The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, although malfunctions in the immune system may play a role in the disease. Treatments may help to improve symptoms, although there is no cure for psoriasis.

Appearance of the Skin

Skin affected by psoriasis may appear with red patches with silvery plaques covering the skin. This is attributed to the buildup of dead skin cells. The overproduction of skin cells is associated with psoriasis. New skin cells move to the surface quicker than normal and dead skin cells are not shed quick enough and build up on the surface.

Dryness, cracking, bleeding, itching burning and soreness are also associated with psoriasis. Children with psoriasis may experience small scaly spots.

Other Symptoms

Patients may also notice thick, pitted or ridged nails. Swollen, stiff joints have also been attributed to psoriasis.

Types of Psoriasis

Depending on the type of psoriasis, symptoms may differ. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis and is characterized by red patches (plaques) covered by silvery scales. Nail psoriasis affects the nails, while scalp psoriasis appears on the scalp. Patients suffering from scalp psoriasis may notice flakes of skin in their hair or on their shoulders.

Guttate psoriasis usually affects patients under 30 and is characterized by sores on the arms, trunk, arms legs and scalp. It is commonly triggered by strep throat. Inverse psoriasis affects the armpits, skin under the breast and around the genitals. It is most common in overweight individuals and is worsened by sweating and/or fatigue.

Pustular psoriasis is a rare form of the disease and is associated with pus filled blisters. Blisters usually go away within a couple of days, but may return after a couple of days or weeks. Erythrodermic psoriasis covers the entire body with a red rash that peels.

It may itch and burn as well. Sunburn, corticosteroids and other types of poorly treated psoriasis may trigger the condition. This is the least common type of psoriasis.

Psoriatic arthritis may cause pitted, discolored nails in addition to inflamed, scaly skin. Joint pain and swollen joints are also symptoms. It may also cause conjunctivitis.

For more information about these symptoms and the different types of psoriasis, consult a licensed physician or skincare professional.