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.
Common triggers for plaque psoriasis include:
- Certain medications
- Starting or stopping medicines
- Injury to the skin
- 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.