The hallmark symptoms of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, are plaques composed of thick, scaly skin. These are typically reddened in appearance with silvery scales that have sometimes been said to resemble ashes. The elbows, knees, and scalp are common sites of involvement, although other areas of skin can be affected, as well. The condition can start as a few red bumps on the skin, and in mild cases, small areas of dry skin may be the only symptoms. Itching and burning sensations can be associated with the lesions on the skin. The nails may be affected, and psoriasis of the nails causes ridged, thick, or pitted nails and can ultimately lead to separation of the nails from the nail bed. Symptoms of arthritis, including stiffness, pain, and swelling of the joints, occur in some people with psoriasis. There are different forms of psoriasis that can affect different areas and produce different kinds of skin changes. For example, pustular psoriasis is characterized by blisters filled with pus. Fever, chills, and diarrhea can accompany this type of psoriasis.
Causes of psoriasis
The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. Both genetic predisposition and environmental factors are thought to be involved in its development, and defects in immune system regulation are thought to play a major role. Psoriasis is commonly found in members of the same family.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Meffert, Jeffrey. "Psoriasis." Medscape.com. Apr. 3, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1943419-overview>.
Main Article on Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Discover home remedies for psoriasis and help heal irritated skin....
Picture of Psoriasis 1
A reddish, scaly rash often located over the surfaces of the elbows, knees, scalp, and around or in the ears, navel, genitals or...
Picture of Psoriasis 2
More than one-quarter of all individuals with psoriasis develop their disease during childhood or adolescence. See a picture of...
Picture of Psoriasis 3
This figure shows the erythema, scaling, and thickening of portions of the thumb and soles that are very common in both children...
Psoriasis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take the mystery out of psoriasis. Take the Psoriasis Quiz and see what you know about the types, symptoms, treatments and more....
Psoriasis Types, Images, Treatments
What is psoriasis? Explore psoriasis treatment options such as topical ointments, phototherapy, natural remedies and more. Learn...
Psoriasis: Top 10 Causes, Triggers and Treatments
Psoriasis triggers a red, scaly rash of plaques on the skin typically affecting the elbows, knees, and scalp. Treatment involves...
Types of Psoriasis: Medical Pictures and Treatments
Learn about the common skin condition psoriasis. Explore about the different types of psoriasis such as vulgaris (plaque...
Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs
Examples of Medications for Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs
- adalimumab, Humira
- alefacept, Amevive
- anthralin (for scalp only) - topical, Dritho-Scalp
- betamethasone dipropionate, Diprolene; Diprolene AF
- betamethasone/calcipotriene (calcipotriol) - topical, Taclonex
- calcipotriene - topical, Dovonex, Sorilux
- cyclosporine - intravenous, Sandimmune
- cyclosporine - oral, Sandimmune
- cyclosporine solution - oral, Sandimmune
- etanercept, Enbrel
- infliximab, Remicade
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
- octreotide acetate (Sandostatin LAR)
- Remicade vs. Humira
- tazarotene (Tazorac)
- Tofacitinib citrate (Xeljanz)
- Topical Corticosteroids
- ustekinumab, Stelara