The first signs of psoriasis usually show up on your skin, presenting as scaly skin plaques. Depending on the type of psoriasis, you can also develop rashes, raised patches of skin, discoloration, and pustules.

Skin rashes, plaques, and scales resulting from psoriasis tend to be extremely itchy, similar to eczema (atopic dermatitis). They can also sting, burn, or feel painful.

On skin with less pigment, red to silver skin patches are trademark signs of this condition. Psoriasis on darker skin typically appears as purple or dark brown patches with gray scales.

Learn more about the early symptoms of psoriasis and how these might look and feel in different psoriasis subtypes.

Plaque psoriasis causes raised patches of skin that may be red, purple, or silver in color. This is the most common type of psoriasis, making up about 80% to 90% of all cases.

In the beginning stages, you might notice a raised area of skin that’s inflamed (swollen) and itchy.

This type of psoriasis causes small red or purple spots on your skin. It tends to appear suddenly, and it may come and go without treatment.

You might notice that these round spots first develop around your torso, arms, or legs. Later on, they’ll spread to other parts of your body.

Unlike the raised scales of plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis causes smooth red to purple rashes.

Rashes tend to develop under skin folds such as your underarm, genital, or breast areas. You may notice pain and discomfort that gets worse after sweating in the affected areas of skin.

Pustular psoriasis causes painful bumps filled with pus to develop in unusual areas of the body, such as your hands and feet. They can also develop thick scales on top. As the pustules heal, brown spots or scales may be left in their place.

This type of psoriasis may be mistaken for pustular acne lesions in its early stages because they both cause inflamed and painful bumps filled with pus.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare and life threatening type of psoriasis. This condition causes significant shedding, where you experience a loss of skin layers in large pieces.

It may resemble a significant widespread burn affecting much of the body’s surface. Other early symptoms include intense pain and itching, along with dehydration, muscle weakness, and increased heart rate. If you think you have this form of psoriasis, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.

Nail psoriasis often develops after another subtype and is seen in roughly half of people with psoriasis.

Early signs include discolored, dented, and crumbling nails. The affected nails may eventually lift off their nail beds.

If you have psoriasis, there’s a chance that this inflammatory condition may eventually affect your joints, too. If this happens, it’s called psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Early signs of PsA include heel pain, along with swollen and painful fingers and toes. Symptoms may be worse in the morning.

While the exact symptoms of psoriasis may vary based on subtype, this condition often leads to areas of inflamed skin that may be red or purple in color and scaly in texture. These rashes may also feel itchy and painful.

If you have any new skin symptoms that don’t ease with time, see a healthcare professional. They can accurately diagnose whether it’s psoriasis or another skin condition.