Psoriasis is a chronic condition that usually presents with patches of dry scaly skin usually on the scalp, elbows, knees and buttocks. It sometimes is associated with arthritis. There are five different types:
Plaque psoriasis presents as raised reddish patches called plaques which are often covered by a silvery scale. Plaques are most common on the knees, elbows, lower back and scalp. They tend to be itchy, and scratching causes the plaques to thicken. You may also get pits in your nails or crumbling nails that fall off.
Guttate psoriasis presents as small, red spots which often appear after a sickness, such as strep throat. They usually appear on the trunk, arms and legs, but can appear on the scalp, face, and ears. They may go away on their own without treatment in a few weeks or months.
Pustular psoriasis presents with red, swollen, and dotted spots on the skin with bumps filled with pus. They usually are located on the palms and soles and may be painful. When pus-filled bumps cover the body, the person also may have fever, severe itching, loss of appetite, racing pulse and feel sick.
Inverse psoriasis presents as raw, smooth, red patches of skin. They occur in areas of friction where skin touches skin, such as the armpits, the groin, genitals, buttocks, or under the breasts.
Erythrodermic psoriasis appears as skin that looks burned or bright red. One can feel hot or cold, or may have a fast heart rate. There may be intense itching and pain. This form of psoriasis can be life-threatening.
There are many treatment options including topical and oral medications, as well as “biologics” which are a new class of medications often used in more severe cases.