The Lowdown on Psoriasis: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Red, flaky patches, intense burning, and itching. These are some of the unpleasant symptoms linked to psoriasis. Over 8 million Americans suffer from this condition, but fortunately, it is treatable.

This article will explore psoriasis signs and symptoms as well as possible treatments that may provide relief.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that can cause cells to develop rapidly on the skin. This leads to an overgrowth that manifests as thick, scaly patches that can itch and cause discomfort. 

Psoriasis tends to flare up and then go into remission with remission periods lasting 1-12 months. Flare-ups can be difficult to predict but environmental triggers are cited as one of the main triggers. 

Other triggers can include stress and anxiety, injuries to the skin, infection, hormonal changes, or the medication you are taking. 

What Are the Different Types of Psoriasis?

There are many different types of psoriasis and the symptoms you are experiencing may vary based on the type of psoriasis you have. 

Plaque Psoriasis: This is the most common type of psoriasis. It manifests as raised, inflamed lesions with silvery-white scales that appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.

Inverse Psoriasis: Inverse psoriasis has red lesions without the scales that occur in plaque psoriasis. Lesions are usually found on the armpits, groin, under the breasts, around the genitals and buttocks, and in other skin folds around the body. 

Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This rare type of psoriasis can result in a fiery redness across the surface of the body. Exfoliation, peeling of the skin and severe pain and itching are other symptoms. Unstable plaque psoriasis may worsen to become erythrodermic psoriasis.

Erythrodermic psoriasis causes a disruption in the body’s chemical balance that can lead to a loss of proteins and fluids. In other cases, edema or fluid retention may occur. 

The disruption EP causes can lead to pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and other serious illnesses. 

Guttate Psoriasis: Guttate psoriasis often occurs in children and young adults. Symptoms are small red spots on the skin that are not as crusty as the lesions that occur with plaque psoriasis. 

Guttate psoriasis is often a result of an illness such as a respiratory infection, tonsillitis, or streptococcal infection. It can also be brought on by stress, injury to the skin, or the medication you are taking.

This type of psoriasis can be treated and may never return or may manifest later in life as plaque psoriasis. 

Pustular Psoriasis: This type of psoriasis appears as white pustules surrounded by red skin. The pustules later become scaly and red. 

Pustules can form anywhere on the body although they are commonly found on the lower arms, groin, armpits, feet, knees, or scalp. 

Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis is not a pleasant condition, but with treatment, it can become manageable. Here are some common treatment options.

Medications: OTC treatments can treat people with mild forms of psoriasis. These treatments are good for soothing itching and inflammation. They include:

  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Anti-itch agents
  • Coal Tar
  • Salicylic acid

Topical Treatments: Topical treatments are recommended for those with mild to moderate psoriasis. They provide relief of itching and inflammation and can slow the growth of skin cells. Recommended topical treatments include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Synthetic vitamins
  • Retinoids
  • Pimecrolimus cream and tacrolimus ointment

Systemic Therapies:

Those with severe cases of psoriasis may need systemic therapies. These work within the body to reduce the occurrence of flare-ups as well as the progression of the disease. Common systemic therapies include: 

  • Biologics
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Oral Retinoids

Lifestyle Changes:

Psoriasis can also be treated by eating the right diet, reducing stress, avoiding triggers, keeping skin moisturized, and avoiding drying heat. 

Psoriasis can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but with the right treatment, you can find ways to make it manageable. Good luck finding out how to control this condition to enjoy the high quality of life you deserve.