What Does Inverse Psoriasis Look Like?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects your skin. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your body. In the case of psoriasis, your skin cells multiply too quickly. The “revved up” life cycle of skin cells causes a variety of symptoms that you’ll see on your skin. The symptoms range from scaly, silvery lesions and red patches to areas of pus-filled sores. The symptoms depend on the type of psoriasis you have. Inverse psoriasis is one type of psoriasis.
What Is Inverse Psoriasis?
Inverse psoriasis is a form of the disease that affects skin folds. Skin folds are areas of your body where skin rubs against skin, such as under your arms, under a woman’s breasts, or in the groin or inner thigh area.
Inverse psoriasis is also called intertriginous psoriasis. People who have inverse psoriasis often have another form of the disease, such as plaque psoriasis, on other parts of their body. While raised lesions of dry, scaly skin—the hallmark sign of plaque psoriasis—often covers large sections of your body, inverse psoriasis tends to be limited to smaller patches.
What Does Inverse Psoriasis Look Like?
Inverse psoriasis is known for its red, shiny, smooth rash. Unlike the scales, pustular spots, and crusting skin associated with other forms of psoriasis, the rash caused by inverse psoriasis is neither raised nor dry. Inflamed patches of skin are moist to the touch. You may feel irritation, itching, or both in areas that are affected by inverse psoriasis. You’re also more likely to develop a yeast infection in the skin folds due to the moist environment. The red lesions generally cover very large areas within your skin folds.
Causes of Inverse Psoriasis
Inverse psoriasis is caused by an abnormality in your immune system, just like other autoimmune diseases. However, moisture (in the form of sweating) and friction are secondary causes of this particular type of psoriasis. If you’ve got psoriasis and are overweight, you’re more likely to develop inverse psoriasis. The extra body weight produces excess skin and deeper skin folds.
Topical creams and ointments, which are types of medication that you rub into your skin, are the first-line treatment method for inverse psoriasis. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and discomfort in these sensitive areas of skin. Because the skin folds are so sensitive, medications must be used carefully. Steroid creams can successfully reduce inflammation, but can also cause the skin to become thinner and more sensitive. If you’re prescribed a topical treatment, your doctor will monitor your progress and adjust the dosage if there are signs of skin thinning. You’ll usually use topical medicines in the morning after you shower and once again before bedtime.
Phototherapy is a treatment option for people with moderate to severe inverse psoriasis. Phototherapy is the medical term for light therapy. A form of ultraviolet light called UVB rays can effectively slow the growth of skin cells in some people with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF). Treatment with phototherapy involves using a light box that produces artificial UVB rays for a specified amount of time each session. The NPF notes that, with phototherapy, your psoriasis might temporarily worsen before it gets better. Let your doctor know of any concerns about your rashes during light therapy treatment.
If your inverse psoriasis isn’t getting better with topical medications and phototherapy, your doctor might prescribe biologic drugs. A biologic is a type of medication that changes the way your immune system works. Biologics use proteins to block the response of your immune system so it won’t attack your body as much. If biologics are used as a treatment, your healthcare provider will give you an injection or intravenous infusion of biologic drugs on a regular schedule. You might also be directed to continue with phototherapy or topical treatments at the same time.
Inverse psoriasis can be uncomfortable and may make you self-conscious about your appearance. Take steps to increase your comfort levels, both physically and emotionally. Wear clothing that lets your skin breathe. Cotton and other natural fibers are soft against the skin. Loose tops won’t rub against your sore skin and can help prevent moisture from getting trapped in your skin folds. You can also powder your affected areas to absorb excess perspiration. Try out different styles of dress to determine what works best for you as you treat the condition.
- Image: Inverse psoriasis. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 4, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical/IM04200
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