What are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?

Symptoms of Psoriasis San Diego, California.

Psoriasis is a chronic, recurring skin disease with symptom cycles that can last for weeks or months at a time. The scope and symptoms of psoriasis can vary widely from patient to patient. While some people experience mild outbreaks, others suffer severe symptom flares that disrupt their health and quality of life.

The common signs and symptoms of psoriasis

  • Red patches of skin covered with white or silver scales
  • Itching, burning, and soreness
  • Inflamed skin
  • Swollen and stiff joints
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Discolored, pitted, or crumbling fingernails and toenails

However, there are several different types of psoriasis with their own unique symptoms. Most psoriasis patients only have one type at a time, although two different types can occur together. Additionally, one type of psoriasis can change into another type or become more severe. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of psoriasis and their corresponding symptoms:

Plaque psoriasis

About 80% of patients with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis, which is mostly found on the elbows, scalp knees, and lower back. Common signs include:

  • Raised, inflamed red lesions covered in silvery white scales (called plaques)
  • Itchiness and soreness
  • Cracking and bleeding skin around the joints in severe cases

Guttate psoriasis

Guttate psoriasis is more common among children and teenagers than adults, often occurring after a strep throat or other bacterial infection. Guttate psoriasis is usually present on the arms, legs, torso, and scalp, with signs that include:

  • Small pink spots (1 centimeter in diameter or smaller), sometimes teardrop-shaped.  Guttate is a German word that means droplet  - like droplets on the skin.
  • Accompanying symptoms of nail psoriasis

Nail psoriasis

Nail psoriasis is limited to fingernails and toenails, and signs and symptoms are present with about half of all psoriasis patients, regardless of the specific type. Common signs include:

  • Yellow-red discoloration under the nail plate
  • Pits and lines on the nail surface
  • Thickened skin under the nail
  • White areas under the nail plate
  • Crumbling or loosening nail plate
  • Separation of the nail plate from the nail bed

Pustular psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis is usually limited to adults, but overall it’s a more rare type of psoriasis that mainly affects the hands and feet. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Inflamed redness
  • White pus-filled blisters (pustules) that develop rapidly
  • Pustules that dry out and peel off within a few days, leaving shiny red skin behind
  • Pustules that develop into round, brown scaly spots
  • Fever, chills, and fatigue at the onset of a pustule cycle

Inverse psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis is often triggered by fungal infections and develops mainly in areas where skin is pressed against skin, such as armpits, genitals, breasts, and folds of skin common with overweight patients. Inverse psoriasis is characterized by:

  • Patches of bright red, shiny, inflamed skin without scaly plaques
  • Severe itchiness and soreness
  • Aggravation by sweating and friction from skin rubbing together

Erythrodermic psoriasis

The rarest and most serious type of psoriasis is erythrodermic psoriasis, which can cover a patient’s entire body, leaving it more susceptible to losing proteins and fluids. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Red, peeling rash covering the entire  body
  • Widespread inflammation
  • Intense itching and burning
  • Fever and chills
  • Widespread shedding of skin, which intensifies itching and burning
  • Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, including joint pain, stiffness, redness, and swelling
  • Symptoms of nail psoriasis

When to see a dermatologist for psoriasis in San Diego

Psoriasis of any type is a serious medical condition that cannot be cured; it can only be treated, and the best treatments will be found through your dermatologist—not on the Internet. So if you notice any of the signs and symptoms listed above, make an appointment with a dermatologist right away. It’s your best bet for relief of the uncomfortable and unsightly symptoms of psoriasis.

The future of psoriasis treatment at California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute

At the California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute, we conduct clinical trials for a range of dermatologic conditions, including psoriasis, and we’re committed to providing our patients with the latest in treatment breakthroughs.  Almost all of the currently available, modern treatments for psoriasis were first tested in clinical trials conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith.  If you’re looking for better treatment for your psoriasis, contact the California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute at (760) 203-3839 today.