Plaque Psoriasis. The most common form of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis, affects 80% of all psoriasis sufferers. Its symptoms are the “classic” psoriasis symptoms: patches of raised, inflamed red skin covered by silver-colored scales.The scales are actually dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the psoriatic inflammation. Over time, the scales flake off, revealing the red skin beneath, and new scales form.
Scalp psoriasis occurs when plaque psoriasis attacks the scalp. It is hard to treat because the hair protects it. Although hair covers some parts of scalp psoriasis, it is noticeable around the ears and hairline. The constant flaking and shedding of dead skin cells give the appearance of severe dandruff.
Small red teardrop patches, usually on the trunk or legs, characterize guttate psoriasis. The inflammation is neither as thick nor as scaly as plaque psoriasis, but can sometimes cover the entire body. Guttate psoriasis can be triggered by infections, and often develops during childhood.
Pustular psoriasis causes pus-filled blisters that vary in size and location, but often occur on the hands and feet. The blisters may be localized, or spread over large areas of the body. Pustular psoriasis can be both tender and painful, can cause fevers, and may require antibiotic treatment.
Psoriatic arthritis, simply described, is the combination of arthritis and psoriasis around the affected joints. Approximately five percent of psoriasis sufferers develop psoriatic arthritis: psoriasis sufferers have greater chances of developing arthritis than non-psoriasis sufferers. Psoriasis precedes the actual arthritis in the majority of cases.
Genital psoriasis appears as red, shiny skin around the genital area. The skin feels tight and sore. It may split or crack. Given the proximity to the anus, genital psoriasis runs a high risk of accompanying infections, especially when the skin cracks.
Flexural psoriasis affects the armpits, groin area, and other areas where skin folds are present. It presents as a smooth red inflammation and lacks the scaling associated with plaque psoriasis. It is common in overweight people.
Psoriasis can also affect fingernails and toenails. It causes pitting in the nails, which may turn yellow and thicken. The nails are often surrounded by inflamed skin, and may crumble easily. In some cases, the nail may detach from the nail bed.
The least common form of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis causes sudden, widespread and painful inflammation, redness and severe itching. The condition is serious and requires immediate hospitalization.