Last updated 08/13/2021
Do you have patches on your skin resembling a reptiles scales? These can often appear on your elbows. It makes for rough scaly Psoriasis, patches on the skin.
Psoriasis can improve but then something triggers it to flare-up. All racial groups may develop it but more common in Caucasians, at an equal rate in men and women. Therefore it often develops between ages 15 and 35 but can be any age.
Some people may get more than one type and sometimes the psoriasis can change to another type. If you develop a rash and this does not go away even using over-the-counter medications, you should see your Dermatologist.
What is Psoriasis, Patches on the Skin?
The disorder is not contagious so the lesions are not infectious. Your skin cells travel quickly to the epidermis developing into the familiar rough areas. As a result an overgrowth of keratin forming scales and itchy, dry patches. These are bothersome and may be different sizes.
Triggers can be:
- Certain medications
Symptoms of psoriasis:
- Itchy red rashes
- Skin flaking
- Small bumps
- Dents in finger nails
- Silver scales
Areas Where Psoriasis is Found
Scalp psoriasis may be very mild and have slight, fine scaling. It can also be very severe with thick, crusted plaques covering the whole scalp. Subsequently psoriasis may extend past the hairline onto the forehead, back of neck and around the ears.
Eyelids can possibly be affected covering lashes with inflammation. This may lead to Entropion (inverted) or Epiblepharon (outward) lashes. It is an irritating condition. In addition this is extremely rare but psoriasis can occur on the eyeball itself.
Ear psoriasis may develop in the external ear canal.
Changes in your nails can happen in about 50% with psoriasis and almost 80% of those with psoriatic arthritis. Nail psoriasis becomes common with age and if you have had psoriasis on the skin for a time. As a result it may present onychomycosis.
5 Types of Psoriasis
Plaque Psoriasis (aka Vulgaris) is the most common type. It has the appearance of raised, inflamed lesions covered with silvery white scales. In short the build-up of dead skin cells.
As a result patches or plaques are usually found on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. Moreover the lesions can be itchy and painful and may crack as well as bleed.
Guttate Psoriasis meaning “drop” (like appearance) is the second most common type. This type looks like small red drop-like spots. The condition usually begins in childhood or with young adults. It can be found on the trunk or limbs.
It is brought on quickly by;
- Upper respiratory infections
- Strep throat
- Injury to the skin (Koebner phenomenon)
- Taking certain medications
Inverse Psoriasis (aka Intertriginous ) is found in the skin folds of the:
- Under breast
- Around the genitals
The lesions appear as bright red in color along with being smooth and shiny. Gaining weight may increase your chances. Being in these areas lesions can be easily irritated due to rubbing of clothes and friction. As well as these folds tend to sweat.
Inverse can develop after another type of psoriasis has been found somewhere else on the body. Moreover many people have had both occurring at the same time.
Pustular Psoriasis appears primarily in adults. White pustules appear (containing white blood cells) with red skin around. These are not yellow, a sign of infection. More importantly the pustules can develop on any area but most often on hands and feet.
Erthrodemic Psoriasis is a severe type that can cover the body. It has an angry red appearance and the skin may come off in sheets instead of small flakes. Symptoms include severe itching and pain.
It is a rare kind usually happening in those with unstable plaque psoriasis. If you are having a flare-up seek medical attention immediately. Most importantly this type is life-threatening.
Psoriasis Patches on the Skin in Children
Your Dermatologist will examine the skin that is affected and form a determination according to the type. This will support in deciding which treatment to pursue. Therefore a biopsy may be taken to see under a microscope for confirmation.
Treatment for Psoriasis Patches on the Skin
The treatment usually aims at the symptoms of pain, inflammation and the scaling. More importantly reducing the inflammation and slowing the growth of the skin cells causing the condition. Keeping the skin moist and lubricated can also comfort. Watch for National Psoriasis Foundation seal of Recognition on products.
Light therapy is often tried first. This is used for moderate to severe psoriasis either by itself or combined with oral or injected medications.
With this treatment your skin will be exposed to natural or artificial light for controlled periods of time. Required are repeated sessions. Phototherapy includes sunlight, UVB broadband or narrowband.
To treat mild to moderate psoriasis corticosteroids may be given as a prescription. Often these are available in ointments, creams, lotions, gels, foams, sprays and shampoos.
Oats in the bath will also soothe skin from redness and itching. As well as a great time to relax.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil anti-fungal properties. Often it is added to shampoos to treat the scalp.
If you are in this area (Milwaukee, WI) there is a facility Psoriasis Clinic if you would like to contact a specialist. (AAOS is not connected to this facility, this is not an endorsement or promotion).
Wrapping it up
Do you have psoriasis? Are you in a support group?
Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.