Click on the areas of the body where psoriasis affects you, to view tailored information and advice.
Plaques on your scalp may appear red and raised, with silver, white or yellow scaly skin, also appearing on the edges of your scalp, forehead, neck, or around your ears. Flakes could appear like dandruff in your hair and on your clothing. Severe scalp psoriasis can cause temporary thinning of the hair due to scratching, but there are many ways to improve your scalp’s condition or hide it if you prefer.
Skin folds include the armpit, beneath the breasts, between the buttocks and the groin and genitals. These are sensitive areas where the skin folds, causing friction and sweat. Plaques in these areas may not be scaly like other plaques and may be redder and shiny, potentially more painful, and require different products and treatments designed for sensitive areas.
People with genital psoriasis report often experiencing itch, discomfort, redness, stinging/burning, pain and scaling. This can have a big impact on the experience of sex and worsening symptoms following sex which can lead to lower sexual activity, avoidance of sexual relationships and reduced sexual desire. If you have genital psoriasis, you may feel embarrassed because of the location and worried about people’s reactions. While psoriasis in this area can be difficult to deal with, people with psoriasis can try many things to control their symptoms.
If your psoriasis is on your hands or feet, this might cause cracking, blistering and swelling, or may take the form of ‘palmoplantar pustulosis’, which appears as small yellow bumps under the skin surface, mostly on the palms or soles; they contain fluid, but are not infectious. Any kind of psoriasis on the hands or feet can be painful and make it difficult for you to do even basic daily activities like walking or carrying things, but there are some things you can do to help deal with it.
I struggled with exercise at first, the burning/biting sensation really got to me but I’ve learnt to work through it now. I try to exercise at least 4 days a week. I just do what I’m feeling on the day, based on what my skin and joints are like. If my hands are aching, I might go for a morning walk or go on my exercise bike. If my feet are bad, I might focus on my arms with some weights. If I can’t deal with those things, I do some stretches – there’s always options.
Areas where parts of the body bend are sometimes called ‘flexures’ , and psoriasis in these areas can be worsened by sweat and friction. If you have plaques in these areas, they may not be scaly like other plaques and may be redder and shiny, potentially more painful, and can require different treatments applied to the skin, designed for sensitive areas.
I used to cover up my knees and elbows but the clothes rubbing against me really hurt and made them bleed more. I now keep them uncovered when I’m at home. Hiding them made me feel embarrassed and ashamed, especially in summer. It was freeing to work past that, but it took time and also CBT therapy to get over some of my anxiety and self-esteem issues.
About half of people with psoriasis will find that their nails are affected. Nails can become pitted, discoloured, thickened, loosened or raised from the nail bed, or be lost completely. Psoriasis in any area that is highly visible like the nails could understandably make you feel self-conscious or embarrassed. Nail psoriasis can be particularly difficult to treat, but a few things may help.