The signs and symptoms of psoriasis vary depending on the type you have. Some common signs for plaque psoriasis -- the most common type of psoriasis -- include:
Plaques of red, inflamed skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales. These plaques may be itchy and painful and sometimes crack and bleed. In severe cases, the plaques will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
Disorders of the fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting of the nails. The nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed.
Scaly plaques on the scalp.
Small areas of bleeding where the involved skin is scratched.
Psoriasis can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in the joints. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that between 10% and 30% of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.
Treatment can't cure your psoriasis, but it can relieve your symptoms for a while. And you don't have just one or two options. There are many ways to treat psoriasis, and you can combine treatments. So if one thing doesn't work, something else likely will.
You and your doctor will decide on a treatment plan based on:
How severe your psoriasis is
What treatments you've already used
Whether you have other medical conditions
How much you are willing to do
Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate director of dermatopharmacology, department of dermatology, New York University School of Medicine; co-director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center; consultant for Amgen, Biogen, Genentech, Fujisawa, and 3M.
Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director of the Clinical Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City; assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; consultant for Amgen and Genentech.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
American Academy of Dermatology.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Psoriasis."
American Academy of Dermatology, PsoriasisNet.
National Psoriasis Foundation.
Abel, E. ACP Medicine, April 2005.