What Does Psoriasis Look Like?
Psoriasis has five known forms and can affect any part of the body, and the specific symptoms differ according to type. There are, however, a few commonalities among them, as well.
For many psoriases sufferers the condition is mild to moderate and present these appearance factors:
- Dry skin, often covered by scale-like flakes
- Affected skin is red or pink
- Swollen or raised; thick
- Joint ache or pain (psoriatic arthritis)
- Changes in nail appearance, such as thickening, dents or pits, yellowing, and nail separation at the base. Occasionally, there can be a build-up of skin under the nail. Changes can affect either fingernails or toenails or both
Types and Specific Presentations
Each of the five types of psoriasis has its own unique appearance or symptomology. They are:
Erythrodermic: Large, intensely red areas of skin affected.
Guttate: Small red or pink spots, sometimes described as bumps with or without the inflamed red areas.
Inverse: While psoriasis normally affects exposed skin, inverse psoriasis is just the opposite, affecting armpits, groin areas, and overlapped skin areas.
Plaque: The most common type of psoriasis, described in the above section.
Pustular: White blisters surrounded by red, inflamed skin.
This skin condition can affect different people differently, and what causes an episode differs from person to person, as well. Some common triggers are:
- Too much or too little sunlight
- Cold weather
- Infection, especially skin infections
- Cuts and scrapes
- Medications, particularly NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, to name a few), some heart and blood pressure medicines, and more
Common treatments advised by medical personnel start with avoidance of known triggers. Beyond that, several options are available, including but not limited to:
Prescription ointments: Generally steroid or anti-biotic in nature.
Moisturizing lotions to reduce itching and flaking of dried skin.
Light therapies: Broadband UV rays or narrowband UVA ray therapy, often in conjunction with pre-exposure use of an ointment.
Dandruff shampoo to remove scalp psoriasis, often medicated to aid in treatment.