Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder where skin cells grow at an excessive rate and build up on the surface of the skin. This can present itself in a number of ways; however it is most characterized by it’s dry, itchy patches that can be red, scaly and produce silvery flakes. Inflammation is another attribute of this disease.
There is no known cause or cure for the condition; although, there is an abundance of research and documented cases that have helped to identify things that appear to trigger moderate to severe flare ups. Roughly, 7.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with one of the five types of psoriasis detailed below.
Plaque Psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris)
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of this skin condition. It is most commonly found on the scalp, face, hand palms, elbows, lower back and soles of the feet. Typically, it appears as red, raised patches or plaques on the skins surface that are covered with a white, silvery build up of scales. These scales are dead skin cells. When left untreated they can become increasingly itchy and even painful. Moderate to severe cases can often crack and bleed, making you more susceptible to infection.
Guttate psoriasis is the second most commonly diagnosed form of the disease. About 10% of psoriasis sufferers develop this type. It typically develops during early childhood or young adulthood. This form can precede or co-exist with other types of psoriasis. Symptoms present as lesions that small, red, individual spots on the skin’s surface. They are most commonly found the torso, arms and legs; however they can develop on the scalp, ear and face and can number in the hundreds.
Triggers Associated with Guttate Psoriasis Include:
- Streptococcal Infections (the most common being strep throat)
- Injury to the skin
- Upper respiratory infections
- Certain medications including beta blockers and antimalarials
Inverse Psoriasis (intertriginous psoriasis)
Inverse psoriasis affects the folds of the skin including: armpits, behind the knees, under the breast and in the groin area. Unlike raised patches or plaques, inverse presents as very, bright, red lesions that are flat and can appear shiny. People who have more skin folds, usually associated with being overweight or obesity are more prone to develop this form of the condition. The biggest triggers are sweating and rubbing at the folds affected.
Pustular psoriasis affects adults primarily. It can be characterized by it’s white pustules surrounded by red, inflamed skin. The pustules, or blisters, are filled with non-infectious pus consisting of white blood cells. It is not contagious or infectious. It typically presents in a cycle of red skin followed by the white pustules. This type of psoriasis can be localized to a specific limb or cover the entire body.
Triggers Associated with Pustular Psoriasis Include:
- Systemic steroids
- Emotional stress
- Overexposure to UV light
- Irritation from topical agents
- Internal medications
- Withdrawal from topical steroids or systemic medications
If you experiencing these symptoms, it is imperative that you consult with a physician to be properly diagnosed and discuss treatment options available for you to care for your disease.