Psoriasis is a severe skin condition that varies depending upon the appearance of scales and where they are located in the body. According to a report, around 7.4 million people in the United States have psoriasis. This skin condition is commonly associated with other medical problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, or depression.
This blog will help you get an overview of psoriasis, how many types of psoriasis are there, its symptoms, available treatment options, and some medical guidelines concerning this skin condition.
An overview of illness
Psoriasis is a known autoimmune condition that causes rapid skin cells build-up for a prolonged duration. Due to the buildup of cells, you experience scaling on the skin surface. This skin condition is the result of sped-up skin production.
Redness & inflammation around the scales is quite common. Usually, psoriatic scales have whitish-silver colors and develop thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches on the skin crack and bleed.
Usually, skin cells grow deep in the skin and gradually rise to the surface. Eventually, they fall off after completing a typical cycle of one month. The skin cell production process may happen in comparatively fewer days in people with psoriasis. Due to this, cells don’t get time to fall off. And, this rapid overproduction results in the build-up of skin cells.
Scales usually develop on joints, such as knees and elbows. But they may develop in any body part, including the scalp, face, neck, hands, or feet. Less common types of psoriasis can affect your mouth, nails, and the area around the genitals.
Types of psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis: is the most widespread form of psoriasis, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 80 percent of individuals with this skin condition have plaque psoriasis. It causes red-colored, inflamed patches that cover specific areas of the skin. These patches are usually covered with whitish-silver plaques commonly found on the scalp, elbows, and knees.
Guttate psoriasis: is a prominent type of psoriasis in childhood. It causes small pink spots on the skin surface, and the most common site for this psoriasis type include the arms, torso, and legs. These spots are rarely thick or raised, similar to plaque psoriasis.
Pustular psoriasis: This type of psoriasis is common in adults. It causes white-colored, pus-filled blisters with broad red, inflamed skin areas. Pustular psoriasis often localizes to smaller body areas, such as the feet or hands, but it can be widespread.
Inverse psoriasis: causes bright areas of shiny, red, inflamed skin. Inverse psoriasis patches develop under armpits or breasts, around the groin, or close to the skin fold in the genitals.
Erythrodermic psoriasis: is the most severe and rare type of psoriasis. This skin condition often covers large sections of the skin at once. In erythrodermic psoriasis, the skin also appears sunburned, and the scales usually develop slough off in huge sections or sheets. It is not atypical for an individual with this psoriasis type to have a fever or become excessively ill. It is the only type of this skin condition that can be life-threatening, so people should see a doctor or dermatologist immediately.
How do I know if I have psoriasis?
Psoriasis symptoms vary from individual to individual and depend upon the types of psoriasis. Areas of this skin condition can be as small as some flakes on the scalp or elbow or may cover the majority of your body. Most common plaque psoriasis symptoms may include:
- raised, inflamed skin patches that appear red on light skin and purple or brown on dark skin
- whitish-silver plaques or scales on the red patches or gray-colored scales on the purple and brown patches
- soreness around the patches
- dry skin that may crack or bleed
- thick and pitted nails
- painful, swollen joints
- itching and burning sensations around the patches
Not everyone will face all of these symptoms. Some individuals may experience different symptoms if they have a less common psoriasis type. People with this skin condition mostly go through “cycles” of symptoms. This skin condition may cause severe symptoms for a few weeks and then clear up or become almost unnoticeable. If the situation worsens by a common psoriasis trigger in a few weeks, the issue may flare up again.
When you experience no active signs of psoriasis, you may be in “remission.” It does not indicate that psoriasis can never come back, but for the time being, you are symptoms-free.
Is it possible to treat psoriasis?
If you are clinically diagnosed with psoriasis, your treatment will depend upon the type and severity of your medical condition. The primary options include medications and phototherapy. Also, people with psoriasis should apply emollients to the skin moisturized during the treatment. Emollients reduce itching and irritation and may also decrease the number of plaques or lesions that develop.
Several topical, oral, and injected drugs are available for psoriasis treatment. Some over-the-counter (OTC) remedies that can help relieve mild psoriasis symptoms include the following:
- Coal tar: helps soothe plaque psoriasis, itching (skin irritation), and lesions on the palms, scalps, and soles. Individuals can use coal tar on their own or with other treatments.
- Hydrocortisone creams: reduce inflammation and soothe itching.
- Salicylic acid: It can help remove scales and reduce swelling, usually in people with scalp psoriasis
- Anti-itch agents: includes products containing hydrocortisone, calamine, camphor, or menthol.
Other available treatment options include topical and systemic therapies, including biologics, methotrexate, cyclosporine, and oral retinoids.
This method involves regular skin exposure to specific lights and lasers under proper medical supervision. The light can slow down skin cell growth, suppress skin immunity, and reduce irritation.
People can also carry out phototherapy at home with the help of a lightbox or handheld device if the initial phase of treatment is successful. To make skin more sensitive to light, one may also need to take psoralen pills before exposure.
Anyone who has a condition that makes them more sensitive to light, such as lupus or skin cancer, should avoid using this method and go for some home remedies.