Psoriasis appears in a variety of forms with distinct characteristics. Typically, an individual has only one type of psoriasis at a time. Aimee Bosland, health educator for the National Psoriasis Foundation in Portland, Oregon, describes the five main types of psoriasis and their common symptoms:
Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris) is the most common type. It leads to raised, inflamed red lesions covered by a silvery white scale, and is found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.
Guttate psoriasis starts in childhood or young adulthood. It often comes on suddenly; materializes on the trunk and limbs; and appears as small, red individual spots on skin.
Inverse psoriasis appears in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other skin folds. It creates bright red lesions that are smooth and shiny, and is subject to irritation from rubbing and/or sweating.
Pustular psoriasis is seen primarily in adults. It’s characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus surrounded by red skin, and may be either localized or spread over the body.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is particularly inflammatory and affects most of the body’s surface. It’s characterized by periodic, widespread fiery redness of skin and the shedding of scales in sheets rather than flakes, and is often accompanied by severe itching and pain, heart rate increase and fluctuating body temperature. (Note: A client who experiences these symptoms must see a doctor immediately and may require hospitalization.)