Psoriasis is one of many chronic inflammatory conditions, but how can you distinguish it from other similar skin rashes, like eczema? We take a closer look at the signs and symptoms of this common skin issue.
Although the exact cause of psoriasis isn’t known, people who have psoriasis are probably born with an inherited tendency towards the condition, and usually have family members with psoriasis. It’s a condition which tends to come and go, with periods of time where skin can be clear, and other times when it flares up in response to various triggers. Learning to identify and avoid your own particular triggers is key to managing psoriasis.
But how do you know if you’ve got it in the first place? The first thing to do, whatever you think a rash might be is to consult your doctor, who can give you a diagnosis.
There are several different variations of psoriasis, with plaque psoriasis being by far the most common; something like 90% of all psoriasis sufferers have this type. For pictorial examples of different kinds of psoriasis, see our article 7 Types Of Psoriasis: Symptoms and Pictures.
Plaque psoriasis is characterised by patches of raised, scaly skin, often different in tone and colour to the surrounding, unaffected, skin. These plaques can be thick, itchy and crusty. They tend to appear on the knees, elbows, and around the hairline, but can appear anywhere on the body.
It’s important to note that psoriasis, like other skin conditions, appears differently on different skin colours. On people of colour, the plaques might be purple or brown, and the silvery scales that appear pink or red on white skin are more likely to be lilac or grey. Skin of colour is also more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation after a prolonged psoriasis flare, a lingering discolouration which appears darker than surrounding skin.
- Raised/thickened patches of skin
- Plaques vary in size from small patches to widespread coverage
- Scales on surface of lesions
- Colour variation from unaffected skin may be silver, grey, violet, brown, red or pink
- Appears most often on exposed areas of skin: knees, elbows, scalp
- Can affect the whole body including limbs, feet, palms and trunk
- Can be crusty and itchy
- Often worse in cold weather
Recommended products for psoriasis-prone skin:
We recommend a trio of Balmonds products used in tandem to help manage skin prone to psoriasis. There’s a balm, an oil and a cream, all three natural, unfragranced and full of nutrients to keep skin in soft, well-nourished condition.
Balmonds Skin Salvation balm with beeswax, hemp & chamomile (from £7.99 for 30ml) for softening and protecting skin during an intensive flare-up
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream with shea butter, hemp & calendula (from £13.99 for 100ml) for daily maintenance, to nourish and replenish thirsty skin
Balmonds Bath & Body Oil with hemp, lavender & chamomile (£12.99 for 200ml) to support healthy regeneration of skin prone to plaque
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.