Different types of psoriasis

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What are the different types of psoriasis and how common are they?

We tend to think of psoriasis as a single condition. But there are, in fact, several different types. Learning more about each type of psoriasis can help you understand your symptoms.

Plaque psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form. It affects about 9 in every 10 people with psoriasis.1

Plaque psoriasis causes raised, red areas covered by silvery-white scales. These areas are called plaques and they shed regularly.1,2 Psoriasis plaques can appear anywhere but are mostly found on the elbows, knees and scalp.2,3

Mild plaque psoriasis is usually treated with topical creams, gels and ointments.1,2 Severe plaque psoriasis can affect your quality of life.3 You may require light therapy, oral medicines or injections.1,3

Scalp psoriasis

About half of people with psoriasis have scalp psoriasis.4 Mild scalp psoriasis appears as small patches of slight, fine scaling. Severe plaque psoriasis causes thick crusted plaques. These can cover the entire scalp, beyond the hairline onto the forehead, the back of the neck and around the ears. 5

Psoriatic arthritis

About 15 in every 100 people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. In most cases the arthritis develops after the psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis causes inflammation, pain and swelling of joints.2

Guttate psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis affects about 1 in every 10 people with psoriasis. Mostly children or young adults. It appears as small, red, scaly dots. Mild guttate psoriasis is usually treated with topical treatments. Severe cases may require light therapy or oral medicines.6,7

Pustular psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis can appear as a result of plaque psoriasis. Skin becomes tender and red and pustules (raised bumps filled with pus) appear.8,9 Palmoplantar pustulosis is a type of pustular psoriasis which usually affects the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.9

Inverse or flexural psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis usually occurs on the armpits, groin, around the genitals and buttocks, under the breasts and in other skin folds. It appears as bright red, smooth patches that feel itchy and irritated. It can be made worse by sweat and by skin rubbing together, because of its location.10

Erythrodermic psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a very rare, but very severe form of psoriasis. It affects large areas of the body and the skin almost appears sun burnt. The sufferer may have a fever, or become very ill and should see a doctor immediately or go to an accident and emergency department.2

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

UK/IE MAT-25912 Date of prep: June 2019

  1. NICE guidance. Psoriasis assessment and management. 2012.
  2. www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis#psoriasis-treatments (accessed June 2019).
  3. www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis (accessed June 2019).
  4. LM Aldredge and RC Higham. Journal of the Dermatology Nurses Association 2018; 10(4): 189-97.
  5. www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/specific-locations/scalp (accessed June 2019).
  6. www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis-guttate#causes (accessed June 2019).
  7. www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/types/guttate (accessed June 2019).
  8. www.healthline.com/health/pustular-psoriasis#diagnosis (accessed June 2019).
  9. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/pustular-psoriasis#1 (accessed June 2019).
  10. www.healthline.com/health/inverse-psoriasis#symptoms (accessed June 2019).

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