Types of psoriasis

Types of psoriasis

There are different types of psoriasis

Psoriasis causes skin cells to grow too quickly and build up on the surface of the skin. These extra skin cells form thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches (plaques) that are sometimes painful.

Plaque psoriasis

Affects up to 90% of people with psoriasis.1

Characterised by dry, red lesions (plaques) covered in silver scales.

The plaques most commonly occur on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.

They can be itchy or sore – or both.


Scalp psoriasis

Characterised by red patches of skin covered in thick, silvery-white scales on the scalp.

May be extremely itchy although some people experience no discomfort.

Can cause hair loss in extreme cases, although this is usually only temporary.


Guttate psoriasis*

Most often affects younger people.

Causes small, drop-shaped lesions covered in a fine scale.

Lesions primarily appear on the chest, arms and legs.


Nail psoriasis

Characterised by tiny dents, discolouration and abnormal growth of the nail and its bed.

This leads to the nails separating from the nail bed, or crumbling of the nails.


Palmoplantar psoriasis

Appears on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

Characterised by scaling, redness or pustules (small blisters or pimples on the skin containing pus).

A less common form of psoriasis than others.


*Image courtesy pf Professor J Prinz.
Image courtesy of DermNet NZ.


  1. The Australasian College of Dermatologists. Psoriasis. Available at https://www.dermcoll.edu.au/atoz/psoriasis/

This educational resource is not intended to replace discussions with your healthcare team. If you have any questions about your condition or treatment, please contact your doctor.