Plaque Psoriasis Pictures
Plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis, affects about 4 million people in the United States. Check out 13 photos of this autoimmune condition.
Plaque Psoriasis “In the Flesh” Photos
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. It affects about 4 million people in the United States. (NIAMS, 2009).
Plaque psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that appears on the skin in patches of thick, red, scaly skin. It can affect anyone and is not contagious.
Plaque psoriasis can be a very itchy and sometimes painful condition. It also can be embarrassing and does not always respond to treatment. It sometimes misdiagnosed as other skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.
Diagnosing Plaque Psoriasis by Looking at the Skin
Most physicians and nurses can tell if a scaly or rough patch of skin is psoriasis, but sometimes a biopsy or a visit with a dermatologist is needed. Don’t attempt to treat or diagnose psoriasis without consulting with a doctor.
During a visit to diagnose plaque psoriasis, point out all of the abnormal patches of skin. Think about your symptoms and what seems to aggravate your skin. In addition, think about what may have happened prior to the appearance of the patches. For example, skin trauma, medication use, dry skin, and too much stress can trigger psoriasis.
Picturing Plaque Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis typically involves patches of rough, red skin and silvery-white scales. This is because the skin cells receive a signal to produce new skin cells too quickly. They build up and shed in scales and patches.
This buildup of skin causes the red and silvery patches, as well as pain and irritation. Scratching can lead to broken skin, bleeding, and infection.
The Least Pleasant View of Plaque Psoriasis
According to the National Institutes of Health, plaque psoriasis can be aggravated by dry weather, excessive sun exposure, certain lotions or skin creams, and other stressors to the skin, as well as by emotional stress (NIH, 2011). When the itching causes excessive scratching, the skin can be broken.
Open psoriasis patches can allow infection to enter the skin or the bloodstream. Signs of infection include:
- the leakage of pus
- swelling and redness in the area
- skin that is very sore
- a foul smell coming from the broken skin
- fever or fatigue
Seek medical care for a suspected psoriasis-related infection.
Patches and Patches of Plaque Psoriasis
The most commonly affected parts of the body include the elbows, knees, and scalp (NIH, 2009). Although most people with plaque psoriasis will develop patches in these areas, some people will have psoriasis patches on other areas of the body.
The location of plaque psoriasis can change as certain patches heal. New patches may appear in different locations during future attacks. Plaque psoriasis affects all people a bit differently, and no two people’s psoriasis will look the same.
Plaque Psoriasis and the Geography of the Body
As in this photo, the distribution of psoriasis patches on the body can appear random. Some patches cover large portions of the body, while others may be no larger than a dime.
Once a person has developed psoriasis, it may appear in a number of different forms in many different places on the body. Fortunately, plaque psoriasis does not often affect the genitals and armpits, like inverse psoriasis can.
Plaque Psoriasis and Its Reach: The Scalp and Beyond
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least 50 percent of individuals with plaque psoriasis will experience a bout of scalp psoriasis (AAD, 2012). Although symptoms are similar to other patches of plaque psoriasis, plaque psoriasis on the scalp may require different treatment.
Scalp psoriasis may be embarrassing, but it can often be covered with a scarf or hat and treated effectively with medicated ointments, shampoos, and careful removal of the scales. Sometimes, systemic medications must be used to clear plaque psoriasis on the scalp.
Pervasive Plaque Psoriasis Covering the Body
In some cases, plaque psoriasis can be very severe. It may cover the majority of the body. Although plaque psoriasis of this severity can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous if it becomes infected or progresses to other forms of psoriasis, even pervasive cases can sometimes be effectively treated.
Cases as severe as the one in this photograph will require a specialized treatment plan developed with a dermatologist. Oftentimes, prescription systemic medications will be necessary to treat severe plaque psoriasis.
Treating Your Plaque Psoriasis
The treatment of plaque psoriasis is different for everyone. Most dermatologists will start with the simplest and least invasive treatment. Initial treatments include:
- topical corticosteroids
- vitamin D preparations
- salicylic acid ointments
If these are ineffective, oral systemic medications, skin injections, light therapy, and other treatments may be recommended.
Topical skin treatments require diligent application and the careful avoidance of skin irritants. Treatments may be effective during one attack of psoriasis but not another.
Natural Skin Treatments for Plaque Psoriasis
Because it is a chronic condition, many people with plaque psoriasis feel frustrated and eventually try alternative and natural treatment methods. One method that has gained significant attention in the psoriasis community is the mud and salt of the Dead Sea.
Thousands of people a year invest in expensive Dead Sea skin treatments or vacations to attempt to heal their psoriasis. Although the scientific evidence is limited regarding the effectiveness of these treatments, the anecdotal verdict suggests they may help treat plaque psoriasis.
Light Treatment for Plaque Psoriasis
Light therapy is a common treatment for plaque psoriasis. Light therapy is a popular choice prior to systemic medications, partly because it is non-pharmaceutical, and partly because it is effective.
Although some people are able to achieve some healing of psoriasis through regular sun exposure, others fare better using a special light machine. Check with your dermatologist before attempting to treat your own psoriasis through exposure to sunlight so you don’t get excessive exposure. Too much sun exposure can burn your skin and make plaque psoriasis worse.
Healing and Remission for Plaque Psoriasis
Most people with psoriasis experience some healing with standardized, guided treatment. Although skin may never permanently be psoriasis-free, long periods of remission are possible.
As this photo indicates, skin healing from psoriasis will begin to return to normal thickness. Flakiness and shedding will slow and the redness will fade. Even if the treatment appears to have worked, it is important not to discontinue psoriasis treatment—especially an oral medication—without the guidance of a physician.
The Itchy, Scaly Truth About Plaque
As the photos show, plaque psoriasis is an unpleasant condition. Unfortunately, common misconceptions can make people with psoriasis feel isolated, unwelcome, and even ostracized. Anyone can develop psoriasis, but it is not spread from person to person.
Awareness and visibility are important for bringing psoriasis into the public eye. Do your part by sharing this slideshow with friends and family. Together we can help encourage research, advocacy, and a world that is more welcoming to people with psoriasis—no matter what it looks like.