You’ve likely heard of snakes shedding their skin, but you probably don’t know that humans do the same thing. Your body makes new skin cells and replaces the old ones constantly. In fact, over the course of a month, your body will replace all the skin you see. Although, sometimes the immune system sends too many signals to the cells, causing the process to go haywire. If your body produces skin cells in days instead of weeks, the excess skin cells will build up on the surface. This autoimmune disorder is diagnosed as psoriasis.
Types of Psoriasis
There are five types of psoriasis. You can be diagnosed with a single type or have two or more types.
Plaque psoriasis is the most common of all the types. This condition causes scaly and thick patches that are referred to as plaques. You can get plaque psoriasis on any part of your body, but the scalp, lower back, elbows, and knees are the most susceptible.
If you have this condition, you could have a single patch by itself or several patches that touch. While the size of the affected area varies, the symptoms are usually the same. Plaque psoriasis is extremely itchy, and it can also cause stinging and burning sensations. Some people also complain about it being painful.
Have you noticed smooth, red patches in the folds of your skin? The patches likely feel raw and are sensitive to the touch. This is inverse psoriasis. The patches remain smooth due to the moisture in the skin folds.
If you have inverse psoriasis, you likely have another form of psoriasis on other parts of your skin. For instance, many people gain weight after developing plaque psoriasis. The weight gain puts them at an increased risk of getting inverse psoriasis.
Guttate psoriasis is the second most commonly diagnosed form of the disease. Instead of appearing in patches, you will have small drop-shaped spots on your body. Some people get guttate psoriasis on their faces or scalps, although the limbs and torso areas are the most likely to be affected. If you have plaque psoriasis then develop an infection, you could end up with guttate psoriasis. For instance, if you get strep throat, you might end up with guttate psoriasis as well.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is extremely rare. The extra skin cells look like burns and often cover large portions of the body. You also might experience dehydration and run a fever with this condition. If you have erythrodermic psoriasis, it is considered a medical emergency.
You are more susceptible to getting this form of psoriasis if you already have plaque psoriasis. It can develop if you don’t control your plaque psoriasis, have an allergic reaction, or sustain a severe sunburn.
Pustular psoriasis presents as pus-filled bumps, typically on the feet or hands. During a flare-up, you might feel like you have the flu. You can experience fever, chills, muscle weakness, and a loss of appetite. While this condition can develop on its own, you can trigger its occurrence if you have plaque psoriasis and stop taking your steroid pills without tapering off the medication or if you develop an infection.
Psoriasis is usually a chronic condition, meaning it lasts for an entire lifetime. There isn’t a cure for this autoimmune disorder, but you can control it with the right treatment protocol. A dermatologist can help you identify your triggers to control the outbreaks and recommend a skincare routine. Your dermatologist also might prescribe medication.
Psoriasis can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but your dermatologist can help you alleviate the symptoms. You don’t have to worry about this condition interfering with your life.