Topic Last Reviewed: August 2015
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis (sow RYE uh sis) is a chronic skin disease. Chronic means that it lasts a long time, often a lifetime. Psoriasis affects more than 5 million adults in the United States. It appears about equally in males and females.
Psoriasis occurs when the skin cells grow too quickly. The body does not shed these excess cells and they build up on the surface of the skin, forming thick, scaly patches.
Types of Psoriasis
Psoriasis occurs in five different forms that affect both men and women. Most people have only one type of psoriasis at a time. Sometimes, one type of psoriasis will disappear and another will appear. Here is a brief overview of the different forms of psoriasis.
- Is the most common form
- appears as raised red patches covered in silvery white scales
- usually shows up on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back
- patches may itch or be painful and can also crack and bleed.
- is the second most common form of psoriasis
- usually begins in childhood or early adulthood
- appears as small red spots on the skin.
- appears as red sores in body folds, such as the groin and under the breasts
- is more common in people who are overweight
- often occurs along with another form of psoriasis.
- features white blisters surrounded by red skin
- mainly affects adults
- may occur all over the body, but usually affects one area.
- is the rarest and most dangerous form of psoriasis
- is characterized by inflammation
- usually affects most of the body.