Psoriasis symptoms depend on both the individual and the type of psoriasis, since symptoms differ from one person to the next as well as from type to type. The affected area can be as small as a few flakes or as large as the entire surface area of the body, and symptoms are often cyclical. This means that they may appear for a few days or weeks during a flare-up, and then disappear for a while, only to return when another flare-up is triggered. When there are no active signs of psoriasis, it is called remission. This simply means that the individual is symptom-free at the moment, but psoriasis can still come back in the future.
For plaque psoriasis, some of the most common symptoms include patches of skin that are red, raised, inflamed, and covered with white scales or plaques. There may also be soreness, itching, and burning sensations around the patches, in addition to dry skin that may crack and bleed. Thick and pitted nails as well as painful and swollen joints are also common. That said, not all sufferers will experience all of these symptoms and some will experience a different set of symptoms all together.
For guttate psoriasis, the telltale signs are patches that appear in the shape of a raindrop or teardrop, hence why guttate psoriasis is given the nicknames raindrop psoriasis and teardrop psoriasis. These patches are usually less than half an inch in diameter, relatively small compared to other forms, and look drastically different from those that are seen in plaque psoriasis.
For pustular psoriasis, the symptoms vary depending on which form is present, based on both the location of the flare-up and how fast the patches appear. In the case of von Zumbusch psoriasis, pustules develop rapidly on a large surface area and clear up within two days. Fever, chills, fatigue, and weight loss are not uncommon during the start of a new cycle. For palmoplantar pustulosis, pustules appear on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. Cycles can occur every few days or weeks and pustules may develop into scaly spots which eventually peel off. In the event of acropustulosis, pustules appear on the fingers or the toes and may burst. This can leave bright red areas that either ooze or become scaly.
For inverse psoriasis, some of the most common symptoms include patches that are bright red, smooth, and inflamed, but no scaling will occur. These patches can quickly become itchy and painful due to the skin-on-skin contact that occurs when the skin rubs together. If there is sweating in the skinfolds, this moist environment can make symptoms worse.
For erythrodermic psoriasis, there is typically widespread inflammation in the body which is accompanied by intense itching, burning, and severe pain. Dehydration and heart failure may occur, due to the body losing proteins and fluids. The skin may also begin to function so poorly that it can no longer regulate the sufferer’s body temperature. Fever and chills, a general feeling of being unwell, muscle weakness, and a rapid pulse are all common symptoms as well.
For nail psoriasis, an unofficial type of psoriasis that affects the fingernails and toenails, the most common symptom is red or yellow discoloration of the nail. This may look like a drop of blood or oil beneath the nail. Additional common symptoms include pits that develop in the nails, lines that appear across the nails from side-to-side, white areas on the nail plate, thick skin under the nails, loose nails that may detach from the finger or the toe, and small black lines running from the tip of the nail to the cuticle.