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.
Psoriasis can make you itchy and uncomfortable. Treating it can be annoying and time-consuming. But some of the worst effects of psoriasis are emotional. You may feel like your psoriasis gets in the way of your relationships. It can make people treat you strangely.
Depending on where it is on your body, psoriasis can be an embarrassing disease. People around you may not understand your condition and be frightened by it. Even your good friends may refuse your offers to help them out in the kitchen...
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.