Is That Rash Psoriasis? Psoriasis Pictures and More (2023)


From white blisters to red and scaly patches, psoriasis skin rashes come in several different forms. How do you know if you have psoriasis or a similar-looking skin condition?

Is That Rash Psoriasis? Psoriasis Pictures and More (1)

ByChris Iliades, MDMedically Reviewed byRoss Radusky, MD


Medically Reviewed

(Video) Psoriasis: More than just a rash
Is That Rash Psoriasis? Psoriasis Pictures and More (2)

Psoriasis can resemble other irritating skin conditions.

Psoriasisis an autoimmune disease thought to be caused by an immune system dysfunction. If you have psoriasis, your immune system sends signals to your skin that speed up the production of skin cells. While there are signs and symptoms that set the disease apart from other conditions affecting the skin, it isn’t always easy to distinguish it at first.

About 7.5 million people in the United States havepsoriasis, which causes itchy, scaly patches of thick, red, dry skin called plaques. Psoriasis plaques can consist of a few spots of dandruff-like scales or major eruptions that cover large areas. While the disease can affect any part of your body, it most often surfaces on the scalp, elbows, knees, back, face, palms, and feet.

There are five types of psoriasis — plaque psoriasis,guttate psoriasis, pustularpsoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and erythrodermic psoriasis — none of which is contagious. Each type causes a differentskin rashand can appear on different areas of the body. Plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris, is the most common type. As many as 90 percent of people with psoriasis have this form. Guttate psoriasis is the second most common type. Far less common is pustular psoriasis, which is characterized by pus-filled bumps known as pustules, and erythrodermic psoriasis, a very serious form of the disease that affects about 3 percent of people with psoriasis.

It’s unclear what exactly causes psoriasis, thoughgenetic factorshave a lot to do with whether you’ll develop the chronic skin condition.

Psoriasis symptoms typically respond to treatment. Most psoriasis therapies aim to stop skin cells from growing so quickly and to smooth out the skin. But the disease may never go away completely, and it tends to come back.Treatment optionscan includetopical corticosteroids and biologic drugs. Another option is light therapy, or phototherapy, in which targeted light rays are delivered to the skin.

Because psoriasis can look like other skin conditions that cause scaly patches and itchy rashes with inflammation, it is often confused with various disorders. These may include common skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or heat rash. Psoriasis can also resembleand be confused with the fungal infection known as ringworm.

Most of the time, psoriasis can be diagnosed with a physical examination. However, a skin biopsy may be needed to rule out other possibilities and arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

Do you know how to spot psoriasis symptoms? Here are some things you can look out for.

(The images that follow are of real medical conditions and may, in some cases, be graphic.)

Plaque Psoriasis: Red Bumps and Silvery Scales

Is That Rash Psoriasis? Psoriasis Pictures and More (3)

Plaque psoriasisis the most common form of the chronicskin condition, affecting about 80 percent of people with psoriasis. Usually starting as small red bumps on the skin, plaque psoriasis (pictured) develops into red patches with a silvery, scaly coating — these raised patches are called plaques. Plaques usually show up on elbows, knees, and the lower back, and they can last for months or even years without treatment.

(Video) Psoriasis: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Pathology, and Treatment, Animation

Guttate Psoriasis: Small Red Spots

Is That Rash Psoriasis? Psoriasis Pictures and More (4)

Guttate psoriasis(pictured) — the second most common type of psoriasis — is characterized by multiple small, round red spots on the skin, usually widespread across the trunk and limbs. Often resulting from a bacterial or viral infectionin children, such as strep throat, these spots come on suddenly and sometimes require oral medication or injections. Mild cases, however, may clear up without treatment.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Itchy, Scaly Patches

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A psoriasis skin rash tends to itch, burn, and feel sore. Patches of psoriasis commonly occur on your knees and elbows. Many people also have scalp psoriasis. The common skin rash seborrheic dermatitis (pictured) also causes scaly, itchy skin patches. It can occur on your scalp, where it may be called dandruff, or on your face and chest. While doctors don't know the exact cause of seborrhea, it occurs across the age spectrum, in babies as well as in adults, and is usually treated with creams and lotions.

Pityriasis Rosea: Cold-Like Symptoms

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(Video) Psoriasis: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment | Merck Manual Consumer Version

Pityriasis rosea (pictured) causes a red skin rash that is scaly and can look like guttate psoriasis. This skin rash is common in children and young adults. It often begins withcold-like symptomsand is followed by red, scaly, and sometimesitchyoval-shaped patches that appear on your back or abdomen. Like psoriasis, this skin rash is not contagious. Doctors do not know the exact cause, but pityriasis rosea may be due to a viral or bacterial infection. You can take medication to relieve the itching, and the rash should go away after a few weeks to months. And unlike psoriasis, this skin rash rarely comes back.

Eczema: Red, Itchy, Irritated Skin

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Like psoriasis,eczema(pictured) is a chronic skin condition that often causes intense itching. Scratching causes redness and inflammation of the skin, leading to a worsening of the eczema. Scratching can also cause a secondary bacterial infection. The most common type of eczema is caused by a reaction to irritants like detergents, soaps, or household cleansers. So if you have eczema, you should be careful to use mild soap and regularly moisturize your sensitive skin. Your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream or other medications if eczema is severe.

Acne: Blocked Pores That Lead to Pimples

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Some forms of psoriasis appear as pus-filled blisters that may be confused with pimples. Pustular psoriasis forms white blisters that are filled with pus and surrounded by red skin. Far more common than psoriasis,acne(pictured) also causes a pus-filledpimpleeruption. However — unlike psoriasis — acne is caused by excess oil, blocked pores, and bacteria. Acne is common in teens and young adults and occurs on the face, neck, back, or chest. Pustular psoriasis is usually seen in adults and can occur anywhere on the body, but less likely on the face.

RELATED: 7 Easy Home Remedies for Acne

Measles: A Facial Rash That Can Cover the Body

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Like guttate psoriasis,measles(pictured) also follow symptoms of an upper respiratory infection in children and cause a skin rash of small, red spots. However, the measles skin rash usually starts on the face and spreads down to cover the body and is accompanied by fever, cough, and a runny nose. Measles rash is also flat, while the rash of psoriasis is typically raised. Measles is caused by a virus and is contagious, though the measles vaccination has made this a rare disease in the United States.

Shingles: A Rash and Severe Pain That Lingers

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Shingles(pictured) is another viral infection that shares some symptoms with psoriasis. Like psoriasis, shingles can make your skin burn and itch and produces a red, blistered skin rash. Shingles is caused by the same virus that first brings onchickenpox. The virus stays in your body and can come back years later to cause shingles, especially during times of stress or infection. The skin rash of shingles follows the course of a single nerve, usually on the trunk. In some cases, severe pain lasts long after the burning, itchy rash disappears. Shingles is more common in people over age 50.

Ringworm: Fungal Infections of the Skin and Nails

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Tinea is a type of fungal infection that resembles some symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis can cause the thick fingernails symptomatic of fungal nail infections, and both can cause red, itchy skin rashes. When tinea grows on your skin, it can cause a scaly, red skin rash that clears in the middle, calledringworm(pictured). Fungal infections of the skin and nails can be hard to treat. Antifungal medications work, but you may need to take them for a long time.

RELATED: How to Prevent and Treat Toenail and Foot Fungus

(Video) Psoriatic Arthritis, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Heat Rash: Sweating That Leads to Bumpy, Red Skin

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Inverse psoriasisis a type of psoriasis that forms in the armpits and skin folds under breasts or in groin areas, making the skin red and shiny.Sweatingmakes this type of psoriasis worse. Heat rash (pictured) also makes your skin red and forms in skin folds of the groin, breasts, and armpits. Heat rash occurs in hot, humid conditions. Sweating can cause your pores to get blocked and result in a bumpy, red skin rash that stings. Heat rash is more common in newborns, but can also affect older children and adults.

Dry, Cracked Skin: Irritation That Can Lead to Infection

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Dry, cracked skin is a psoriasis symptom. However, dry air can also cause your skin to becomedry and itchy. When the skin is dry and irritated (pictured), it's more likely to get infected. Infection may cause your skin to become red and swollen. If you have any skin rashes that keep coming back or won't go away, see your doctor. Most cases of psoriasis can be diagnosed with a physical examination; but because psoriasis can look like many other skin conditions, askin biopsy may have to be done to definitively diagnose it.


What does a psoriasis rash look like? ›

A plaque psoriasis rash looks like raised patches of thick, inflamed skin. On light skin, it looks red and scaly, often with a layer of silver on top. On skin with more pigment, the plaques look purple, gray, or darker brown and tend to be thicker.

What does psoriasis psoriasis look like? ›

Plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis, causes dry, raised skin patches (plaques) covered with gray or silver scales. It may look different depending on your skin color, ranging from pink on white skin to brown or gray on brown or Black skin. You may have just a few plaques or many.

What triggers psoriasis rash? ›

an injury to your skin, such as a cut, scrape, insect bite or sunburn – this is called the Koebner response. drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. smoking. stress.

How do I get rid of psoriasis rash? ›

Steroid creams or ointments (topical corticosteroids) are commonly used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis in most areas of the body. The treatment works by reducing inflammation. This slows the production of skin cells and reduces itching. Topical corticosteroids range in strength from mild to very strong.

What is the best cream for psoriasis? ›

  • Curél Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer. This product is activated by water and designed to be used on freshly-showered skin. ...
  • Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Treatment Gel. ...
  • Gold Bond: Multi-Symptom Psoriasis Relief Cream. ...
  • MG217 Medicated Salicylic Acid Cream. ...
  • Medovie 3HX All-Natural Plant-Rich Derma Cream.
Jun 4, 2019

Does psoriasis rash go away? ›

Most forms of psoriasis typically go through phases. During a flare, symptoms may become more severe for a while, but then they may improve or disappear for a time. Psoriasis is a life-long condition, but people can usually manage it effectively with over-the-counter treatments and medication.

Where does psoriasis usually start? ›

They usually appear on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp. The patches vary in color, depending on skin color. The affected skin might heal with temporary changes in color (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation), particularly on brown or Black skin.

What food should psoriasis patients avoid? ›

With psoriasis, it's important to avoid foods that can trigger inflammation.
Foods to avoid include:
  • wheat and wheat derivatives.
  • rye, barley, and malt.
  • pasta, noodles, and baked goods containing wheat, rye, barley, and malt.
  • certain processed foods.
  • certain sauces and condiments.
  • beer and malt beverages.

Where does psoriasis look like? ›

Patches of thick raised skin covered with silvery scale form. These patches usually appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, or lower back — but they can develop anywhere on the skin.

What stops psoriasis from spreading? ›

Topical steroids. Also known as corticosteroids, these are some of the most common medications for mild to moderate psoriasis. Topical means you apply the medication to your skin. Topical steroids are available as an ointment, cream, lotion, gel, foam, spray, solution, or shampoo.

Which body area is most commonly affected by psoriasis? ›

The most common areas of the body affected by the lesions include the elbows, knees, scalp, umbilicus, and lumbar region. Less frequently, psoriatic lesions can occur on the nails (23–27%), face (49%), palms and soles (12–16%), or in intertriginous regions (21–30%).

What are 3 symptoms of psoriasis? ›

What are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
  • Rashes or patches of red, inflamed skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales; in severe cases, the plaques will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
  • Itchy, painful skin that can crack or bleed.
  • Small areas of bleeding where the involved skin is scratched.
Jan 17, 2022

What foods cure psoriasis fast? ›

Foods to Eat if You Have Psoriasis
  1. Fish, lean protein or plant-based proteins such as tofu or tempeh.
  2. Fruits and vegetables.
  3. Legumes (beans and lentils)
  4. Nuts and seeds.
  5. Olive oil.
  6. Small amounts of low-fat dairy.
  7. Whole grains.

Does Vaseline help psoriasis? ›

Is Vaseline good for psoriasis? Thick and oily emollients like Vaseline are good for skin with psoriasis. In fact, research from 2021 shows they can help protect the skin's barrier function.

What is the best over the counter medicine for psoriasis? ›

Hydrocortisone creams and ointments. You can buy a mild corticosteroid like hydrocortisone without a prescription. For a few small patches of psoriasis, a mild hydrocortisone works well. If you have more than a few small patches, you'll likely need a prescription corticosteroid to see results.

Is Dove bar soap good for psoriasis? ›

Protect your skin by: Avoiding harsh skin products. For example, use a mild soap (such as Dove, Basis, or Neutrogena) instead of deodorant soaps or other harsh soaps (such as Camay, Lava, or Zest). Avoid lotions that contain alcohol, which can dry the skin and make psoriasis worse.

What makes psoriasis worse? ›

Common triggers for psoriasis include stress, illness (particularly strep infections), injury to the skin, and certain medications.

Does cortizone cream help psoriasis? ›

Hydrocortisone skin treatments can be used to treat swelling, itching and irritation. They can help with the symptoms of: eczema. psoriasis.

Does psoriasis rash spread? ›

Psoriasis isn't contagious. This means it doesn't spread to other people. Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Normal skin cells grow deep in the skin and rise to the surface about once a month.

What heals psoriasis naturally? ›

The following are nine home remedies that have shown some promising results in providing relief for psoriasis symptoms and may provide some benefit to you.
  • Warm baths. ...
  • Aloe vera. ...
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  • Turmeric (curcumin) ...
  • Oregon grape. ...
  • Maintaining a moderate weight. ...
  • Using a humidifier. ...
  • Stress-relieving activities.
Oct 13, 2022

How can you tell the difference between a rash and psoriasis? ›

While heat rash typically appears as small, itchy bumps on the skin, inverse psoriasis typically shows up as smooth, sometimes shiny, patches of skin that can appear purplish or brown in deeper skin tones or bright red in lighter skin tones, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

What is the best vitamin for psoriasis? ›

Biotin (B-7) and B12 have been found to help improve the symptoms of psoriasis.

What drinks are good for psoriasis? ›

Drinking water may help to reduce psoriatic skin symptoms, at least to some degree. Moreover, people with psoriasis should avoid sugary beverages like sodas and even fruit juices. Too much dietary sugar, especially refined sugars, has been linked with an increased inflammatory response.

Is Egg good for psoriasis? ›

Eggs contain a polyunsaturated fatty acid called arachidonic acid that has been shown to be a trigger for psoriasis symptoms, so they would generally not be considered good for psoriasis. In addition to eggs, other foods may also trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms, such as: Red meat. Dairy.

How often should you shower with psoriasis? ›

Showering or bathing too often can increase the amount of moisture you lose through your skin, making it dry and irritated. “It can make already inflamed skin feel even worse,” says Dr. Unwala. She suggests bathing once a day and limiting baths to no more than 15 minutes and showers to 5 minutes.

Does Benadryl help with psoriasis? ›

Conclusions. Antihistamines of the first and second generations seem to be effective in reducing itch in patients with psoriasis, albeit the antipruritic effect is rather moderate.

Can touching psoriasis make it spread? ›

Myth #3: Itching your skin will cause psoriasis to spread. Psoriasis isn't a skin infection and can't be spread through touching or itching. However, a person can develop the Koebner phenomenon. This is the appearance of new skin lesions on areas of trauma, such as scratches or cuts.

What organ does psoriasis affect? ›

Psoriasis is a skin disease that results from a faulty immune system. Instead of only targeting viruses and bacteria, your immune system turns on healthy tissue. It attacks your skin, which speeds up how quickly your skin cells multiply. Skin usually takes a month to grow and fall off.

Does psoriasis make you tired? ›

What is clear is that many people who have psoriasis say they feel exhausted. Some people say the constant fatigue, which can interfere with everyday life, is one of the most troublesome symptoms of psoriasis.

Can psoriasis affect private parts? ›

If you have psoriasis on or around your genitals, you have genital psoriasis. Many people who have psoriasis will have a flare in this area. Even children get genital psoriasis. As embarrassing as this may feel, it is important to tell your dermatologist if you have psoriasis on (or around) your genitals.

Is psoriasis a serious disease? ›

Your skin can peel off in large, red sheets. It's painful and itchy. It can be deadly and it needs medical care right away. Another type, called pustular psoriasis, has a version that also can be an emergency.

Do bananas help with psoriasis? ›

Bananas and their peels may be beneficial to people living with psoriasis. Applying the peels to the skin may provide some benefits, such as antioxidants, moisture, and an anti-inflammatory effect.

Does apple cider vinegar good for psoriasis? ›

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) may help to alleviate itching or irritation caused by psoriasis due to its natural antiseptic properties. It's also thought to rebalance the skin's pH to improve your skin's natural protective barrier ( 3 ).

Does coffee affect psoriasis? ›

Among the positive effects, coffee has anti-oxidative properties that may help quell inflammation1; topical caffeine has been used for the psoriasis treatment2; and coffee intake may improve the efficacy of methotrexate and sulfasalazine for psoriasis treatment.

Will taking vitamin D help psoriasis? ›

Vitamin D treatment is effective when applied topically to the skin for plaque-type psoriasis. Oral vitamin D supplementation might be effective as an adjuvant treatment option in psoriasis.

What oil gets rid of psoriasis? ›

Tea tree oil, chamomile, and bergamot oil are examples of essential oils from plants that people have used to manage psoriasis. In particular, many non-prescription commercial skin products contain tea tree oil. It is available in shampoos that some people use for scalp psoriasis, for example.

Should you put lotion on psoriasis? ›

Do moisturize. Dry skin is more susceptible to outbreaks of psoriasis, so keep your skin well lubricated. After bathing or showering, seal in moisture by applying a generous amount of moisturizing cream or ointment to your skin.

What body wash is good for psoriasis? ›

Cleanser for Psoriasis Treatment with Salicylic Acid | CeraVe. Psoriasis Cleanser 4.9 out of 5 stars.

How do I know if I have dermatitis or psoriasis? ›

The differences.

Psoriasis plaques are itchy like seborrheic dermatitis, but they can also be painful. About one-third of people with psoriasis get a form of arthritis as the disease gets worse. The scales on psoriasis plaques are thicker than those of seborrheic dermatitis, with more defined edges.

How can you tell the difference between psoriasis and dermatitis? ›

Most often, the scales of psoriasis look thicker and drier than the scales of seborrheic dermatitis. Psoriasis tends to extend beyond the hairline. And psoriasis usually affects more than one area of the body. If you have scalp psoriasis, you may have mild psoriasis on your elbows, knees or lower back too.

What color is psoriasis skin? ›

People of all colors get psoriasis, but there are some differences between what you'll see on light and dark skin. In fair-skinned people, psoriasis tends to be red or pink, and the scale is often silvery white. A Hispanic person is more likely to have salmon-colored psoriasis and silvery-white scale.

What does autoimmune psoriasis look like? ›

Psoriasis causes patches of thick red skin and silvery scales. Patches are typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of feet, but can affect other places (fingernails, toenails, and mouth).

Does psoriasis look like fungal infection? ›

At first glance, psoriasis and ringworm can appear similar. Both conditions cause red, scaly, and itchy plaques to form on the skin. While ringworm is a temporary rash caused by a fungus, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that lasts for a lifetime, although the symptoms can be treated.

What does eczema psoriasis look like? ›

For example, on dark skin tones, psoriasis generally causes gray, purple, or ashen patches with silvery white scales. On light skin tones, it can cause red or pink patches with silvery white scales. Eczema also appears differently on different skin tones. On light skin tones, eczema typically looks red.


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