Plaque psoriasis is the most
typical form of this skin condition—4 out of 5 people with psoriasis have
plaque psoriasis. The technical or scientific name for plaque psoriasis is psoriasis
vulgaris (vulgaris means "common"). Typically it is
characterized by patches on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but it can
be found on any area of the skin.
Plaque psoriasis may first appear as small red spots. They may enlarge gradually
into well-defined patches of red, raised skin referred to as either psoriatic "plaques"
or "lesions". They are covered by a flaky, silvery-white build-up called
"scale," which is composed of dead skin cells. This scale comes loose
and sheds constantly from the plaque surface.
Skin affected with psoriasis is generally very dry, and other possible symptoms
include skin pain, itching and cracking.
What does plaque psoriasis look like?
This type of psoriasis is most typically characterized by circular-to-oval red plaques
distributed over extensor body surfaces and the scalp. The plaques usually exhibit
scaling as a result of epidermal hyperproliferation and dermal inflammation. The
extent and duration of the disease is highly variable from patient to patient, and
up to 10% of patients with plaque psoriasis also experience psoriatic arthritis.
Acute flares or relapses of plaque psoriasis may also evolve into more severe disease,
such as pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis.
The less common forms of psoriasis are guttate,
and erythrodermic. It is easier to discuss
your psoriasis and evaluate your treatment choices if you refer to it by its specific
name. Treatments vary with the type and severity of psoriasis.
Uncommon subtypes of chronic plaque psoriasis include:
- Rupioid psoriasis: Limpet-like cone-shaped lesions of psoriasis.
- Lichenified psoriasis: Chronically rubbed areas of psoriasis that have
become very thickened.
- Elephantine psoriasis: Very persistent, very thickly scaled, large areas
- Ostraceous psoriasis: Very thickly scaled, ring-like areas of psoriasis,
resembling an oyster shell.
- Linear psoriasis: Psoriasis arranged in lines along the body (often corresponding
to fetal developmental lines).
- Photosensitive psoriasis: Psoriasis worst in the sun-exposed areas of the
face, neck, hands and forearms. Most patients with psoriasis find ultraviolet light
very helpful for their psoriasis. A small group experience exacerbations of their
rash following sun exposure. In these people sometimes clear "sunburn"
lines are seen. They may also have typical plaque psoriasis elsewhere. Strict sun
protection, usually in combination with other treatment, is required to control
this type of psoriasis.
How We Help
Visit DermaHarmony to learn more about our alternative, science-based approach to psoriasis and other common skin conditions. At DermaHarmony our goals are to educate chronic skin care sufferers about the latest alternative research in dermatology, encourage a holistic approach to healthy skin and wellness, and to support our readers in every way we can. Our programs promote healthy skin from the inside out—with pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplements, topical treatments, expert dietary guidance, and a whole-person approach to health and wellness. Learn more about our programs or call us toll-free at 1-800-827-3730. Our support desk is open 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday.
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Inverse psoriasis is found in skin folds such as the armpits, groin, under the breasts, around genitals and the buttocks. Inverse psoriasis is more common in people who are overweight and people with deep skin folds where friction and sweating occur.
Plaque psoriasis is the most typical form of this skin condition—4 out of 5 people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. The technical or scientific name for plaque psoriasis is psoriasis vulgaris (vulgaris means "common").
In pustular (PUHS-choo-ler) psoriasis, blisters of noninfectious pus appear on the skin. Attacks of pustular psoriasis may be triggered by medications, infections, stress, or exposure to certain chemicals.
Scalp psoriasis is one of the most common types of psoriasis—occurring in just over half of all people who suffer from psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis can range from mild, with slight fine scaling, to severe, with thick red plaques affecting the entire scalp.
Principal Authors: DermaHarmony Editorial Staff
Date of Publication: 03/13/2004