There are several types of psoriasis which vary in appearance, severity and location. Typically, people only
have one form of psoriasis at a time, although it is not unusual for two different types to occur together. One
type may change to another type, or one type may become more severe. Most people find that their psoriasis symptoms
go through cycles – causing problems for a few weeks or months, and then easing or stopping.
This is the most common form of psoriasis, affecting around 90% of people who have psoriasis. It is name after
the appearance of the patches which are disc or oval shaped and look like a wall plaque. The plaques are usually
pinkish-red in color with well-defined clear edges and covered with silvery white scales. You can have one or more
plaques at any one time and often they will merge with other areas and form a larger affected area. The plaques can
sometimes have an area around them that looks like a ring and is often mistaken for ringworm. The skin can be itchy
and may sometimes bleed. The most commonly affected areas are the knees and elbows but also scalp, hairline and
This type often starts in childhood or young adulthood, normally occurring after a streptococcal throat
infection, sometimes suddenly appearing a week after the infection. The word guttate comes from the
Latin word gutta which means drop. This is because the patches are small (less than 1cm.)
and look like small, salmon-pink drops or spots with fine scales. The spots are widespread, usually appearing on
the trunk, arms or legs, but sometimes spread to the face, ears and scalp. The spots rarely affect the palms of
hands or the soles of feet.
This is usually found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, around the genitals and buttocks or in other
skin folds . It is characterized by large deep red patches that are smooth and shiny without any scales. Sometimes
there is a crease in the center of the patch that may be cracked open. Inverse psoriasis is made worse by friction
and sweating and so may be particularly worse in hot weather.
Nail psoriasis occurs in about half of the people with plaque psoriasis. It can occur on its own without the
skin rash. As the name suggests, it affects your nails causing them to pit, to become discolored and to grow
abnormally. Often the nails loosen and separate from the nail bed. In severe cases, the nails may crumble.
Like nail psoriasis, it can affect about half of people who suffer with plaque psoriasis. It normally affects
the back of your head, but it can occur on other parts of the scalp and sometimes may cover the whole scalp. It
causes red patches of skin covered in thick silvery-white scales which can look like severe dandruff. Some people
find scalp psoriasis extremely itchy, while others have no discomfort. In extreme cases it may cause hair loss,
although permanent balding is extremely rare.
This is an uncommon form of psoriasis and is primarily seen in adults. It is usually localized to particular
areas of the body such as hands and feet, but can also affect other areas of the body. It may come on very quickly
and spread rapidly. Pustular psoriasis is characterized by small, clearly defined, raised bumps on the skin that
are filled with yellowish non-infectious pus. The skin around the pustules can become very red and hot. Other
symptoms include feeling unwell and feverishness.
This is a rare and severe from of psoriasis and is potentially dangerous. It affects most of the body and is
characterized by extremely inflamed skin and the shedding of scales in sheets, rather than in smaller flakes. It's
often accompanied by severe itching and pain, swelling of ankles, fever and shivering. Anyone with this type of
psoriasis should seek medical attention immediately.
These are the psoriasis symptoms and the types of psoriasis that go with them. Read my other articles on the
various treatments for psoriasis.