Get the big picture about psoriasis

Understand more about your condition

We tend to think of psoriasis as a single condition, but there are, in fact, several different types.

Plaque psoriasis

This is the most common form, affecting about 80% of people with psoriasis.1
It can appear anywhere but is mostly found on the elbows, knees, back and scalp; symptoms include raised, red plaques covered by silvery white scales.1.2

Scalp psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis ranges from very mild (slight, fine scaling) to very severe, with thick crusted plaques covering the entire scalp and extending beyond the hairline onto the forehead, the back of the neck and around the ears.3

Guttate psoriasis

This type affects about 10% of people with psoriasis – mostly children or adolescents – and appears as small red scaly dots which look like drops of red water sprinkled over the body.2 Guttate psoriasis can often be triggered by a streptococcus throat infection.4 Mild cases may disappear without treatment.2

Pustular psoriasis

Less than 5% of people with psoriasis are affected by pustular psoriasis.2 It can appear as a complication to plaque psoriasis, as a result of taking certain medicines, or as a result of abruptly stopping a treatment which has been used continuously for a long period of time. The plaques in pustular psoriasis are characterized by pustules, raised bumps filled with pus, with the hands and feet most affected.

Psoriasis is a single term that covers a number of different conditions. Learning more about each type of psoriasis can help you understand your symptoms.

Flexural or inverse psoriasis

Less common, this usually occurs on the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other skin folds around the genitals and buttocks.2 It appears as bright red, smooth patches around the folds of the skin and, at its edges, can cause cracks in the skin. It can be aggravated by sweat and by skin rubbing together because of its location.2

Psoriatic arthritis

Around 30% of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints.2 It is most likely to develop in people between 30-50 years old.2 Both genes and environmental factors may play a role in the onset of the disease. Psoriatic arthritis is treated in the same way as rheumatoid arthritis.

Erythrodermic psoriasis 

This occurs only rarely.2 It can cover the body with red, scaling patches. This is one of the most severe forms of psoriasis and can be life-threatening because the protective barrier of large areas of skin is compromised. Individuals having an erythrodermic psoriasis flare should see a doctor immediately. This form of psoriasis can be life-threatening.


  1., p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 20152., p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  2., p. 1,  Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  3., p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015