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
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.
What Type Of Psoriasis Treatment Will I Need
Several treatment options can relieve psoriasis. Creams or ointments may be enough to improve the rash in small areas of skin. If the rash affects larger areas, or you also have joint pain, you may need other treatments. Joint pain may be a sign that you have arthritis.
Your provider will decide on a treatment plan based on:
- Severity of the rash.
- Vitamin A or retinoid creams.
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Where Is Eczema On Babies
In babies, eczema is often found on the scalp and face, particularly the cheeks. Itâs most often found on the head, but it can be found anywhere. It is not typically in the diaper area.
A baby may rub their face or head on the carpet or their sheets to scratch the itchy skin. This can further irritate the skin and lead to infection.
As they start to crawl, eczema may be more frequently seen on their elbows or knees. This is because these are areas that are prone to rubbing as they crawl.
In toddlers, eczema may often be seen on their face, around their mouth, or on their eyelids. It may also be on wrists, elbow creases, and knees.
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.
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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 On The Hands And Feet
Psoriasis can be particularly uncomfortable and irritating on the palms and soles of the feet. Plaque psoriasis may result in dry, scaly patches, while a rare type of pustular psoriasis called palmoplantar pustulosis causes pus-filled blisters to form on these areas. Look after your hands and feet to help ease discomfort and pain. Wear comfortable shoes and gloves made from natural fibers, and soak affected areas in warm water twice a day before patting dry and applying a moisturizer.
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Psoriasis Doctor In Texas
If you have signs or symptoms of psoriasis appearing anywhere on your body, it is important to have it diagnosed accurately so you can effectively manage the symptoms. If left untreated, the symptoms are likely to continue, or possibly even worsen.
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Where Psoriasis Appears
Basically, psoriasis can show up wherever you have skin. Psoriasis can appear anywhereon the eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, skin folds, hands and feet, and nails, Michael Siegel, M.D., vice president of research programs at the National Psoriasis Foundation, tells SELF. The skin at each of these sites is different and requires different treatments.
Like we mentioned, there are multiple types of psoriasis and, while Dr. Siegel says you can have any type of psoriasis on any part of your body, some are more likely to show up in certain places than others. Heres a quick rundown of the most common places psoriasis appears on the body:
Psoriasis most commonly shows up on the elbows and knees, and it’s often plaque psoriasis. are often itchy and painful, and they can crack and bleed, Dr. Siegel says.
Plaque psoriasis also commonly shows up here, Dr. Seigel says, and it can range from mild, slight scaling to thick, crusted plaques that cover a persons entire scalp, per the NPF. It can also extend past a persons hairline onto their forehead, back of the neck, and around their ears.
Facial psoriasis isnt as common, Dr. Bailey says, but it can happen. This form of psoriasis usually affects a persons eyebrows, the skin between their nose and upper lip, upper forehead, and their hairline, according to the NPF, which notes that this type of psoriasis should be treated carefully because the skin in this area is sensitive.
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Psoriasis Of The Nails
If you have plaque psoriasis on your body, you may also develop nail psoriasis. This is characterized by small holes in the nails, thickening and/or discoloration of the nails, and loosening of the nails. According to the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance , fingernails are more likely to be affected than toenails. Nail psoriasis can be difficult to treat, with topical steroids or vitamin D analogue creams being the first-line treatment.
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 Of The Arms
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. The U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that it affects about 80 percent of people with psoriasis. It often appears on the arms and/or elbows. It presents as thick, slightly raised, clearly defined areas of skin with a white or silver layer of scales. In most cases, patches are one to 10 centimeters wide, but they can be larger. Its important to keep affected areas well moisturized to reduce dryness and irritation.
Psoriasis On Hands & Feet:
The palms of the hands and soles of the feet are common areas for psoriasis breakouts. These breakouts are often called palmoplantar psoriasis which can be very painful due to the psoriasis being on surfaces such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet as they are used so frequently. It can often make using ones hands, walking, or even standing difficult for a person who has psoriasis symptoms on this part of the body.
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Is Psoriasis The Same As Eczema
Psoriasis and eczema are two different skin conditions. They differ in where the disease appears on the body, how much it itches and how it looks. Eczema tends to appear more often behind the knees and inside the elbows. Eczema also causes more intense itching than psoriasis. Many people, especially children, can get both eczema and psoriasis.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis, in general, is a genetic condition passed down through families. “It’s likely that multiple genes need to be affected to allow psoriasis to occur and that it’s frequently triggered by an external event, such as an infection,” says James W. Swan, MD, professor of dermatology at the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois.
Certain risk factors, such as a family history or being obese, may increase your odds of developing psoriasis.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation , at least 10 percent of people inherit genes that could lead to psoriasis, but only 3 percent or less actually develop the disease. For this reason, it is believed that the disease is caused by a combination of genetics and external factors or triggers.
A psoriasis outbreak may be provoked by:
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How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin, scalp, and nails. They’ll also ask whether someone else in the family has psoriasis and if the child recently had an illness or started taking a new medicine.
Rarely, doctors might take a skin sample to check more closely. A biopsy can tell the doctor whether it’s psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.
How Can Parents Help
For some children, psoriasis is just a minor inconvenience. For others, it is a difficult medical condition.
To manage symptoms and make outbreaks less likely, your child should:
- Wash hands well and often and stay away from people who are sick to prevent infections.
- Manage stress through exercise, yoga, or meditation.
- Not smoke or drink alcohol.
- Keep a healthy weight. People who are overweight tend to have more severe psoriasis symptoms.
Kids and teens with psoriasis may feel uncomfortable with the way their skin looks. Help your child understand that psoriasis is common and treatments can help.
Whether your child’s psoriasis is mild or severe, learn about the condition together. Offer to help find a therapist or join a support group if that might help. Talk to your doctor or check websites like:
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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
An Overview Of Psoriasis
Having a solid immune system is great. But an overactive immune system can trigger all sorts of unwanted changes in the body, including psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is an autoimmune condition, which is when a persons immune system attacks the bodys own cells. In this case, psoriasis speeds up the life cycle of the skins cells, resulting in scaly red patches with thick, whitish or silvery buildup that flakes, peels, and often bleeds, and occasionally itches.
A dermatologist usually can diagnose the condition with a regular physical exam, however the physician may take a small skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, rule out other possible disorders, or classify the exact type of psoriasis. No cure exists for psoriasis, but it is possible to successfully manage the symptoms.
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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.
Where To Spot Psoriasis
These inflamed scaly patches pop up anywhere in your body. But the most common areas affected are:
Scalp:Scalp psoriasis can either be mild which is easy to treat and manage or severe with thick crust-like plaques covering the entire scalp. Scalp psoriasis can also extend to the headline and forehead as well as the back of the neck and the place around the ears.
Palm, Elbow, Knees, and Feet: Treatment on these areas has to be done promptly as the flares can be accompanied with cracking, swelling, blisters, and bleeding.
Nails: Psoriasis causes discoloration of the finger and toenails in almost 50% of the patients. It can present with pitting of the nails or discolorations of the nail. In some cases the nail may lift up from the nail bed.
Skin folds/Genitals: Inverse psoriasis affects this sensitive area and appears as red, moist sometimes cracked plaques in skin creases, such as in the genital area or under the breasts. The genital area requires very careful care and treatment because of its sensitivity. Most people before realizing that its Psoriasis confuse it for an STD or fungal infection.
Each of these areas will require different treatment as the skin in each of these areas is different. Although some people just have one area affected, others have most parts of their bodies affected making the treatment to be more intense.
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What Is Psoriasis Everything You Need To Know
What is psoriasis? might seem like a pretty straightforward questionits a skin condition that causes raised bumpy patches, right? Not quite, actually. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes issues with the skin. And its so much more than the physical symptoms you probably associate with it. For one, there are several different types of psoriasis and each persons experience with the condition is unique. Moreover, psoriasiss impact is more than skin-deep, with the potential to cause everything from painful psoriatic arthritis to serious self-image issues.
Before we dive in, lets cover the basics: Psoriasis causes the skin to regenerate more quickly than normal. Typically, your skin cells go through a cycle known as cell turnover, starting deep in your skin and slowly rising to the surface. Usually, this takes about a month, but according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, it can take only a few days when you have psoriasis, causing the skin cells to rise too fast and pile up on the surface of your skin. Because of this, people who have psoriasisabout 7.5 million people in the U.S., per the American Academy of Dermatology can have flare-ups that cause the characteristic itchy, scaly skin patches to show up on their skin.
Whats The Difference Between Eczema And Psoriasis
Diagnosing eczema can be tricky sometimes.
Other skin conditions can look like eczema, but a dermatologist can tell the difference. If there is a case where the doctor isnât quite sure, a new genetic test can help them make the appropriate diagnosis.
The underlying cause of the two conditions is different:
- Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. This means the immune system is not working as it should and skin cells grow too fast, piling up.
- Eczema is more complicated and unknown. Both genetic and environmental factors may be involved.
Psoriasis itching tends to be on the mild side, whereas the itching associated with eczema can be intense.
In older adults, eczema is usually on the backs of the knees and inside of the elbows. Psoriasis is often found on the scalp, elbows, knees, buttocks, and face.
Eczema is more common than psoriasis in children.
Aside from psoriasis, other skin conditions can look like eczema but arenât. Knowing the underlying cause and identifying the condition correctly is the best way to get appropriate treatment.
A dermatologist will be able to diagnose the condition based on:
- your reported symptoms
There is no cure for eczema, but it can be treated and managed. By working with a dermatologist or allergist, you can help reduce your chances of flare-ups, minimize symptoms, and keep your skin healthy.
Treatment is based on three concepts, according to the NEA:
Medication may be OTC or prescription, depending on the type and severity of your eczema.
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Is It Contagious
No. “Psoriasis is not at all contagious,” says Dr. Nazarian. “There is nothing to worry about if you’re around someone who has psoriasisâyou can’t spread this from person to person.”
That said, it is possible to spread psoriasis to different places on your own body. “If you traumatize the skin, you can induce a lesion,” says Dr. Nazarian. “So let’s say you have psoriasis on your knees and elbows but have never had a flare-up on your shoulder. If you scratch your shoulder and irritate the area, you may have a new patch pop up there due to the trauma you’ve induced.” As such, take caution to prevent impact-induced patches from cropping up if you do get diagnosed by a doctor with psoriasis.