Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis.

About 80 to 90 percent of people living with psoriasis experience plaque psoriasis.

(Wilson et al., 2009)

Did You Know?


Psoriasis plaques appear as raised, inflamed, and scaly patches of skin that may also be itchy and painful. On Caucasian skin, plaques typically appear as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells or scale. On skin of color, the plaques may appear darker and thicker and more of a purple or grayish color or darker brown.

Plaques can appear anywhere on the body, although they most often appear on the scalp, knees, elbows, and torso. Plaques generally appear symmetrically on the body, affecting the same areas of the body on the right and left sides. Psoriasis on certain locations, called high-impact sites, can have an increased negative impact on quality of life, regardless of the total area affected by psoriasis.

Plaque psoriasis often accompanies nail psoriasis which may look like discoloration, pitting, or separation of the nail from the nail bed.

Psoriasis plaques on a caucasian hand. Courtesy of Amit Garg, M.D.
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Treatment & Care

Learn about different treatment options for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and talk to your doctor about what might be right for you.

Treatment & Care for Plaque Psoriasis
Image of an arm and torso of a man of color covered in psoriasis plaques.

Treating Skin of Color

For some psoriasis patients, getting the right diagnosis isn’t always so black and white. And once minorities receive the proper diagnosis, they often face unique risks, challenges and stigmas.

Plaque Psoriasis in Skin of Color
A woman with dark skin and a woman of lighter skin both look at a mobile phone.

Psoriasis or Eczema?

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Common triggers for plaque psoriasis include:

  • Certain medications
  • Starting or stopping medicines
  • Infections
  • Injury to the skin
  • Stress
  • Tobacco or alcohol use


Treatment options for plaque psoriasis include topicals, phototherapy, oral treatments, and biologics. You and your health care provider will discuss the best treatment plan for you based on the severity of your symptoms and your medical history.

Over-the-Counter Products

Over-the-counter (OTC) products may help manage symptoms if you have mild plaque psoriasis. If you are looking for OTC products to try, check out NPF's Seal of Recognition program. These products have been created or are intended to be non-irritating and safe for people with psoriasis

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Feeling Confused?

Let us walk you through your psoriasis treatment options.

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Test Your Psoriasis Knowledge

Do you know the ins and outs of psoriasis? Find out with our quiz!

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Seasonal Flares Guide

Learn how the seasons can impact your symptoms and what to do to minimize flares.

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Track Your Triggers

Learn about common triggers for psoriatic disease flares – and track your symptoms over time – to help pinpoint things that may cause you to flare. Request your free Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Guide.

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Wilson, F. C., Icen, M., Crowson, C. S., McEvoy, M. T., Gabriel, S. E., & Kremers, H. M. (2009). Incidence and clinical predictors of psoriatic arthritis in patients with psoriasis: a population-based study. Arthritis Rheum, 61(2), 233-239. doi:10.1002/art.24172

Last updated on 2/8/2024 by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

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