What Is Psoriasis and What Are the Different Kinds?

· December 28, 2016
Although psoriasis isn't a dangerous condition, it's an inherited disease that can affect your self-esteem if you have serious outbreaks.

You probably hear about it occasionally in ads for various medications, and might find yourself asking: what is psoriasis? It’s a chronic skin disease that commonly causes itchy red spots. It can also cause “scales” that vary between white and silver tones, depending on the severity of the condition. Keep reading to learn more.

What is psoriasis?

It’s an autoimmune condition causes white blood cells to function too fast. That makes the layers of the skin regenerate faster than the normal cell regeneration rate. This ends up creating skin lesions that tend to cause itching and irritation.

Psoriasis is usually hereditary. That means that if there’s no history of it in your family, you can relax. Your chances of getting it are extremely low.

Psoriasis is usually caused by physical and psychological exhaustion, which puts a lot of stress on the mind and body. An erratic lifestyle, problems at work or personal problems could also act as triggers if they go for extended periods of time.

What are the types of psoriasis?

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as “what is psoriasis?” There are several types of this disease. To adequately treat it, you have to know exactly which type you have.

Plaque psoriasis

what is psoriasis: plaque psoriasis

This is the most common form of psoriasis. It gets its name from the fact that it causes a build-up of reddish plaque on the skin. It usually appears on the knees, elbows, face, ears, and back.

It starts as a regular rash but doesn’t go away when you use over-the-counter creams. The rash then turns a reddish color, with a flaky texture. There are also patches of skin that have defined edges on the rash.

Plaque psoriasis causes a lot of itching and in some cases bleeding from dryness or excessive scratching.

If it’s in your scalp, you’ll have white scales that look like dandruff. If it’s in your nails, then they’ll start to chip and can even come off completely in some cases.

Guttate psoriasis

guttate psoriasis

This type of psoriasis usually produces small red spots on both the torso and limbs. Luckily, it doesn’t cover a large area.

It can also affect the ears, face, and scalp. It’s more common in people under 30.

It also causes lesions, though they aren’t as thick as the ones you get from plaque psoriasis.


People who are carriers of strep or have a chance of inheriting this condition usually develop it when exposed to cold climates because they dry out the skin.

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Pustular psoriasis

This type of psoriasis mainly affects adults. It’s characterized by the formation of blisters or white pustules of non-infectious pus, along with redness in the surrounding skin.

The skin is usually red before the blisters start forming, and is normally itchy and painful in the affected area.

Erythrodermic psoriasis

Experts consider this one of the most dangerous forms of this disease. It covers large areas of skin with reddish spots and can happen alongside pustular psoriasis.

It’s more common in people who have unstable plaque psoriasis, where the lesions last indefinitely.

Reverse psoriasis

This type of the disease is common under folds of the skin, like the armpits, groin, or under the breasts. It’s especially uncomfortable because sweat in these areas keeps the skin very sensitive.

It usually appears in large patches, but there are no scales in this type of psoriasis. It’s also easy to spot and covers large areas in the folds of the skin.

Nail psoriasis

When the nails itch, develop an irregular surface, or come away from their root, it’s probably nail psoriasis. It’s usually similar to scalp or plaque psoriasis.

Your symptoms may include irregularity in the nail’s surface, splinters in the nail, or the entire nail coming off.

Scalp psoriasis

This type of psoriasis is often confused with serious dandruff problems. People who have other types of psoriasis normally develop this type too.

It starts with fine scales, then denser, thicker scales end up forming. They can spread throughout the scalp and nearby areas such as the neck, ears, and forehead.

Psoriatic arthritis

People with this version of psoriasis are usually between the ages of 30 and 50. It commonly causes:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain in and around joints
  • Stiff or locked joints
  • Fatigue and limited movement
  • Red eyes
  • Lots of stiffness in the tendons

It’s very important that to diagnose and treat this type of psoriasis in time to avoid permanent joint damage.

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Psoriasis and depression

psoriasis and depression

It’s common for people with some type of psoriasis to show symptoms of depression. This is because the unattractive appearance of the lesions often catches other people’s attention in a  negative way and can bring down a person’s self-esteem.

So, if you have one or more of these types of psoriasis, it’s important that you seek the support of your family and friends to provide understanding and encouragement.

Remember that self-medicating is not the solution. Your immune system is very different from other people’s, and different medications work better for some than others.

So, do you feel like if someone asked you the same question, “what is psoriasis?,” you’d be able to answer? Whether you or a loved one has it, you can help spread information and keep people from reacting so negatively to this frustrating condition.