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What are the Psoriasis Signs and Symptoms?

Story at-a-glance

  • Patches associated with psoriasis can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major outbreaks that cover large areas
  • Make a point to check for any of the symptoms of psoriasis; this could make a difference in your recovery

While the early signs of psoriasis can vary from one person to another due to the many types, here are some of the most common signs to be wary of:

Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales

Small scaling spots often seen in children

Dry cracked skin that could bleed

Itching, burning or soreness

Thickened, pitted or ridged nails

Swollen and stiff joints

Patches that are typically associated with psoriasis range from appearing like a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major outbreaks that cover large areas. These plaques usually come in cycles, where they flare first for a few weeks or months, then become subdued for a time (or even go into remission).1

Where Does Psoriasis Appear?

Psoriasis can manifest anywhere in your body. Some of the areas where you can commonly spot the symptoms of this condition, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, include:2

Scalp: Psoriasis in the scalp can range from mild (slight, fine scaling) to very severe (presence of thick, crusted plaque spread all throughout the entire scalp). The condition can even extend beyond your hairline and onto your forehead, back of the neck or around the ears.

Face: The eyebrows, skin between the nose and the upper lip, upper forehead, and hairline are most prone to facial psoriasis. The eyelids may also be affected, with the scales covering the lashes and the edges of the eyelids becoming red and crusty. Scales can also build up on your ears, blocking the ear canal and potentially causing temporary hair loss.

The skin on your face is much more sensitive compared to other body parts, so make sure to exercise caution when treating psoriasis in this area.3

Hands, feet and nails: Skin cracks, blisters and swelling typically accompany psoriasis flare-ups in the hands and feet. Psoriasis can cause nail changes in at least 50 percent of psoriasis patients and 80 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients, and these include:4

Pitting (shallow or deep holes in the nails)

Deformations (changes to the normal shape of the nail)

Nail thickening

Onycholysis (separation of the nail from the nail bed)

Nail discoloration

Genitals: Smooth, dry and red lesions first appear on your genitals. If left untreated, this results in the onset of inverse psoriasis, the most common type of genital psoriasis. Some of the regions of the genital area where psoriasis is most likely to be occur are:5

Pubis (region above the genitals)

Upper thighs

Creases between thigh and groin

Penis

Vulva

Anus and the surrounding skin

Buttocks crease

Skin folds: Just like your genitals, skin folds on your armpits and under the breasts can be affected by inverse psoriasis. Frequent irritation because of rubbing and sweating can trigger this condition.

Different treatments are required for psoriasis depending on where symptoms manifest on your body.6

Methods Used to Diagnose Psoriasis

It is crucial that you consult a physician immediately if you experience any of the psoriasis symptoms mentioned earlier, or any of these other hallmarks:7

Below are a two ways that physicians use to confirm a psoriasis diagnosis:8

Psoriasis can not only cause massive lesions and scarring, but it may also potentially hamper your confidence and disrupt your daily routines. Make it a point to check for any of the symptoms from time to time — this could make a difference in reducing health risks.

MORE ABOUT PSORIASIS

Psoriasis: Introduction

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis In Children

Psoriasis Versus Eczema

Psoriatic Arthritis

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

Psoriasis Causes

Psoriasis Types

Psoriasis Symptoms

Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis Prevention

Psoriasis Diet

Celebrities With Psoriasis

Psoriasis FAQ

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Sources and References

  • 1, 7, 9 Mayo Clinic, March 6, 2018
  • 2, 6 National Psoriasis Foundation, "About Psoriasis"
  • 3 National Psoriasis Foundation, “Psoriasis on the Face”
  • 4 National Psoriasis Foundation, “Hands, Feet and Nails”
  • 5 National Psoriasis Foundation, “Genital Psoriasis”
  • 8 Mayo Clinic, March 6, 2018
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