Your Ultimate Guide to Psoriasis: Causes, Types, and Treatment


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects approximately 7.4 million people in the United States.  It is characterized by a buildup of skin cells with scale on the skin’s surface and bright red inflammatory plaques.

Psoriasis patches typically appear silvery-white with scales on patients with both dark and light skin, although the patches may appear darker brown or purplish on dark skin and red or pink on light skin. These patches are often itchy and may crack or bleed.

Read on as we dive deeper into psoriasis, to help you have a better understanding of this chronic skin condition.

What causes psoriasis patches?

Psoriasis patches are caused when the skin production process becomes accelerated and inflammatory cells move into the dermis (skin). Traditionally, skin cells replace themselves approximately every 27 days, however, the skin cells in those with psoriasis often replace themselves within just a few days. This sped-up process does not allow for old skin cells to fall away from the skin thus causing skin cells to build on top of one another, creating patches of rough, scaly skin.  

What are the different types of psoriasis?

The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which accounts for over 80% of cases. Plaque psoriasis appears as red to purplish plaques or patches on the skin with silvery-white or gray scales. These patches commonly appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, belly button, and upper buttocks but may appear almost anywhere!.

Other types of psoriasis include:

  • Inverse psoriasis: Psoriasis patches in this condition appear red or purple, but have a soft mushy white scale instead. Unlike plaque psoriasis, which often appears on the joints, inverse psoriasis typically appears in folds of the skin such as beneath the breasts, in the armpits, or in the creases of the groin. 
  • Guttate psoriasis: This type of psoriasis commonly appears during childhood and affects approximately 8% of those with the condition. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by very small, circular spots on the torso or limbs. 
  • Pustular psoriasis: Pustular psoriasis appears similar to plaque psoriasis, but patches also contain white to yellow pustules. 
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis: This type of psoriasis is rare, but very serious because it may disrupt the body’s fluid balance and regulation of temperature. This may lead to shivering, severe itching or burning, rapid heart rate, and severe redness or discoloration over a large portion of the body. If you experience a flare-up of this type of psoriasis, you need to seek medical treatment immediately.

Your dermatologist can help you identify which type of psoriasis you may be experiencing.

How do you treat psoriasis?

Although psoriasis is a chronic skin condition, there are many treatments available from your dermatologist to help clear up your skin and alleviate itching and discomfort. Mahoney Dermatology Specialists is the local dermatologist that Pinellas residents trust for Cutting edge treatment of psoriasis.  Treatment options include many different topical preparations, ultraviolet light therapy, and oral or injectable medications for psoriasis relief.

If you’re seeking further information regarding dermatologist-recommended treatments for psoriasis, contact Mahoney Dermatology to learn more about our skincare services today.