Annular psoriasis describes skin symptoms of psoriasis that have ring-like rashes. Like other types of psoriasis, early identification and treatment can help relieve symptoms.

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Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition and autoimmune disease. It can cause flares of symptoms, with raised, scaly skin rashes among the most notable.

Annular psoriasis is a less common type of psoriasis that describes the appearance of the rash. In this case, “annular” means ring-shaped.

While annular lesions may be associated with various skin conditions, psoriasis-related versions are associated with either plaque or pustular psoriasis.

If you have a ring-shaped rash with or without a previous diagnosis of psoriasis, here’s what you need to know about annular psoriasis:

Annular psoriasis is notable for its ring-shaped rash. Unlike other types of psoriasis rashes, annular rashes surround a clear area of skin.

The exact color of the annular rash varies based on your skin tone. It may appear pink, salmon, or red on light to medium skin tones but violet-purple and dark brown on dark skin tones.

The color of the scales can also vary based on skin tone. Psoriasis may cause gray scales to develop on dark skin tones, while the scales may appear silvery-white on light skin tones.

If you have annular psoriasis, you will notice the ring-shaped edges and clear skin in the center of the rash, regardless of your natural skin tone.

The ring will likely be thick and scaly, which are generally both characteristics of psoriasis rashes. Annular rashes can itch and burn, with possible bleeding that occurs from scratching your skin.

Psoriasis is considered a chronic or lifelong condition. The symptoms, such as ring-shaped rashes, may come and go in periods of flares and periods of remission.

Plaque psoriasis may develop anywhere on the body, but scaly rashes are most common along your:

  • arms
  • elbows
  • chest
  • legs
  • knees
  • scalp

People with medium or dark skin tones may notice new lighter or darker areas of skin where psoriasis has cleared. These tend to resolve on their own within 3 to 12 months and are not considered scars.

Like other autoimmune diseases, psoriasis doesn’t have a single known cause.

However, it’s thought that psoriasis develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It can then be “triggered” by various sources, such as stress, infections, and certain medications.

Psoriasis causes your immune system to mistakenly attack your skin cells, resulting in them growing at a higher rate than normal. This results in the notorious scaly, inflamed rashes seen in psoriasis. If you have the annular subtype, then you may experience rashes in ring shapes.

Annular lesions associated with psoriasis are most often seen in plaque psoriasis, which is the most common form of psoriasis.

It’s not clear what may cause annular lesions over other types of rashes in plaque psoriasis. Still, it’s important to be aware of them so you can report any skin changes to a doctor immediately.

Psoriasis is believed to have a strong genetic component. If a close family member has psoriasis, you may have an increased risk of developing it, too.

Common triggers of annular psoriasis include stress, friction against the skin, and alcohol consumption.

Comorbidities — the presence of two or more conditions — are another consideration for plaque psoriasis. Common conditions seen in people with psoriasis include:

Annular psoriasis is usually diagnosed with a physical exam. Your symptoms, such as severe itching and pain, will also be considered.

A dermatologist can determine the cause of the annular rash based on other symptoms and risk factors. They may also ask about your personal and family history of autoimmune diseases.

Psoriasis doesn’t usually require a biopsy. However, a dermatologist might consider one if they are trying to tell if you have psoriasis or another skin disorder.

Despite its appearance, the treatment for annular psoriasis is similar to plaque psoriasis.

As a rule of thumb, a doctor will start with topical psoriasis treatment options first before moving on to other treatment methods.

Possible treatments for annular psoriasis include:

  • Topical steroids: These are applied directly to psoriasis skin patches and work by reducing inflammation. Topical steroids are generally effective in mild cases of annular psoriasis or in which less than 5% of your body is affected.
  • Topical vitamin D3: Calcipotriene (Dovonex) and calcitriol (Vectical) are two options of topical vitamin D that may help reduce skin cell overgrowth and remove excess skin cells.
  • Phototherapy: Also called “light therapy,” this psoriasis treatment works by using UVB rays in a clinical setting to directly target skin cells and prevent their overgrowth.
  • Oral steroids: If topical steroids can’t manage your symptoms or if you have a more severe case of annular psoriasis, a doctor may prescribe oral steroids. However, these are for short-term use only. There’s also a risk of flares after you stop taking these medications.
  • Biologics: Typically used for moderate or severe psoriasis, biologics can potentially provide relief from symptoms when other methods don’t work. These work by targeting specific parts of your immune system to reduce overactivity. Several biologics are now approved for psoriasis treatment. Some examples include adalimumab (Humira), guselkumab (Tremfya), and risankizumab (Skyrizi).

What should you not put on psoriasis?

If you have psoriasis, it can be helpful to avoid anything likely to irritate the skin, such as hot water, fragrances, and lotions containing alcohol.

Can you ever completely get rid of psoriasis?

There’s currently no cure for psoriasis, so you cannot completely get rid of the condition. But there are several treatment options to help relieve symptoms and put your condition into remission. These include topical steroids and light therapy.

What happens if psoriasis is left untreated?

If psoriasis is left untreated, it can lead to a worsening of symptoms, such as increased pain and itchiness.

Annular psoriasis is a subtype of plaque psoriasis. It’s named for its ring-shaped rashes with clear centers.

While the appearance of annular rashes may vary from more classic plaque psoriasis symptoms, the causes and treatments are largely the same.

If you’ve developed an annular skin rash and are concerned about its potential links with psoriasis, consider talking with a dermatologist. They can help confirm whether it’s related to psoriasis and offer treatments that can reduce symptoms.