Pustular Psoriasis

About 3 percent of people living with psoriasis develop pustular psoriasis.

It is often seen in older adults, although it can start at any age.

(Wilson et al., 2009)

Did You Know?


Symptoms of pustular [PUHS-choo-lar] psoriasis include pustules (white, pus-filled, painful bumps) that may be surrounded by inflamed or reddened/discolored skin. The pus in pustules is caused by inflammation and is not contagious. Those with pustular psoriasis generally go in a cycle of the reddening/discoloring of the skin, followed by pustules and scaling.

There are different types of pustular psoriasis that depend on where the symptoms appear:

  • General pustular psoriasis (GPP) or von Zumbusch [vahn zuhm-BOOSH] psoriasis describes symptoms that affect large areas of the body. This type can develop suddenly and progress quickly and often comes with a fever, chills, severe itching, change in heart rate, fatigue and muscle weakness. See a health care provider immediately if you think you may have generalized pustular psoriasis.
  • Localized pustular psoriasis or palmoplantar pustular psoriasis (PPPP) is when symptoms affect the palms of the hands and/or the soles of the feet. This type often affects the base of the thumbs and the sides of the heels.
  • Acropustulosis [ak-roh-PUS-chool-loh-sis] is when symptoms affect only the tips of the fingers and/or toes. This type is very rare and may present after an injury to the skin or infection.


Several factors may trigger pustular psoriasis, including:

  • Certain medicines
  • Starting or stopping medicines
  • Exposure to too much ultraviolet (UV) light
  • Infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress


Topicals, phototherapy, oral treatments and biologics are all possible treatment options for pustular psoriasis. 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.

Contact the Patient Navigation Center

Learn more about pustular psoriasis and treatment options.

Get in touch 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 9/17/20 by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Stay in the Know.

Expert tips, can’t-miss events and the latest news, straight to your inbox.

National Health Council Standards of ExcellenceCharity Navigator

Copyright © 1996-2020 National Psoriasis Foundation/USA

Duplication, rebroadcast, republication or other use of content appearing on this website is prohibited without written permission of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).

NPF does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content of external websites.

NPF does not endorse any specific treatments or medications for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

We use cookies to offer you a better experience and analyze our site traffic. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.