5 Shades of Psoriasis: Not All Psoriasis Types Look The Same

Last updated: December 2022

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions are ones that are caused by an abnormal functioning of the immune system. With psoriasis, the inflammation in a person’s body causes symptoms that affect the skin in various ways.

Let's break down the different types of psoriasis

There are several types of psoriasis including plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic. While some people have just one type of psoriasis, others have more than one type at once.

What is plaque psoriasis?


The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. With plaque psoriasis, a person will experience plaques on their skin which are patches of raised skin that are red and dry and often have a layer of silvery scales.

What is guttate psoriasis?


Guttate psoriasis is the second most common type of psoriasis. The skin symptoms of guttate look different than the skin symptoms of plaque psoriasis. With guttate psoriasis, a person will experience small plaques that resemble shapes like rain or teardrops, they are often pink in color.

While the teardrop or raindrop plaques may not start scaly, they may become more scaly over time. The triggers associated with guttate are typically different than the triggers associated with plaque psoriasis.

What is inverse psoriasis?


Inverse psoriasis occurs in the folds of the body, such as in the armpit, in or around the genitals, or under the breasts. It is estimated that inverse psoriasis affects between 3%-7% of people with the condition.

The skin symptoms of inverse psoriasis are not raised and not covered in scales, instead feel smooth and are shiny, and are pink or red in color. Sometimes those with inverse psoriasis may experience deep cracking in the skin crease, these are called fissures.

What is pustular psoriasis?


There are two main types of pustular psoriasis. One that is more common among children, which is “subacute generalized pustular psoriasis.” Those with subacute generalized pustular psoriasis may tend to have relapses, they tend to have fewer serious complications.

The second type called “generalized pustular psoriasis (von Zumbusch variant)" occurs more frequently and may cause serious complications that impact the entire body including headaches, fever and/or chills, increased heart rate, weakness, nausea and/or loss of appetite. Pustular psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body but frequently occur on the palms of the hand or the soles of the feet.

What is erythrodermic psoriasis?


People with erythrodermic psoriasis develop extremely red and scaly skin and these symptoms impact 90% or more of the body. Symptoms of erythrodermic psoriasis are skin that is painful to the touch and extreme itchiness. The individual may also shed full sheets of skin.

Those who experience flare-ups of erythrodermic psoriasis require urgent medical care and may require hospitalization.

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