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Types of Psoriasis

Types of Psoriasis Overview

Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the skin that affects approximately 5.5 million people in the United States. Typical psoriasis appears as red, dry, elevated plaques of skin. There are other less common clinical forms of psoriasis. Psoriasis is not contagious and is often inherited. A brief overview of each type of psoriasis is provided below.

Plaque-Type Psoriasis

Plaque-type psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. Approximately, nine out of 10 people with psoriasis have plaques. The disease begins with a small scaling red bump that coalesces with other similar bumps to form an elevated plaque of red skin that is covered with silvery scales. Circular- to oval-shaped red plaques that sometimes itch or burn are typical of plaque psoriasis. The plaques usually are found on the elbows, knees, trunk, or scalp, but they may be found on any part of the skin. Most plaques of psoriasis are persistent (they stay for years and do not tend to come and go).

Picture of plaque psoriasis on a leg
Picture of plaque psoriasis on a leg. Image courtesy of Hon Pak, MD.

Picture of plaque psoriasis on an abdomen
Picture of plaque psoriasis on an abdomen. Image courtesy of Hon Pak, MD.
Last Reviewed 11/20/2017

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Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs

Plaque psoriasis, the most common form, usually produces plaques of red, raised, scaly skin affecting the scalp, elbows, and knees. The plaques may itch or burn.

The flare-ups can last for weeks or months. Psoriasis can spontaneously resolve only to return later (chronic).

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Psoriasis is a chronic, noncontagious, multisystem, inflammatory disorder.

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