Psoriasis - Symptoms

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What symptoms and signs did you experience with psoriasis?

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What does psoriasis look like? What are the symptoms and signs?

Psoriasis typically looks like red or pink areas of thickened, raised, and dry skin. It classically affects areas over the elbows, knees, and scalp. Essentially any body area may be involved. It tends to be more common in areas of trauma, repeat rubbing, use, or abrasions.

Psoriasis has many different appearances. It may be small flattened bumps, large thick plaques of raised skin, red patches, and pink mildly dry skin to big flakes of dry skin that flake off.

There are several different types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris (common type), guttate psoriasis (small, drop like spots), inverse psoriasis (in the folds like of the underarms, navel, and buttocks), and pustular psoriasis (pus-filled, yellowish, small blisters). When the palms and the soles are involved, this is known as palmoplantar psoriasis.

Sometimes pulling of one of these small dry white flakes of skin causes a tiny blood spot on the skin. This is medically referred to as a special diagnostic sign in psoriasis called the Auspitz sign.

Genital lesions, especially on the head of the penis, are common. Psoriasis in moist areas like the navel or area between the buttocks (intergluteal folds) may look like flat red patches. These atypical appearances may be confused with other skin conditions like fungal infections, yeast infections, skin irritation, or bacterial Staph infections.

On the nails, it can look like very small pits (pinpoint depressions or white spots on the nail) or as larger yellowish-brown separations of the nail bed called "oil spots." Nail psoriasis may be confused with and incorrectly diagnosed as a fungal nail infection.

On the scalp, it may look like severe dandruff with dry flakes and red areas of skin. It may be difficult to tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and seborrhea (dandruff). However, the treatment is often very similar for both conditions.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: tyzac, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 28

I developed guttate psoriasis approximately 5 years ago, after seeing 2 skin specialists with reasonable results. About June last year it flared up into something awful on my legs, arms, hands, buttocks, back and scalp. I gave up my job as it involved contact with the public and off I went to another dermatologist. He just asked a few questions, had a look at the affected areas and immediately arranged for phototherapy treatment at the local hospital. What magic! After 21 sessions which ended on a 2 minute treatment, 95% of lesions disappeared. Now I just use Daivobet cream for body and gel for scalp when it looks like something maybe forming. I shampoo and condition with T-Gel alternating days with goat milk hair products. Needless to say, I am much happier these days.

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Comment from: joan b, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

At age 18 I developed scales on elbow and knees. This lasted until age 65 and disappeared. Shortly after, I developed pustular psoriasis on the bottom of my left foot. If I take an antibiotic for a different reason it clears up but returns even worse when antibiotic is ended. It itches and is painful. My dermatologist has no remedy.

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