycholysis. In severe cases, the nails might even crumble.
Common psoriasis signs and symptoms include the following:
- Rash that is patchy and has a broad range of appearances from little breakouts across a large portion of the body to patches with dandruff–like scaling.
- Rashes that are various shades of purple with gray scale on dark or black skin and pink or red with silver scale on white skin.
- Small scaling lesions (often observed in children)
- Possible bleeding from dry, cracked skin
- Burning, stinging, or pain
- Circumstances that flare up for a few weeks or months before fading away.
If you suspect that you may have psoriasis, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider. Additionally, seek medical attention if your condition becomes severe or spreads extensively, causes discomfort or pain, raises concerns about the appearance of your skin, or fails to improve with treatment. Prompt and appropriate medical care can help manage the condition effectively and alleviate any associated symptoms.
Psoriasis is characterized by an abnormal immune system response, leading to the accelerated development of skin cells. The exact cause of psoriasis remains unclear. Normally, the immune system functions to safeguard individuals from illness and maintain their overall health by combating external invaders such as bacteria. However, in the case of psoriasis, the infection–fighting cells mistakenly attack healthy skin cells, indicating an immune system malfunction.
Researchers suggest that both genetic and environmental factors contribute in developing psoriasis.
Triggering psoriasis: Prior to the condition being brought on by an environmental component, many people who are prone to psoriasis may go years without experiencing any symptoms. Typical causes of psoriasis include:
- Infections: Skin infections or infections like strep throat
- Weather: Particularly cold and dry conditions.
- Injury: Skin damage such as a cut, scrape, insect bite, or severe sunburn
- Bad habit: exposure to secondhand smoke and/or direct smoking. Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Medications: Lithium, treatments for high blood pressure, and antimalarial drugs are some examples of medications. Sudden withdrawal from corticosteroid injections or oral dosage reductions.
Psoriasis can affect anyone, and approximately one–third of cases manifest during childhood. Several factors contribute to the increased risk of developing this condition:
- Family history: Psoriasis tends to run in families. If one parent has psoriasis, the likelihood of acquiring the disease rises. Having both parents with psoriasis further elevates the risk.
- Smoking: Smoking tobacco increases the risk of psoriasis and its severity.