Most people are unaware that there are various types of psoriasis—and that there’s a difference between eczema and psoriasis. But if you've ever searched for “types of psoriasis pictures” recognizing the differences between psoriasis and eczema may be very difficult. Fortunately, a dermatologist can help you get the treatment you need—and we can help you learn how to talk to your dermatologist about psoriasis, eczema and more.
What you need to know
There are several types of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, pustular psoriasis and erythrodermic psoriasis. Depending on the type of psoriasis, symptoms may include patches of red, raised, itchy, scaly skin on the elbows, knees, scalp and beyond; small blisters, changes in the appearance of the nails and can lead to joint inflammation as well.1
- Psoriasis causes thick, red, scaly patches, most commonly on the knees and elbows
- Eczema tends to develop in the crooks of the elbows and behind the knees
- Itching associated with eczema can be intense, while itching associated with psoriasis tends to be more mild
- It’s possible to have both eczema and psoriasis
Types of psoriasis
There are several different types of psoriasis, and each has unique symptoms as well as preferred treatments. By working with your doctor to identify which type of psoriasis you have, you can get the most effective treatment for that type and ultimately get the help you need to improve the appearance and comfort of your skin.
To learn about the various psoriasis types, keep reading.
What is plaque psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis, and it is characterized by patches of raised, red patches that are covered with a build-up of silvery-white dead skin cells. Most often seen on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back, plaque psoriasis can be itchy and painful, and the patches are prone to cracking and bleeding.3
What is inverse psoriasis?
This type of psoriasis appears as extremely red, possibly shiny patches in the folds of your body, including under your arms, behind your knees and in the groin area. Due to the moisture in these areas, inverse psoriasis usually does not cause patches of scales, but because of how your skin rubs together in these areas, it is particularly prone to irritation. Inverse psoriasis is more common in overweight people with deeper skin folds4 – and those who have this type of psoriasis may also have other forms of the condition.
What is pustular psoriasis?
This type of psoriasis appears as small blisters surrounded by red skin and can be limited to certain areas of the body (such as the hands and feet) or cover most of the body. With this psoriasis type, the redness usually appears first, before the pustules and scaling develop. It's worth noting that these blisters associated with pustular psoriasis are filled with white blood cells and are not contagious.5
What is erythrodermic psoriasis?
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis associated with extreme inflammation, itching and pain that affects most of the body. Other symptoms include large sheets of shedding skin (as opposed to the smaller scaly patches seen in plaque psoriasis), an increase in heart rate, swelling due to fluid retention and significant changes in your body temperature. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you're experiencing a flare-up of erythrodermic psoriasis as it can lead to pneumonia or heart failure if left untreated.6
What is psoriatic arthritis?
Some people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling. Though most commonly experienced in the fingers, toes and along the spine, psoriatic arthritis can affect any part of your body, and the pain and swelling can range from mild to severe. Similar to other psoriasis types, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, and it’s imperative that those with this type of psoriasis seek medical treatment, as symptoms can become disabling if left untreated.7
Psoriasis vs. eczema
It can be easy to confuse eczema and psoriasis since the symptoms often look similar, but one difference between eczema and psoriasis is the locations where they most often occur. Psoriasis is common on the knees and elbows, while eczema generally appears behind the knees and the creases inside the elbows. If you’re unsure whether you have eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to see a dermatologist who can tell you for sure, and keep in mind that it’s possible to have both.2