What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common long-term, chronic skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp. It goes through cycles, flaring up for a few weeks, or months, then subsiding for a while, or going into remission. If you think you may have psoriasis, please contact MyHealthcare Clinic to arrange an appointment with our skin specialist. Prescription treatments are available to help manage and improve your symptoms.
Symptoms of psoriasis
There are many types of psoriasis, typically causing patches of dry skin that are red and covered in silver scales. Sometimes the affected area of skin is itchy, or sore. Here are some of the different types of psoriasis:
Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris)
This is the most common form, which amounts to about 80 to 90% of cases of psoriasis in the UK today. Its symptoms are dry red skin lesions, known as plaques, covered in silver scales. It usually appears on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on the body. The plaques can be both itchy and/or sore. In severe cases of plaque psoriasis, the skin around the joints may crack and bleed.
Guttate psoriasis causes small (less than 1cm) drop-shaped sores on your chest, arms, legs, and scalp. There’s a good chance guttate psoriasis will disappear completely after a few weeks, but sometimes it can develop into plaque psoriasis (see above). Guttate psoriasis sometimes occurs after a streptococcal throat infection and is most common among children and teenagers.
Scalp psoriasis can occur on parts of the scalp, or on the whole scalp, causing red patches of skin covered in thick scales, which are silvery-white in colour. For some people, the scalp gets extremely itchy, while others have no particular discomfort. Extreme cases of scalp psoriasis can cause hair loss, but usually hair grows back.
Inverse (flexural) psoriasis
This affects the folds, or creases, of your skin, such as in the armpits, the groin, and between the buttocks, or under the breasts, causing large, smooth red patches in some, or all, of these areas. Inverse psoriasis is made worse by friction and/or sweating, therefore it can flare up particularly in hot weather.
Around half of all people with psoriasis, the condition affects the nails. Psoriasis can cause the nails to develop tiny dents, becoming discoloured, or growing abnormally. Nails can often become loose and separate from the nail bed. In extreme cases, nails may crumble away.
Palmoplantar pustulosis is a type of psoriasis which shows up patches of very red, or dark skin, on the palms of the hands, or soles of the feet, which is covered with small pustules. These pustules fill up with fluid which often gives them a yellow, or cream colour. The pustules may dry up and turn brown, or crusty, after they have burst. The red, or darkened skin, around the pustules, is often thick with flaky scales, and often painful, as it can be prone to cracking.
The least common type of psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis can cover your entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch, or burn, intensely.
Psoriatic arthritis causes swollen and painful joints. Sometimes these symptoms are the first, or only sign, of psoriasis, and at times, only nail changes are seen. Symptoms range from mild to extreme. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint and it can cause stiffness and progressive joint damage.If you are suffering from any form of skin condition, please do not hesitate to contact MyHealthcare Clinic for an appointment with one of our skin specialists. Just call 0207 099 5555 now.