Psoriasis Vulgaris Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What Is Psoriasis Vulgaris?

Psoriasis vulgaris, commonly referred to as psoriasis, is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. It is the most common form of psoriasis and is characterized by patches of thick, red, and scaly skin.

The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In psoriasis, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells, triggering an accelerated growth cycle. Normally, skin cells mature and shed every 28 to 30 days, but in psoriasis, this process takes only 3 to 4 days, resulting in the accumulation of cells on the skin surface.

What are the Types of Psoriasis Vulgaris?

  • Plaque Psoriasis: This is the most common type of psoriasis, characterized by raised, red patches of skin covered with silvery-white scales. These patches, or plaques, can appear anywhere on the body, but they commonly occur on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, and genitals.

  • Guttate Psoriasis: This type often develops in childhood or early adulthood and is characterized by small, dot-like lesions on the skin. It is usually triggered by bacterial or viral infections, such as strep throat, and the lesions are typically widespread and appear on the trunk, limbs, and scalp.

  • Inverse Psoriasis: This type affects areas where the skin folds or creases, such as the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in the genital area. Inverse psoriasis appears as smooth, red patches of inflamed skin that may be worsened by friction and sweating.

  • Pustular Psoriasis: This type is characterized by the formation of pus-filled blisters (pustules) surrounded by red, inflamed skin. Pustular psoriasis can be localized to certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet (palmoplantar pustulosis), or it can be generalized and affect larger areas of the body.

  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis: This is a rare but severe form of psoriasis that can affect the entire body. It is characterized by widespread redness, intense itching, and peeling of the skin. Erythrodermic psoriasis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Types Of Psoriasis Vulgaris

What are the Causes of Psoriasis Vulgaris?

  • Genetic Factors: Psoriasis tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. Certain genes, such as those related to the immune system and skin cell growth, are believed to play a role in the development of psoriasis. However, having these genes does not necessarily mean that an individual will develop psoriasis.

  • Immune System Dysfunction: Psoriasis is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, including skin cells. In psoriasis, immune cells called T cells become overactive, triggering inflammation and accelerating the production of skin cells. This leads to the rapid turnover and accumulation of skin cells on the surface, causing the characteristic symptoms of psoriasis.

  • Environmental Triggers: Various environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate psoriasis in individuals who are genetically predisposed. Common triggers include:

    • Infections: Bacterial or viral infections, particularly streptococcal infections, can trigger or worsen psoriasis, especially guttate psoriasis.

    • Injury To The Skin: Injuries such as cuts, scrapes, sunburns, or bug bites can cause psoriasis to develop or flare up in affected areas (known as the Koebner phenomenon).

    • Medications: Certain medications, such as beta-blockers, lithium, antimalarials, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may trigger or worsen psoriasis in some individuals.

    • Stress: Emotional stress or physical stress on the body, such as surgery or illness, can be associated with psoriasis flare-ups in some people.

    • Smoking and Alcohol: These lifestyle factors have been linked to an increased risk and severity of psoriasis.
Symptoms Of Psoriasis Vulgaris

signs & Symptoms Of Psoriasis Vulgaris

Red, raised patches of skin: These patches, known as plaques, are typically covered with silvery-white scales. They can appear on various parts of the body, such as the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, and genitals.

  • Dry, Cracked Skin: The affected skin may be dry, itchy, and may even crack and bleed in severe cases.

  • Thickened Or Pitted Nails: Psoriasis can affect the nails, causing them to become thickened, discolored, ridged, or pitted. In some cases, the nails may separate from the nail bed.

  • Itching And Discomfort: Psoriasis can be accompanied by itching and a feeling of discomfort or soreness in the affected areas.

  • Joint Pain And Swelling: In some individuals, psoriasis can also lead to joint inflammation, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. This condition is known as psoriatic arthritis and can affect any joint in the body.

  • Emotional Distress: Psoriasis can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and emotional well-being. The visible nature of the condition and the potential for social stigma can lead to feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment, and depression.
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