Psoriasis is a chronic disease that lasts a lifetime, and the signs and symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the person and type of psoriasis.
For some people, psoriasis symptoms can clear up for months or years at a time. This is known as remission.
Common symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales (called plaques)
- Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
- Itching, burning, or soreness
- Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas.
Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission.
Symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis
- Raised, reddish patches that can appear anywhere on the skin
- Silvery-white coating on patches
- Common locations for patches include the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp
- Patches that thicken when scratched
- Patches varying in size, and either alone or joined together
- Nails with pits that are crumbling or fall off
Symptoms of Guttate Psoriasis
- Small, red spots that are most common on the trunk, arms, and legs, but can show up anywhere on your body
- Spots that appear after an illness like strep throat
- Spots that clear up in a few weeks or months without treatment
- Spots that appear where the person had plaque psoriasis
Symptoms of Pustular Psoriasis
- Red, swollen, and dotted skin with pus-filled bumps
- Bumps often only on the palms and soles
- Soreness and pain on the bumps
- Brown dots and/or scale on the skin after pus-filled bumps dry
When pus-filled bumps cover the body, you may have bright-red skin and feel ill, exhausted, have a fever, chills, severe itching, rapid pulse, loss of appetite, or muscle weakness.
Symptoms of Inverse Psoriasis
- Smooth, red patches of skin
- Sore skin
- Patches only on creases of the skin like the armpits, near the groin, genitals, and buttocks
- Raw patches under a woman’s breast
Symptoms of Erythrodermic Psoriasis
- Skin that looks burned
- Most of skin turns bright red
- Feeling very hot or very cold
- Rapid heartbeat
- Intense itching
- Severe pain
Diagnosis of Psoriasis
Most of the time, your physician can diagnose psoriasis by taking your medical history and examining your skin, scalp, and nails.
In some cases, a skin biopsy may be done to determine the type of psoriasis, and to rule out other disorders that look similar to psoriasis, such as dyshidrotic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, lichen planus, ringworm, and pityriasis rosea.