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 side.

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

A man with plaque psoriasis on his back, links to Treatment and Care Courtesy of Amit Garg, M.D.
A woman talks to her doctor in an office.

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

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

Psoriasis or Eczema?

Similar symptoms may have you confused, so we talked with an expert about differentiating factors.

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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.

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Psoriasis 101

Newly diagnosed? Want a refresher? Dr. Jason E. Hawkes is here to break down the science of psoriatic disease.

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Scalp Psoriasis Care and Maintenance

Get tips for caring for your scalp psoriasis, including recommended over-the-counter hair products.

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Do I Put Sunscreen on Plaques?

Dermatologist Laura Ferris shares insights into sunscreen use for those with psoriasis.

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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.

Get your tracker guide today

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 04/21/2022 by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

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