What Does a Psoriasis Rash Look Like?

Reviewed on 7/20/2021

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin rashes anywhere on the body, including the scalp, groin, skin folds, lower back, elbows, and knees. Psoriasis rashes typically look red, thick, scaly, and flaky. They can also appear as silvery-white scales or red spots.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes skin rashes anywhere on the body, including the scalp, groin, skin folds, lower back, elbows, and knees. Psoriasis rashes typically look red, thick, scaly, and flaky. They can also appear as silvery-white scales or red spots.

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that causes skin to be red, thick, scaly, and flaky. 

Psoriasis rashes can occur anywhere on the body, and commonly occur on the:

  • Scalp
  • Genitals
  • In skin folds (armpits, groin, behind the knees, under the breasts, under the buttocks)
  • Lower back
  • Elbows
  • Knees

Depending on the type of psoriasis, a psoriasis rash may look like: 

  • Patches of skin that are:
    • Thick, dry, red, or dark
    • With silvery-white scales that itch or burn
  • Dry, cracked skin that itches or bleeds
  • Fine scaling that looks like dandruff 
    • Looks powdery with a silvery sheen
  • Itchy, thick skin 
  • Patches of skin on the hands that look red or dark
  • Small, pus-filled blisters on reddened, tender skin on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
  • Red spots all over the body

Other symptoms of psoriasis may include:

  • Nail changes 
    • Pitted
    • Thick
    • Ridged
    • Crumbly
    • Different in color 
  • Emotional effects
  • Psoriatic arthritis
    • Occurs in some patients
    • Stiff, swollen, painful joints

What Is the Treatment for Psoriasis?

There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatments can relieve the symptoms. Treatment for psoriasis includes: 

  • Topical treatments, such as creams and ointments
    • Prescription topical treatments
    • Over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments
      • Salicylic Acid
      • Coal Tar
      • Fragrance-free moisturizers
      • Bath solutions such as oil, oatmeal, Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts
      • Scale lifters (keratolytics) usually contain an active ingredient of salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea, or phenol 
      • Coverings (occlusion) applied over topical treatments such as plastic wrap, cellophane, waterproof dressing, cotton socks or a nylon suit
      • Anti-itch treatments such as calamine, hydrocortisone, camphor, diphenhydramine hydrochloride (HCl), benzocaine, and menthol (may increase irritation and dryness)
      • Aloe vera, jojoba, zinc pyrithione, capsaicin and others may also help moisturize, soothe, remove scale, or relieve itching 
      • Castederm for inverse psoriasis to help dry moist plaques in the folds of the body
  • Phototherapy (light therapy)
  • Systemic treatments
    • Biologics and biosimilars
      • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors 
      • Interleukin 12 and 23 (IL-12, IL-23) inhibitors 
      • Interleukin 17 (IL-17) inhibitors 
      • Interleukin 23 (IL-23) 
      • T-cell inhibitors 
      • Biosimilars to adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab  
    • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) 
    • Traditional oral systemics
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

QUESTION

Psoriasis causes the top layer of skin cells to become inflamed and grow too quickly and flake off. See Answer

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Reviewed on 7/20/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/psoriasis-the-basics?search=psoriasis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.psoriasis.org/