What are the different types of psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition relating to the immune system. It can occur in different forms and there are some nuances between the appearance and symptoms of each. Typically, people will experience one type, but it is possible for two to occur together. In some cases, one type of psoriasis may transition into another over time.
Common types of psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, is considered the most common type of psoriasis. According to Hair and Scalp Expert Eva Proudman ‘about 90% of people living with the condition in the UK have this type. It appears on the skin in red, scaly patches, causing the skin to feel rough to the touch. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as eczema and seborrhoeic dermatitis’.
Around 50% of people who are living with the condition will experience nail psoriasis. This can present as tiny dents in the surface of the nail, abnormal growth or discolouration. In some cases, the nail can become detached from the bed, while in others a chalky substance can build up under the nail causing discomfort.
This type of psoriasis presents as small drop-shaped sores, which aren’t as thick as those linked to plaque psoriasis. It’s more common among children and teens, and can develop after a streptococcal throat infection. It’s possible for guttate psoriasis to just occur once, clearing up within a few weeks, but sometimes it can reoccur or develop into plaque psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis can affect the arms, legs, chest and stomach, sometimes spreading to the face, ears and scalp. However it doesn’t affect the palms, soles of feet or nails like other forms can.
Inverse psoriasis causes smooth red patches of skin, as opposed to the rough patches associated with some other types of psoriasis. It’s sometimes referred to as flexural psoriasis, as it can affect the flexures of the skin, such as the armpits, groin, buttocks and under the breasts. The symptoms can be aggravated by friction and sweating, so it may be more uncomfortable in warmer weather. The affected area may become itchy and irritated and there’s also a chance that a yeast infection will develop due to the moist environment.
It’s common for people suffering from inverse psoriasis to have another form of the condition, such as plaque psoriasis. It’s thought that body weight can play a role in the development of inverse psoriasis, as people who are overweight tend to produce excess skin and deeper skin folds.
Less common types of psoriasis
Pustular psoriasis is a more rare form of the condition, which usually appears in red patches with white bumps, known as pustules. The condition can be sore, flaky or itchy. It’s most commonly found on the hands, feet, fingers and toes. It may be mistaken for an infection, due to the pustules, however like other forms of psoriasis, it isn’t contagious.
The most severe type of psoriasis is an advanced form of this, referred to as generalised pustular psoriasis or von Zumbusch psoriasis. It can appear quite suddenly and cover large areas of the body with painful pustules within a couple of days.
Like pustular psoriasis, this form of psoriasis causes pustules to form on the skin, affecting the palms of hands and soles of the feet. In time, the pustules develop into brown, scaly circles which peel away. The pustules can flare up every few days or weeks.
Another less common type of psoriasis which causes pustules on the skin is called acropustulosis. This type can affect the fingers and toes. The pustules can burst which may result in weeping or scaly areas of skin. In some cases, the nails can become painful too.
This form of the condition may affect most of the skin on the body and result in intense itching and burning. In some cases, it can lead to loss of proteins and fluids, which has been linked to complications including infection, dehydration, heart failure, hypothermia and malnutrition.
Although there are several commonalities between these different forms of psoriasis, the symptoms are varied and may require a tailored psoriasis treatment plan. By working with a healthcare professional, you can find the most suitable approach for your symptoms. In many cases, treatment is successful in easing the condition and helping to bring about remission.
Eva does not endorse any specific brands or products.
Living with a chronic condition, like psoriasis, can sometimes lead you on a search for more facts and information.