Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder. Read more about psoriasis and its causes, symptoms and treatment.


The psoriasis Vulgaris ("common" psoriasis) is a chronic disease of the skin, which is manifested by reddened and strongly scaly inflammatory foci. Psoriasis vulgaris (medial: plaque psoriasis) is by far the most prevalent form of psoriasis. Psoriasis is often associated with itching. The disease is not contagious. Read more about psoriasis and its causes, symptoms and treatment.

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. L41M07L40

Product Overview


  • description

  • symptoms

  • Causes and risk factors

  • Examinations and diagnosis

  • treatment

  • Disease course and prognosis

Psoriasis: description

Psoriasis vulgaris or psoriasis is a benign, chronic inflammatory and recurrent skin disease with severe dandruff. Psoriasis often causes severe itching, which can be very stressful for those affected. There are several forms of psoriasis, which are differentiated according to their appearance and the place of their appearance. These include:

  • Psoriasis pustulosa
  • Psoriasis guttata
  • Eruptive exanthematic psoriasis
  • Psoriasis exudative
  • Psoriatic erythroderma
  • Psoriasis inversa
  • nail psoriasis
  • Scalp psoriasis (psoriasis capitis)
  • Psoriatic arthritis

In psoriasis, the exact causes that lead to disease development are still not understood. "Is psoriasis contagious?" - many people ask themselves this question when they first look at psoriasis. Psoriasis is definitely not contagious, but can be inherited. However, the inheritance is not done directly. So there is only an increased risk of developing psoriasis if someone in the family already has it. Most psoriasis first appears in early adulthood, but it can break out in all age groups.

In Germany, about two percent of the population, or about two million people, suffer from a more or less severe form of psoriasis.

Psoriasis: symptoms

Psoriasis vulgaris usually gets through

  • sharply limited,
  • reddish and
  • slightly raised spots on the skin noticeable.

These spots are covered with silver-white scales.

Affected stains are often small and punctiform, but they can also cover larger areas and itch. The superficial scales are easy to scrape off, while the deeper ones sit more firmly on a young, thin layer of skin. If one removes this scab layer, then small punctate skin bleeding occurs (Auspitz phenomenon).

Psoriasis: elbow, head and knees often affected

Psoriasis vulgaris and plaque psoriasis are particularly affected:

  • elbow
  • knee
  • Sacrum
  • Hairy head
  • gluteal fold
  • Area behind the ears
  • Navel region

In severe cases, psoriasis does not limit the symptoms to specific regions. The skin changes occur then without recognizable appearance pattern over a large area on large parts of the body skin.

In psoriasis, the symptoms occur in batches. The individual thrust can last for different lengths. This also applies to the intervening symptom-free periods, which can range from several weeks to several years.

Psoriasis: scalp

In many patients with psoriasis, the skin disease also affects the scalp. Learn everything important in the article psoriasis head skin.

Special forms of psoriasis

There are many different forms of psoriasis that cause different symptoms. The following are the main ones explained:

Psoriasis guttata

A common form of psoriasis is psoriasis guttata. It occurs mainly after previous (tonsil) infections and manifests itself in the form of numerous small spots. Often psoriasis guttata is accompanied by itching. It can either go back after the infection has passed or it can turn into chronic psoriasis vulgaris (plaque psoriasis). Here, the spots are usually not so numerous, but larger.

Eruptive exanthematic psoriasis

The eruptive-exanthematic psoriasis occurs mainly after infections, but may also be the first form of a new disease (first manifestation) with psoriasis. Within a few weeks, small, often itchy foci of body parts, where the "ordinary psoriasis" (psoriasis vulgaris) does not occur. The eruptive-exanthematic psoriasis can heal by itself or become chronic.

Psoriasis exudative

A highly inflammatory form of psoriasis is psoriasis exudative.It usually begins with symptoms of eruptive-exanthematic psoriasis. The affected areas then redden strongly and then develop an inflamed "hem". Wound secretions appear on the surface, covering the psoriasis herd in the form of yellowish crusts.

Psoriasis pustulosa

Psoriasis pustulosa is a rather rare special form of psoriasis. The symptoms of this form are pus-filled blisters on reddened skin. This form of psoriasis usually occurs on the hands and feet (psoriasis pustulosa palmoplantaris or psoriasis palmoplantaris), in the so-called "generalized form", however, shows the whole body symptoms of psoriasis. The paloplantar psoriasis of the hands and feet has specific symptoms on the palms and soles of the feet.

Psoriatic erythroderma

Psoriatic erythroderma is a rare form of psoriasis in which the entire skin becomes reddened and thickened. This makes them more rigid and can tear over the joints and form so-called cracks. The scaling is less pronounced. Due to the large-scale inflammation of the skin, this form of psoriasis usually leads to general symptoms such as fever, fatigue and malaise.

Psoriasis inversa

Inversa psoriasis is found mainly in areas of the body where the skin rubs against each other, for example the armpits, the anal folds and the popliteal fossa.

Possible concomitant / consequential diseases of psoriasis

Psoriatic arthritis

In psoriatic arthritis, inflammation of the psoriasis is transmitted to the joints. Read all the important information in the article Psoriatic Arthritis.

nail psoriasis

Over time, many people with psoriasis also change their finger and toe nails. Everything important to read in the article Nagelpsoriasis.

Psoriasis: causes and risk factors

Why Psoriasis vulgaris (plaque psoriasis) or a psoriasis arises is not yet clarified to this day. So far, it is certain that psoriasis is not contagious and that genetic predisposition can increase the risk of psoriasis. Likewise, physicians are in terms of psoriasis causes agree that a dysregulation of the body's immune system (immune system) plays a role in the disease development. However, how these processes run in detail and how they interact and which other factors play a role is still unclear.

In addition to genetic predisposition, other conditions increase the risk that psoriasis will occur for the first time or that disease progression will occur in the presence of a disease. One possible other psoriasis cause is, for example, streptococcal tonsillitis. Also an important trigger is stress, but also drugs can cause a psoriasis or psoriasis relapses. In addition, there is an increased risk of psoriasis in people who are infected with HIV.

In people who already have psoriasis, skin irritation (eg scratching) causes psoriasis symptoms to appear in the affected areas.

Psoriasis: examinations and diagnosis

The doctor recognizes psoriasis vulgaris or plaque psoriasis on the typical skin changes, which usually occur in characteristic body regions (elbows, knees, gluteal fold, hairy head, etc.). He may also check for visible skin changes, including whether small, punctate skin bleeding occurs when he removes the last cuticle of an affected area (Auspitz phenomenon). This indicates psoriasis. Also nail changes can harden the suspicion of psoriasis.

In rare cases, the doctor takes a skin sample (biopsy), which he sends to a laboratory for further examination.

This may be necessary, among other things, if he wants to safely isolate psoriasis against other diseases that sometimes cause similar skin and nail symptoms as psoriasis.

Which includes:

  • fungal diseases
  • syphilis
  • skin lichen
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

If it is suspected that tonsillitis caused by streptococcus has caused psoriasis, a smear from the tonsils is often sent to the laboratory for examination.

Psoriasis: treatment

How psoriasis is treated, read in the article psoriasis treatment.

Psoriasis: nutrition

The diet also seems to have some influence on psoriasis. Read all about it in the article psoriasis - nutrition.

Psoriasis: prevention

Psoriasis vulgaris (plaque psoriasis) can not be prevented. This is also because the exact causes that lead to psoriasis, are not fully understood until today.

People with psoriasis may, through close observation, find factors that may trigger or exacerbate relapses and avoid them as much as possible. These may be, for example, stress and / or alcohol consumption, but also factors including:

  • High overweight
  • External irritation of the skin (e.g., scratching)
  • sunburns

Psoriasis: disease course and prognosis

Psoriasis vulgaris or plaque psoriasis often occurs for the first time in young adulthood, but can also appear significantly sooner or later. Psoriasis develops "without warning" and progresses after its first appearance in spurts - that is, (relatively) symptom-free periods alternate with periods of severe psoriasis symptoms. The disease course of psoriasis is highly individual in terms of:

  • Severity and type of skin symptoms
  • Localization (location) of the skin symptoms
  • Duration of the relapses
  • Frequency and severity of thrusts
  • Duration of the (relatively) symptom-free periods

For these reasons, the disease process of psoriasis can not be predicted.

Psoriasis is not curable at present and in most cases persists permanently after first appearance. Partially, the psoriasis "disappears" completely for a long time. Such phases can occur spontaneously or be triggered by a therapy.

In rare cases sounds psoriasis completely off and thus remains permanently without symptoms.

Read more about the therapies

  • light therapy
  • sitz bath

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