dave-mittlemanIf you suffer from a strange looking rash on your skin, it might not be what you think.  In fact, many people mistake rashes on their faces for acne or an allergic reaction when it may actually be psoriasis.  Psoriasis, which is a chronic skin condition thought to be caused by an immune system dysfunction, can appear on any part of the body.  In addition, there are actually five types of psoriasis and each type causes a different type of rash.  Overall, it’s estimated that approximately 7.5 million suffer from psoriasis, but the condition does respond to treatment.  Unfortunately, because psoriasis can look like other skin conditions that cause itchy, scaly rashes with inflammation, it is often confused with other conditions.  So if you have an unidentifiable rash on your body, read on to see if you might suffer from psoriasis or another skin condition:

  1. Plaque psoriasis—this is the most common type of psoriasis, affecting 80% of patients.  Usually beginning as small, red bumps, plaque psoriasis usually develops into red, raised patches with a silvery, scaly coating.  Plaques usually appear on the elbows, knees, and lower back and can last months to even years.
  2. Guttate psoriasis—this is the second most common type of psoriasis.  It is characterized by small, red spots on the skin and usually appears on the trunk of the body or limbs.  It is believed that this type of psoriasis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection in childhood.  In addition, these spots may come on suddenly but may also clear up easily with oral medications or injections.
  3. Seborrhea—this is a common skin rash that is often confused with psoriasis.  While psoriasis rashes itch, feel sore, or burn, seborrhea can also look and feel very similar.  Characterized by red, scaly, and itchy patches, seborrhea usually occurs on the scalp, face or chest and is sometimes confused with dandruff or extremely dry skin.  Doctors aren’t sure what causes seborrhea but the condition can be easily treated with lotion or cream.
  4. Pityriasis rosea—this is also a common skin rash often confused with psoriasis.  This skin rash is especially common in children or young adults and often begins with cold-like symptoms that result in red, scaly, and sometimes itchy patches that appear on the back or abdomen.  Doctors do not know the cause of this rash, but suspect that it is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. You can take medication to relieve the itch and the rash usually goes away on its own and rarely comes back like psoriasis would.
  5. Eczema—like psoriasis, eczema is characterized by itchy, red bumps.  Unfortunately, this condition is very itchy but scratching will only exacerbate the problem by causing increased inflammation or even a bacterial infection of the skin.  The most common cause of eczema is an allergic reaction to detergent, soaps, or household cleaners.  Therefore, if you have eczema you should use a mild soap and use a moisturizer regularly.  If the condition is particularly severe, your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream
  6. Acne—some forms of psoriasis appear as pus-filled sores on the face, which can easily be confused with acne.  In fact, pustular psoriasis forms white blisters that are filled with pus and surrounded by red skin.  However, acne is a far more common condition and also causes pus-filled eruptions on the face.  Unlike psoriasis, acne is caused by blocked pores, excess oil, and bacteria on the skin and usually occurs in teenagers.  Pustular psoriasis, on the other hand, is most commonly seen in adults.