Mild psoriasis refers to symptoms that don’t affect more than 5% of your body surface. That is, up to five times the size of your palm. Its appearance and management may vary depending on the type of psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that involves patches of skin that may be itchy, painful, or both.

You’re most likely to develop psoriasis on your scalp, elbows, knees, or torso, but it may also affect other areas of your body. It may not be mild if it affects small but sensitive areas, such as your face, hands, or genitals.

Mild plaque psoriasis on the elbowShare on Pinterest
Plaque psoriasis causes raised scaly patches that may affect both sides of your body. (DaveBolton/Getty Images)

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 80–90% of people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. Healthcare professionals typically consider it mild if it affects about 3–5% of your body surface or less.

Plaque psoriasis causes raised, scaly patches of skin that may affect both sides of your body in a roughly symmetrical pattern. For example, you might develop plaques on both of your elbows or both of your knees.

If you have light skin, the plaques may appear pink or red with silvery-white scales. If you have dark skin, the plaques may look purple, grayish, or dark brown.

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Guttate psoriasis manifests as tiny raised bumps. (Photography courtesy of Gzzz/Wikimedia)

Guttate psoriasis affects roughly 8% of people with psoriasis. Healthcare professionals generally consider it mild if it affects 3% of your body surface or less.

Guttate psoriasis causes small, raised lesions or bumps that may appear round or teardrop-shaped. These lesions are known as papules. They are sometimes scaly and may be surrounded by inflamed skin.

The papules may look pink or red on light skin. They may appear more purple, grayish, or dark brown on dark skin.

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Pustular psoriasis causes small pus-filled bumps. (puha dorin/Shutterstock)

Pustular psoriasis affects about 3% of people with psoriasis. It’s generally considered mild if it affects about 3–5% of your body surface or less.

However, pustular psoriasis often affects larger areas of skin or particularly sensitive areas, such as your palms or the soles of your feet.

Pustular psoriasis may be considered more severe if it affects sensitive areas, like your face or genitals, even if it only covers 3% of your body surface or less.

Pustular psoriasis causes small pus-filled bumps known as pustules. They may appear white or yellow. They may also be surrounded by inflamed skin, which may look pink, red, purple, grayish, or dark brown, depending on your skin tone.

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Mild scalp psoriasis can cause fine scaling, which appears dandruff-like. (Ternavskaia Olga Alibec/Shutterstock)

Scalp psoriasis affects roughly half of people with psoriasis. It may affect your scalp and hairline, as well as the skin on your forehead, back of your neck, or around your ears.

Mild scalp psoriasis typically causes fine scaling that resembles dandruff or fine powder. The scales are often silver-white in color. More severe forms of scalp psoriasis may appear as raised, crusty plaques.

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Nail psoriasis changes nail color and texture. (Linda Woods/Getty Images)

Nail psoriasis can cause changes in the color and texture of your fingernails or toenails. Healthcare professionals may consider it mild if it affects only one or two nails, with no severe symptoms.

Nail psoriasis may cause the affected nails to appear yellow, particularly near the tips. It may also lead to small pits, oil spots, dents, or ridges in your nails or a crumbly nail texture.

Mild psoriasis in this area may also cause the affected nails to separate from the nail beds. You might notice small lines of blood under the affected nails.

Psoriatic arthritis affects roughly 30% of people with psoriasis. It’s more common in people with severe psoriasis, but it can also affect those with mild skin or nail symptoms. Some people develop psoriatic arthritis with no known history of skin or nail symptoms.

Psoriatic arthritis causes chronic joint inflammation. Common symptoms include:

  • joint swelling
  • joint stiffness
  • generalized pain

It can affect any joint in your body, including the joints in your spine.

Some people with psoriatic arthritis develop dactylitis, which causes entire fingers or toes to swell. This can give your fingers or toes a sausage-like appearance.

The condition can also cause enthesitis, or inflammation at sites where tendons attach to bone. This may cause swelling in your heel, the bottom of your foot, or areas where tendons attach to bone.

If you have mild psoriasis symptoms on your skin, scalp, or nails, a healthcare professional will likely prescribe topical therapy. For example, they may prescribe a medicated ointment, cream, or shampoo.

Some over-the-counter treatments may also help relieve mild psoriasis. These include products that contain low doses of corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone cream. Products that contain coal tar may also help relieve symptoms, although some people find coal tar irritating.

Applying non-medicated moisturizer to your skin and nails may also help reduce itching and discomfort.

If your symptoms become more widespread or bothersome, you may need to visit a healthcare professional again. They may adjust your treatment plan to include oral medication, injected medication, or other treatments.

Mild psoriasis typically causes skin symptoms that affect no more than 3–5% of your body surface.

Mild symptoms of psoriasis may develop anywhere in the body, including scalp, nails, joints, or a combination of these.

It’s possible for mild cases of psoriasis to become more severe.

Treatment is available and effective to manage discomfort and prevent complications.