The Different Kinds of Psoriasis
Psoriasis, which is considered to be an autoimmune disease, is a chronic skin disorder. What this means is that instead of protecting your body, your immune system attacks the body. In the United States, over 6.7 million people are affected by psoriasis.
What does it look like to have psoriasis?
This condition causes your skin to develop painful, itchy patches of skin that appear to be scaly, and even red or silvery. These patches sometimes disappear and reappear over time, whether it be a couple days or a month.
While this is a general definition, there are multiple kinds of psoriasis. It is even possible for one person to live with different kinds of psoriasis at the same time. Take a deeper look and read on to understand the difference between each type of psoriasis and how to treat it.
Psoriasis symptoms and how to spot them.
Common psoriasis symptoms are:
- Itchy skin
- Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness
- Red skin patches
- Scaly, or even silver, patches of skin
Other symptoms of psoriasis are low self-esteem, anxiety, and mental stress. Also, depression is very common for people living with psoriasis. Symptoms, however, vary based of the kind of psoriasis someone is diagnosed with. Officially, these are the five kinds of psoriasis:
- Psoriatic Arthritis
It is also notable to mention that there are subcategories for the different types of psoriasis. These subcategories present differently, though, based on its location. Regardless of the type of psoriasis, it is never contagious.
Plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, is the most commonly diagnosed form of psoriasis. Approximately 85% of people who have psoriasis are diagnosed with plaque psoriasis. It is categorized by red, thick skin patches, typically layered with white or silvery, scaly skin. These patches appear most commonly on the:
- Lower back
The size of these patches are anywhere from 1-10 cm in width, though they can sometimes be bigger and cover larger parts of the body. When the patches become irritated by scratching symptoms will worsen.
How to Treat:
First, a doctor will most likely suggest using moisturizers to prevent the skin from becoming dry and irritated. Types of moisturizers to use are over-the-counter cortisone creams or moisturizers with an ointment base. You and your doctor can even work to find triggers that spike your psoriasis, such as sleep loss or stress.
Other treatment options include:
- Medications, such as tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac)
- Topical retinoids that reduce inflammation
- Vitamin D creams like calcitriol (Rocaltrol) and calcipotriene (Dovonex) that help to reduce the rate of skin cell growth.
- Coal tar applications, either by shampoo, cream, or oil.
Some cases of plaque psoriasis may even require light therapy. This type of treatment requires skin to be exposed to UVA and UVB rays. Some treatment options can include combining light therapy, oral medications, and ointments prescribed to help reduce the inflammation.