The classic symptoms of
psoriasis are raised, red
patches of skin topped with loose, silvery scales, usually on the knees or
There are several
types of psoriasis. Symptoms for each type may vary in
severity and appear in a wide array of combinations. In general, the major
symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Bright red areas of raised patches (plaques) on
the skin, often covered with loose, silvery scales. Plaques can occur anywhere,
but commonly they occur on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet, or lower
back. Nearly 90% of people with psoriasis have plaque-type psoriasis.9
- Tiny areas of bleeding when skin scales are
picked or scraped off (Auspitz's sign).
- Mild scaling to thick,
crusted plaques on the scalp.
Itching, especially during sudden
flare-ups or when the psoriasis patches are in body folds, such as under the
breasts or buttocks.
- Nail disorders. Nail disorders are common,
especially in severe psoriasis. Nail symptoms include:
- Tiny pits in the nails (not found with
fungal nail infections).
- Yellowish discoloration of the toenails
and sometimes the fingernails.
- Separation of the end of the nail
from the nail bed.
- Less often, a buildup of skin debris under the
Other symptoms of psoriasis may include:
- Similar plaques in the same area on both sides
of the body (for example, both knees or both elbows).
- Flare-ups of
many raindrop-shaped patches. Called
guttate psoriasis, this condition often follows a
strep infection and is the second most common type of psoriasis. It affects
less than 10% of those with psoriasis.9
- Joint swelling, tenderness, and pain (psoriatic arthritis).
Koebner's phenomenon can occur when a person with psoriasis
has an injury (such as a cut, burn, or excess sun exposure) to an area of the
skin that is not affected by psoriasis. Psoriasis patches then appear on the
injured skin or any other part of the skin from several days to about 2 weeks
after the injury. Because this response is common, it is important for people
who have psoriasis to avoid irritating or injuring their skin.
other skin conditions have symptoms similar to
psoriasis. Some medicine reactions can cause symptoms (such as reddened skin)
similar to psoriasis. Talk to your doctor about the medicines you are