What Is Plaque Psoriasis
Psoriasis is one of those conditions that can present itself in many forms. Plaque psoriasis is just one of those forms and it can actually look very different in every situation.
Plaque psoriasis occurs when your skin cells grow at an unusually fast rate, and the dead cells form plaque-like sections of psoriasis on the surface of your skin.
How Does Psoriasis Affect The Lower Back
The torso is another area where plaques can often occur, particularly around the lower back. Sometimes plaques on the lower back may spread downward into the buttock area. Psoriasis symptoms in this area can be treated effectively in many people2.
Read more information on symptoms and treatments for psoriasis on the lower back.
Psoriasis: Locations On The Body To Keep An Eye On
Psoriasis is a condition that affects the skin and can show up in any part of the body. Some people have mild cases of psoriasis with only 10% of their skin affected, while others have very severe cases that have almost 80% of their skin covered by the condition. The most common type of psoriasis that is visibly seen on the skin is plaque psoriasis. Up to 30% of patients with psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis which affects the joints and causes inflammation and pain to the joints. Although these skin problems have distinct symptoms in terms of where they occur, many people end up mistakenly treating other conditions with no success. Therefore, how do you spot psoriasis?
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What Can Blood Tests Tell Me Or The Doctor
To make a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis most doctors would require you to have psoriasis, or a history of psoriasis in a close relative, together with arthritis and inflammation in at least one joint. If several joints are affected the doctor would expect to find a pattern of joints involved which matches one of the patterns usually seen in psoriatic arthritis. Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis are usually negative but often blood tests of general inflammation in the blood are positive. These latter bloods are called the erythrocyte sedimentation rate C-Reactive protein or plasma viscosity all are measures of inflammation and abnormal, if the value exceeds a certain level.
What Are The Clinical Features Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis usually presents with symmetrically distributed, red, scaly plaques with well-defined edges. The scale is typically silvery white, except in skin folds where the plaques often appear shiny with a moist peeling surface. The most common sites are scalp, elbows, and knees, but any part of the skin can be involved. The plaques are usually very persistent without treatment.
Itch is mostly mild but may be severe in some patients, leading to scratching and lichenification characterised by thickened leathery skin and increased skin markings. Painful skin cracks or fissures may occur.
When psoriatic plaques clear up, they may leave brown or pale marks that can be expected to fade over several months.
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Medical Treatment Topical Agents
The first line of treatment for psoriasis includes topical medications applied to your skin. The main topical treatments are corticosteroids , vitamin D-3 derivatives, coal tar, anthralin, and retinoids. These drugs may lose potency over time, so often they are rotated or combined. Ask your doctor before combining medications, as some drugs should not be combined.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
Dry, thick, and raised patches on the skin are the most common sign of psoriasis. These patches are often covered with a silvery-white coating called scale, and they tend to itch.
While patches of thickened, dry skin are common, psoriasis can cause many signs and symptoms. What you see and feel tends to vary with the:
Type of psoriasis you have
Places psoriasis appears on your body
Amount of psoriasis you have
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Plaque Psoriasis: Red Bumps And Silvery Scales
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the chronic skin condition, affecting about 80 percent of people with psoriasis. Usually starting as small red bumps on the skin, plaque psoriasis develops into red patches with a silvery, scaly coating these raised patches are called plaques. Plaques usually show up on elbows, knees, and the lower back, and they can last for months or even years without treatment.
Acne: Blocked Pores That Lead To Pimples
Some forms of psoriasis appear as pus-filled blisters that may be confused with pimples. Pustular psoriasis forms white blisters that are filled with pus and surrounded by red skin. Far more common than psoriasis, acne also causes a pus-filled pimple eruption. However unlike psoriasis acne is caused by excess oil, blocked pores, and bacteria. Acne is common in teens and young adults and occurs on the face, neck, back, or chest. Pustular psoriasis is usually seen in adults and can occur anywhere on the body, but less likely on the face.
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Generalised Pustular Psoriasis Or Von Zumbusch Psoriasis
This causes pustules that develop very quickly on a wide area of skin. The pus consists of white blood cells and is not a sign of infection.
The pustules may reappear every few days or weeks in cycles. During the start of these cycles, von Zumbusch psoriasis can cause fever, chills, weight loss and fatigue.
How To Tell If You Have Psoriasis
It may take a while for some people to realize that they have psoriasis depending on where the lesion is. For example, scalp psoriasis might be confused for dandruff, especially if it is mild. However watch out for these to know if you have psoriasis:
- Patches of red inflamed skin that is covered with dry silvery scales. These patches are itchy and may be painful and sometimes they crack and bleed.
- Small bleeding areas where the skin has been scratched.
- Discolored toenails and fingernails that may start to detach from the nail bed.
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Psoriasis Can Cause Arthritis
For an unknown reason, psoriasis can cause a form of arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis. Symptoms include:
- discomfort, throbbing or swelling in one or many joints
- tenderness in any joint
- pain caused by inflammation in the joints, which stimulates nerve endings.
- The joints most likely to be affected are the last joint in the fingers or toes, the sacrum , wrists, knees or ankles.
Psoriasis Of The Scalp
The scalp is one of the most common body parts to be affected by psoriasis, says the National Psoriasis Foundation. Scalp psoriasis may range from small patches of fine scales to a thick, crusty covering over the whole scalp. In severe cases, scalp psoriasis may extend onto the forehead, down the back of the neck, and over the ears. Common scalp psoriasis treatments are coal tar and salicylic acid-medicated shampoo. More serious cases may be treated topically with Dritho-Scalp or Dovonex .
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What If Those Psoriasis Treatments Dont Work
If psoriasis doesnt improve, your healthcare provider may recommend these treatments:
- Light therapy: UV light at specific wavelengths can decrease skin inflammation and help slow skin cell production.
- PUVA: This treatment combines a medication called psoralen with exposure to a special form of UV light.
- Methotrexate: Providers sometimes recommend this medication for severe cases. It may cause liver disease. If you take it, your provider will monitor you with blood tests. You may need periodic liver biopsies to check your liver health.
- Retinoids: These vitamin A-related drugs can cause side effects, including birth defects.
- Cyclosporine: This medicine can help severe psoriasis. But it may cause high blood pressure and kidney damage.
- Immune therapies: Newer immune therapy medications work by blocking the bodys immune system so it cant jumpstart an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis.
Can Psoriasis Move To My Hands
Yes, psoriasis can make an appearance on any part of your skin, including your hands and fingers. It can manifest as cracking, swelling, or blistering.
However, psoriasis is not spread by touch. And its not contagious. It can, however, be genetically linked. Having a family member with the disease may
Palmar and plantar psoriasis affect only the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. If youre experiencing psoriasis symptoms on your palms, you may have this form of psoriasis.
Between 12 and 16 percent of those living with psoriasis have this type.
This can be accompanied by pus-filled bumps on your hands. Treatment for this includes aggressive use of topical corticosteroids.
Psoriasis can also appear on fingers, knuckles, nails, and on the tops of your feet. Peeling and dryness can make using your hands for daily tasks painful and uncomfortable.
Symptoms in nails occur in about 50 percent of those with psoriasis. Symptoms in nails can include:
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Home Treatment For Psoriasis
There are some home remedies that may help minimize outbreaks or reduce symptoms of psoriasis:
- Exposure to sunlight.
- Apply moisturizers after bathing to keep skin soft.
- Avoid irritating cosmetics or soaps.
- Do not scratch to the point you cause bleeding or excessive irritation.
- Over-the-counter cortisone creams can reduce itching of mild psoriasis.
A dermatologist may prescribe an ultraviolet B unit and instruct the patient on home use.
Psoriasis And Quality Of Life
Doctors and people with psoriasis donât always agree on whatâs mild and whatâs serious. Psoriasis can affect self-image and make people self-conscious. This can even lead to depression and social isolation.
Only a frank discussion with your doctor about what living with psoriasis means to you will get these issues out in the open.
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Are There Complications Of Psoriasis
In some people, psoriasis causes more than itchiness and red skin. It can lead to swollen joints and arthritis. If you have psoriasis, you may be at higher risk of:
- Use medicated shampoo for scales on your scalp.
Other steps you should take to stay as healthy as possible:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about lowering your risk for related conditions, such as heart disease, depression and diabetes.
- Lower your stress with meditation, exercise or seeing a mental health professional.
What Causes Psoriasis Outbreaks
Psoriasis outbreaks differ from person to person. No one knows exactly what causes flare-ups. Common psoriasis triggers may include:
- Skin injury .
- Streptococcal or other infection that affects the immune system.
- Certain prescription medications .
- Cold weather, when people have less exposure to sunlight and humidity and more to hot, dry indoor air.
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Avne Thermal Spring France
Discovered some 250 odd years ago, the Avène Thermal Spring has been used to relieve skin inflammation and irritation for centuries. The Avène Hydrotherapy Centre offers 6, 12, or 18-day treatment programs for people with all different types of skin conditions, including psoriasis. Children are welcome there as well.
How Does Psoriasis Affect Skin Folds
Any of the bodys skin folds or creases can possibly develop psoriasis symptoms. Common locations include the armpits, under the breasts, in the area between the buttocks, and in the creases between the groin and upper thighs7. Treatment will often improve these symptoms, but must take care not to further irritate the sensitive skin in these areas.
Read more information on symptoms and treatments of psoriasis on skin folds.
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What Is Cdc Doing About Psoriasis
In 2010, CDC worked with experts in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and public health to develop a public health perspective that considers how these conditions affect the entire population. The resulting report is Developing and Addressing the Public Health Agenda for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis pdf icon. You can read a short article about the agendaexternal icon in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
CDCs National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , an intermittent source of national psoriasis data, has included questions about psoriasis as late as the 2013-2014 cycle. A recent analysis of NHANES data estimates that 7.4 million adults had psoriasis in 2013external icon.
- Psoriasis causes patches of thick red skin and silvery scales. Patches are typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of feet, but can affect other places . The most common type of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis.
- Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that eventually occurs in 10% to 20% of people with psoriasis. It is different from more common types of arthritis and is thought to be related to the underlying problem of psoriasis.
- Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are sometimes considered together as psoriatic disease.
Who is at risk for psoriasis?
Anyone can get psoriasis. It occurs mostly in adults, but children can also get it. Men and women seem to have equal risk.
Can I get psoriasis from someone who has it?
What Are Other Types Of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type. About 80% to 90% of people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis.
Other, less common types of psoriasis include:
- Inverse psoriasis appears in skin folds. It may look like thin pink plaques without scale.
- Guttate psoriasis may appear after a sore throat caused by a streptococcal infection. It looks like small, red, drop-shaped scaly spots in children and young adults.
- Pustular psoriasis has small, pus-filled bumps on top of the red patches or plaques.
- Sebopsoriasis typically appears on the face and scalp as red bumps and plaques with greasy yellow scale. This type is a cross between psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
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Clothing For Psoriasis Sufferers
Most patients will use clothing to hide their symptoms. Nonetheless, it is important to note that clothing can aggravate the condition and cause flare-ups as well. Take these into consideration when choosing what to wear:
- Wear pure cotton clothes because they are absorbent thus reducing sweating and even overheating.
- Wear loose clothes as tight-fitting ones will cause constant rubbing on the affected area.
- Use fragrance-free laundry detergents to reduce on itch and flare-ups caused by the chemicals and additives in the detergents.
Tips For Dealing With Psoriasis On The Elbows & Knees
Prescription medications are not the only ways for people with plaque psoriasis can help to manage psoriasis on the elbows and knees. For example, some people find that routines such as taking a daily lukewarm bath and avoiding harsh soaps can provide some relief by loosening scales and soothing the skin.
Most people with psoriasis find that the condition will flare up for a period of time, during which the symptoms become worse. These flare-ups are often caused by certain triggers, and everyone has a different set of triggers for their disease2.
To help prevent flare-ups, it can be helpful to try and identify your own personal triggers so that you can try to avoid them if possible. Common triggers for plaque psoriasis flare-ups are things like stress, skin injuries, smoking, and getting too much sun exposure.
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Articles On Types Of Psoriasis
Knowing which kind of psoriasis you have helps you and your doctor make a treatment plan. Most people have only one type at a time. Sometimes, after your symptoms go away, a new form of psoriasis will crop up in response to a trigger.
In general, most types of psoriasis result from the same triggers:
Here’s how you can spot the 7 types of psoriasis and what you can do to treat them.
How Does Psoriasis Affect The Hands And Feet
Some people have plaques that form on the palms of their hands and/or on the soles of their feet. This is also called palmoplantar psoriasis. It can be very painful, and can keep people from working and carrying out their normal day to day activities4. People who develop symptoms on their hands and feet should see a healthcare provider to start treatment as soon as possible and control their symptoms.
Read more information on symptoms and treatments for psoriasis on hands and feet.
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What Can Trigger Psoriasis
Plenty of everyday things can act as a trigger, causing psoriasis to appear for the first time. Common psoriasis triggers include:
Skin injury, such as a cut or bad sunburn
Infection, such as strep throat
Some medications, including lithium, prednisone, and hydroxychloroquine
Weather, especially cold, dry weather
These triggers can also cause psoriasis flare-ups. Different people have different triggers. For example, periods of intense stress may trigger your psoriasis but cold weather may not.
Thats why its so important for people who have psoriasis to know what triggers their psoriasis. Avoiding triggers can reduce psoriasis flares.
Youll find common triggers and what you can do to avoid them at: Are triggers causing your psoriasis flare-ups?
If you think you have psoriasis, its important to find out. Treatment can help relieve your discomfort and lead to clearer skin. You can find out how board-certified dermatologists diagnose and treat psoriasis at: Psoriasis: Treatment.
Related AAD resources
1 Gottlieb A, Korman NJ, et al. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008 58:851-64.2 Alexis AF, Blackcloud P. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 7:16-24.
References Alexis AF, Blackcloud P. Psoriasis in skin of color: epidemiology, genetics, clinical presentation, and treatment nuances. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 7:16-24.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
Can Psoriasis Affect Only My Nails
In some cases, psoriasis may involve only the fingernails and toenails, although more commonly, nail symptoms will accompany psoriasis and arthritis symptoms. The appearance of the nails may be altered, and affected nails may have small pinpoint pits or large yellow-colored separations on the nail plate called “oil spots.” Nail psoriasis can be hard to treat but may respond to medications taken for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Treatments include topical steroids applied to the cuticle, steroid injections at the cuticle, or oral medications.
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