Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. This build-up of cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface. Inflammation and redness around the scales are fairly common. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches will crack and bleed.
Psoriasis is the result of a sped-up skin production process. Typically, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface. Eventually, they fall off. The typical life cycle of a skin cell is one month.
In people with psoriasis, this production process may occur in just a few days. Because of this, skin cells don’t have time to fall off. This rapid, overproduction leads to the build-up of skin cells.
Scales typically develop on joints, such as elbows, and knees. They may develop anywhere on the body, including the hands, feet, neck, scalp, and face. Less common types of psoriasis affect the nails, the mouth, and the area around genitals.
The common forms of psoriasis and most common symptoms include:
This is the most common type of psoriasis. These patches are often covered with whitish-silver scales or plaques. These plaques are commonly found on the elbows, knees, and scalp. When it affects the scalp it’s called scalp psoriasis.
is common in childhood. The most common sites for guttate psoriasis include the torso, arms, and legs. These spots are rarely thick or raised like plaque psoriasis.
is more common in adults. It causes white, pus-filled blisters and broad areas of red, inflamed skin. Pustular psoriasis is typically localized to smaller areas of the body, such as the hands or feet, but it can be widespread.
Other rare forms of psoriasis include inverse psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis.