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Types of psoriasis

Types of psoriasis

There are several types of psoriasis, though some forms are less common than others. 1

If you would like to find out more, look at the pictures below and click on the cross for further information.

Close-up of elbow psoriasis
Close-up of plaque psoriasis on body

The most common form of psoriasis, named plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris), occurs in approximately 90% of people with psoriasis.1

Plaque psoriasis involves red, inflamed ‘plaques’ or patches of skin which can be scaly, itchy and painful.2 If you have this form of psoriasis, you may have a few, spaced out plaques, or they may form together into larger plaques.3 These plaques are an irregular round or oval shape and most commonly form on the scalp, trunk, buttocks and limbs, and especially areas around the joints, such as elbows and knees.3

Close-up image of psoriasis on nails

Psoriasis can cause changes to the nails, such as pitting (deep to shallow holes) or ridges (lines running from the nail bed to the end), crumbling, loss of nails, and the ‘oil drop sign’ – an orange-yellow discoloration of the nail bed.1,4

Close-up image of pustular psoriasis on body

Damaged and inflamed areas form in folds of the skin, like around the buttocks, genitals, armpits or beneath the breasts. These are typically sensitive areas, which can be worsened due to sweat and friction.2

Close-up image of pustular psoriasis on body

Cells from the immune system collect in the top layer of skin due to inflammation.3 This can cause pustules to form.3 Pustules are bumps on the skin filled with fluid, which can be in one or a small number of areas (often on the hands and feet), or across the whole body. They are not contagious.1

Close-up image of guttate psoriasis on body

Drop shaped swellings form. These drops are salmon-pink, scaly, small, and not as thick as the ‘plaques’ that form in plaque psoriasis, though they may cluster together.3 If you have these drops, they could be the first sign of psoriasis, or occur alongside plaques.3 They can be triggered by bacterial infections, including throat infections, tonsillitis, and the common cold.1 Guttate psoriasis usually clears within a few months with minor or no treatment, though it may progress to chronic plaque psoriasis.1,2 It is most common in younger people under 30 years-old.3

Close-up image of erythrodermic psoriasis

Redness and scaling form all over the body. It is a severe form of psoriasis. If you have reddened skin everywhere, this can change the way the skin manages temperature, leading to chills, dangerously low body temperature (hypothermia), fluid loss and dehydration.2,3

1. Griffiths CE, Barker JN. Lancet. 2007;370(9583):263-271.

2. NHS. Psoriasis - Symptoms. Available from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriasis/symptoms/ [Accessed July 2021].

3. Menter A et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58(5):826-850.

4. Pasch MC. Drugs. 2016;76(6):675-705.