Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition. It can cause red, purple, or grayish patches to develop that are covered in silvery scales. There are numerous types of psoriasis, and knowing which type a person has allows medical professionals to develop a treatment plan. Psoriasis is not contagious.

Psoriasis is a common condition that affects over 8 million people in the United States.

There are a number of types of psoriasis, and they often have similar triggers. These triggers can include:

This article will discuss different types of psoriasis. For each one, it will list symptoms, locations, and treatment options.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis.

Symptoms

Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include:

  • the appearance of plaques and patches on the skin
  • skin inflammation
  • scales that appear on the plaques
  • itchiness and pain

On light skin, these plaques appear as raised and red. On dark skin, the patches may be purple, grayish, or darker brown in color.

These plaques become covered in a silvery or white buildup of dead skin cells that medical professionals call scales.

See pictures of plaque psoriasis here.

Locations

Plaque psoriasis can appear on most areas of the body. However, it most often develops on the:

  • scalp
  • knees
  • elbows
  • torso

Treatment

Topical treatments for plaque psoriasis include:

Other treatments can include phototherapy, biologics, and systemic medications that a person can take orally or via an injection.

Learn more about plaque psoriasis here.

Approximately 8% of people who have psoriasis develop guttate psoriasis. This type of psoriasis can start at any age, but it most commonly starts at an early age, around childhood and young adulthood.

Infections of streptococcal bacteria cause strep throat, which is the most common cause of guttate psoriasis.

Symptoms

Guttate psoriasis is a distinct type of psoriasis that appears as small round spots called papules. These are raised and are sometimes scaly.

Locations

Inflammation of the skin causes the papules to form. They often appear on the:

  • arms
  • legs
  • torso

However, papules may also develop on a person’s face, ears, and scalp.

Treatment

The first line of treatment for mild guttate psoriasis is topical corticosteroids. Other treatment options include phototherapy and oral treatments.

If a person’s symptoms persist, a medical professional may recommend the use of a biologic or a combination of treatments.

Learn more about guttate psoriasis here.

Inverse psoriasis, sometimes called intertriginous psoriasis, affects 21–30% of people with psoriasis.

Inverse psoriasis has similar triggers to plaque psoriasis, including:

  • stress
  • certain medicines
  • starting to use and discontinuing medicines
  • infections
  • skin injuries
  • friction on deep folds of the skin

Symptoms

Inverse psoriasis appears as lesions on the body. These lesions are purple or brown on dark skin, and bright red on light skin.

The lesions may also appear smooth and shiny. However, they tend to lack the scaling that people may notice with plaque psoriasis.

Locations

This type of psoriasis commonly develops in the folds of the skin. It most often affects the following parts and areas of the body:

  • the armpits
  • groin
  • under the breasts
  • other skin folds on the body

Moisture, rubbing, and sweating can all make inverse psoriasis symptoms worse.

Treatment

Treatment for inverse psoriasis can include:

  • topical corticosteroids
  • topical calcineurin inhibitors
  • vitamin D analogs
  • oral systemic medications
  • biologics

Learn more about inverse psoriasis here.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare type of psoriasis that is aggressive and can affect the entire body. It can also become very serious and may be life threatening. It affects 1–2.25% of people with psoriasis.

This type of the condition has the same general triggers as most other types, including medications, skin injuries, allergic reactions, and stress.

Symptoms

Symptoms of this type of psoriasis can be very serious and include:

  • severe redness or discoloration of the skin on large areas of the body
  • shedding of large parts of the skin
  • exfoliation in large sheets instead of small scales
  • a burnt appearance of the skin
  • an increased heart rate
  • severe itching and pain
  • increasing and decreasing body temperature, particularly on days that are very hot or very cold

If a person experiences these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical attention.

Erythrodermic psoriasis disrupts a person’s body temperature and fluid balance. This can cause shivering episodes and swelling due to fluid retention.

A person with this type of psoriasis may also be at a higher risk of infection, pneumonia, and heart failure.

Treatment

Before treating erythrodermic psoriasis, doctors will first ensure a person is stable. They will start by correcting any fluid, protein, or electrolyte imbalance. They will then treat any secondary infections and protect the person against hypothermia.

An individual with this type of psoriasis can also develop sepsis, which can become fatal, so doctors will treat this immediately if it is present.

Once a person’s condition is stable, doctors can treat the erythrodermic psoriasis. They do this using a number of medications, such as cyclosporine, infliximab, methotrexate, or acitretin.

Other treatment options may include topical treatments and biologics that can work alongside the medications described above.

Learn more about erythrodermic psoriasis here.

There are different types of pustular psoriasis, and medical experts categorize them based on where the symptoms appear.

Symptoms and locations

Pustular psoriasis appears as pus-filled bumps called pustules. These pustules might be surrounded by inflamed, discolored skin.

Generalized pustular psoriasis

Generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP) causes widespread pustules to appear in large numbers across large areas of the body.

GPP can develop quickly and can be very serious. Its symptoms can also include fever, chills, severe itching, fatigue, a change in heart rate, and muscle weakness.

If a person suspects they have GPP, they should contact a medical professional right away.

Localized pustular psoriasis

Localized pustular psoriasis, also known as palmoplantar pustular psoriasis, tends to affect the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Acropustulosis affects only the tips of the fingers and the toes. This is very rare and may come after an injury or infection.

Learn more about palmoplantar psoriasis here.

Treatment

Medical professionals will treat this condition with one of the following:

  • topical treatments
  • phototherapy
  • oral medications
  • biologics

Learn more about pustular psoriasis here.

Nail psoriasis affects the fingernails and toenails. It causes changes in them that can lead to discoloration or alterations in the nail bed.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of nail psoriasis include:

  • dents in the nail
  • discoloration of the nail
  • the nail separating from the finger
  • crumbling nails
  • blood and buildup beneath the nail

Treatment

Treatment options for nail psoriasis include:

  • topical treatments, such as corticosteroids, calcipotriol, and tazarotene
  • systemic medications, including methotrexate and cyclosporine
  • phototherapy
  • biologics

Learn more about nail psoriasis here.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the joints to become inflamed. It often occurs with another form of psoriasis.

It can start at any age. However, it most commonly occurs in people aged 30–50 years.

Symptoms and locations

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • tenderness and swelling over tendons
  • swollen fingers and toes
  • stiff joints
  • pain and swelling in the joints
  • reduced range of motion
  • fatigue
  • changes to the nails

This condition can affect small or large joints. In some rarer instances, it can affect the spine.

Treatment

Early, aggressive treatment can improve the quality of life of a person with psoriatic arthritis. A person with this condition may need to seek treatment from a primary care doctor, a dermatologist, and a rheumatologist.

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis can include oral medications that reduce inflammation and swelling.

A doctor may also use biologics to target specific parts of the immune system to combat symptoms and slow joint damage.

Learn more about psoriatic arthritis here.

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes colored patches of skin to develop. These patches can be red, purple, or grayish, depending on a person’s skin tone. They can also be covered in scales and become itchy and may cause a burning sensation to develop.

There are various types of psoriasis, all of which produce differing symptoms.

Psoriasis can develop all over the body and can affect the scalp, knees, elbows, torso, genitals, face, hands, feet, or fingernails.

There are numerous treatments for psoriasis, including topical treatments, phototherapy, biologics, and systemic medications.

A person should contact a primary care doctor or dermatologist if they suspect they have psoriasis.