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Knowing the different types of psoriasis allows you to find the most effective treatment plan for your unique needs. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with this skin condition, you probably want to know all you can about how to manage it at home.
In this article, we discuss the most common variations of psoriasis, where it occurs, some of the symptoms you may experience, and treatment plans to help you get comfortable in your own skin again.
General Psoriasis Symptoms And Areas
Psoriasis is a group of autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. About 125 million people worldwide have this skin condition, and Americans account for 7.5 million of that number.
While symptoms may vary from person to person — and depend on the type of psoriasis you may have — most people with this skin condition will experience some combination of:
- Thick skin patches with visible scales
- Burning, itchiness, pain, or soreness
- Stiff or swollen joints
- Small scaly patches
Psoriasis is a chronic condition, meaning you may experience symptom flares for different periods of time. You could have intense burning or scaly patches for a few weeks, and then your symptoms may become less severe or disappear completely for a while before resurfacing.
You may also experience these symptoms on specific areas of your skin. Let’s take a look at some of the most common places.
Psoriasis can affect skin folds, such as those under your arms and breasts. Tight clothes and sweating can irritate these areas and make your symptoms worse.
Scalp psoriasis affects most people with this skin condition. Your hairline, forehead, the back of your neck, and the skin in and around your ears can all be affected by scalp psoriasis.
Hands, Nails, And Feet
Psoriasis can also affect your hands, nails, and feet. When it appears on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet, it’s commonly known as palmoplantar psoriasis (PPP).
Up to two-thirds of people with psoriasis will develop genital psoriasis at some point in their lives. The skin in your genital area and your inner and upper thighs can be affected in this case.
Psoriasis can also appear on your face and affect any part of it, including your brows, nose, upper lip, and upper forehead.
You won’t usually have symptoms on your entire face. If you have scalp psoriasis, for example, it will appear in particular areas instead of on your entire scalp.
Now that we’ve looked at what psoriasis is and where it can occur on your body, let’s dive into the most common forms of the condition and your different treatment options.
Types Of Psoriasis And How To Treat Them
1) Plaque Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and causes plaque to build up on areas of your skin. This condition affects approximately 80-90% of people with psoriasis.
It is usually mild to moderate, but it can be severe. Mild cases mean that the plaque typically covers less than 3% of your body, moderate covers 3-10%, and severe cases cover 10% or more.
Plaque psoriasis is characterized by inflamed, raised, red skin covered in silvery, white scales. Itching and burning may occur with these patches.
It can appear anywhere on your body, but it most commonly appears in the following areas:
- The lower back
Depending on the severity, your doctor may prescribe drugs to help with symptoms. Phototherapy is also a popular option where you use ultraviolet light to target the problem areas.
Topical treatments can also be used to treat plaque psoriasis. The most effective creams and lotions contain salicylic acid, which helps slow skin cell growth and reduces inflammation.
2) Scalp Psoriasis
As the name suggests, we usually find scalp psoriasis on a person's scalp. It can, however, appear on your brow, the back of your head, down your neck, and behind your ears.
Scalp psoriasis is common in psoriasis patients, and it can actually cause symptoms on other parts of the body, too.
Scalp psoriasis has many of the same symptoms as plaque psoriasis, but it can also cause:
- A flaky scalp
- A temporary loss of hair during flare-ups
- Patches of thick skin on the scalp, dandruff, itching, and bleeding on the scalp
In most cases, over-the-counter treatment options work well. We recommend lotions, creams, or ointments specifically formulated for scalp psoriasis, like our Psoriasis Scalp Relief Treatment.
This unique formula contains salicylic acid and our proprietary BW22 Botanical Blend, the combination of which helps relieve itching and flaking.
3) Guttate Psoriasis
If you have red, purple, or dark spots that spread across your skin, you might have guttate psoriasis. This type of psoriasis usually appears after an infection in childhood or young adulthood.
Guttate psoriasis normally presents as spots on your legs, arms, and torso. It can, however, appear on your face, scalp, and ears, too. In severe cases, hundreds of these spots may appear, covering the majority of the affected area.
Typically, doctors recommend topical creams and ointments as the first step in treating guttate psoriasis. These treatments may help reduce swelling and itching.
Because the condition can appear after infections, such as strep throat, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection while also treating the psoriasis symptoms. In some cases, they may also recommend that you receive light therapy.
4) Erythrodermic Psoriasis
While most types of psoriasis are mild to moderate, erythrodermic psoriasis is severe and can be life-threatening. Erythrodermic psoriasis is inflammatory and affects 80-90% of the body. It causes a painful, peeling rash that resembles a burn.
Some of the most common triggers include:
- An infection
- Stopping your systemic psoriasis treatment abruptly
Symptoms of erythrodermic psoriasis are more severe than those of other types of psoriasis. They may include:
- Fever or low body temperature
- Swelling in the feet or ankles
- A large area of inflamed, discolored skin that peels off in sheets
- Severe itching, pain, or burning
Why is it life-threatening? People with erythrodermic psoriasis are vulnerable to infection. They may also develop other serious issues, such as heart failure or pneumonia.
Patients with erythrodermic psoriasis are frequently hospitalized and may require emergency care. Fluid replacement and systemic medications, which affect the entire body, may be included.
Depending on the severity of the condition, a medical professional may recommend oral retinoids, which are Vitamin A-derived medicines that can slow skin cell growth and reduce swelling, and immunosuppressive drugs, which suppress the immune system.
If you suspect you may have erythrodermic psoriasis, seek medical help immediately.
5) Inverse Psoriasis
Inverse psoriasis manifests as discolored patches most commonly found in skin folds, such as the armpits and groin. People who have inverse psoriasis frequently have other types of psoriasis on their bodies as well.
Inverse psoriasis appears as bright red or pink marks on white skin. It may look red, purple, or darker than the surrounding area on black or brown skin.
The following areas of the body are most likely to be affected by inverse psoriasis:
- Under the breasts
- Behind the knee
The skin in the areas of the body most commonly affected by inverse psoriasis is thinner than in other areas. This can make it more challenging to treat.
To reduce inflammation, a doctor will usually recommend topical steroid ointments. In addition, because skin folds are common sites of yeast infections, they may also recommend anti-yeast and anti-fungal treatments.
The Right Treatment For Your Type Of Psoriasis
Because there are so many different types of psoriasis, there is no “best” treatment that works for every case. People are unique and have different symptoms, daily habits, genetics, and so much more.
This means it might take a while for your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you. So, be understanding and patient with yourself and your skin.
Also, keep in mind that just because a specific treatment plan worked well a few years ago when you had psoriasis on your elbow or arm doesn’t mean it will be effective on other areas of your body. Sometimes, a little trial and error is necessary.
If you’re on the hunt for safe and effective at-home psoriasis treatments, look no further than the Bodewell line of products. They contain salicylic acid, a key ingredient in helping relieve psoriasis symptoms, such as itchiness and irritation.
Whether you choose our Psoriasis Scalp Relief Treatment, Psoriasis Calming Cream, or Psoriasis Calming Spray, these treatments improve the appearance of the skin over time in addition to helping reduce itching and irritation due to psoriasis. Better skin days are near!