As mentioned earlier, there are several types of psoriasis. While Dr. Siegel says you can have any type of psoriasis on any part of your body, some are more common in certain places than others. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common places psoriasis occurs on the body:
Your elbows and knees
Psoriasis is most common in the elbows and knees, and it is often plaque psoriasis. “[The plaques] are often itchy and painful and can crack and bleed, ”says Dr. Seal.
Plaque psoriasis is a common occurrence here too, Seigel says, and it can range from mild, light flaking to thick, crusty plaques that cover a person’s entire scalp, according to NPF. It can also extend past a person̵
Psoriasis on the face isn’t that common, says Dr. Bailey, it can happen. This form of psoriasis usually affects a person’s eyebrows, the skin between the nose and upper lip, the upper forehead, and the hairline, according to the NPF. This type of psoriasis should be treated carefully because the skin in this area is sensitive.
Your hands and feet
The palms of the hands and soles of the feet can develop a type of psoriasis known as palmar-plantar psoriasis. “The skin here is flaky, cracked, and sometimes blistered or red,” says Dr. Bailey. And it’s not surprising that it is painful.
Psoriasis can also affect your nails, where it causes a yellowish discoloration and can even lift the nail plate off the nail bed. “It looks like a yeast infection to people who are not dermatologists, but it’s a bit different,” New York-based dermatologist Doris Day, MD, told SELF. Fingernail changes occur in approximately 50 percent of people with psoriasis, according to treatment guidelines published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In psoriatic arthritis, that number jumps to 90 percent.
Psoriasis can show up in the folds of your skin, and unfortunately your genitals aren’t always spared either, whether you have a penis or a vagina, says Dr. Day. People may think it’s an STI at first, she says, but it isn’t. Genital psoriasis looks like psoriasis showing up elsewhere on your body, but psoriasis, which can appear in skin folds (like the groin), often appears smooth and shiny, with a waxy appearance, and usually doesn’t have flakes like plaque psoriasis. She says.
In folds of skin like your bum, armpits, or under your breasts
This is where inverse psoriasis shows up, often as very red lesions that can appear behind the knee, in the armpits, or even between a person’s buttocks, says Dr. Seal. It can also appear under your breasts, according to NPF, and is often irritated from rubbing and sweating.
While psoriasis likely has a genetic factor, according to the Mayo Clinic, many people are symptom-free for years until environmental factors such as stress, sunburn, allergies, diet, certain medications, or even the weather trigger it. Knowing your unique psoriasis triggers is important. Managing triggers is an important part of managing psoriasis.
Although all triggers are different, here are some of the most common:
Stress is a big trigger, be it emotional or physical stress, says Dr. Cather. While avoiding stress completely is obviously impossible, the AAD recommends finding ways to deal with stress if you find flare-ups when you feel overwhelmed. Joint self-care activities are good for this; Think of activities like meditation, breathing exercises, gratitude journals, therapy, and support groups.
Cold, dry weather
If your psoriasis worsens in the fall and winter (or whatever time of year the temperature and humidity in your area drop), chances are you are sensitive to weather triggers.