What Is This Rash? Could It Be Psoriasis?

What Is This Rash? Could It Be Psoriasis?

More than 8 million Americans suffer from psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that can take a big toll on your quality of life. Psoriasis won’t go away on its own — it needs special treatment to keep its symptoms under control. Getting that treatment begins with knowing if your rash is caused by psoriasis or if something else is going on.

If you have a rash, Michele Meinhart, FNP, can help. Through a comprehensive skin exam and testing when needed, she diagnoses skin rashes in patients at Starkey Medical Esthetics and prescribes the right treatment — for psoriasis and other rashes, too. Here are four ways psoriasis differs from other rashes.

Why it happens

Although many rashes are caused by allergies to chemicals, foods, or medicines, psoriasis is caused by an autoimmune disorder. Researchers aren’t sure why, but if you have psoriasis, your immune system triggers changes in your skin cell production, increasing the rate at which new cells are made. 


Normally it takes about four weeks for new skin cells to make it to your skin’s surface where they replace old, damaged cells. In psoriasis, that cycle is sped up, and migrating skin cells reach the surface much faster, creating scaly patches called plaques.

Unlike other types of rashes, psoriasis tends to run in families, which means there may also be a genetic factor at play, as well. Like allergic skin conditions, symptoms may be triggered by skin injuries, stress, medications, or even cold weather.

Where it happens

Allergies and eczema, another common skin condition, can happen just about anywhere. Psoriasis outbreaks tend to occur in certain areas of the body, including your:

Eczema often shows up in areas where you perspire, like the inner elbow or the backs of your knees. Contact dermatitis (or contact eczema) shows up in areas of your skin that have been irritated by a chemical or other substance.

What it looks like

There are different types of psoriasis, and each can look a little different. Most people with psoriasis have silvery or whitish patches called plaque. The skin tends to feel thicker, harder, or leathery in areas affected by psoriasis. If psoriasis affects your nails, they may appear cracked or brittle.

What it feels like

In addition to intense itching, psoriasis is often associated with burning sensations or painful skin. Sometimes, psoriasis affects your joints and causes joint pain and stiffness.

Treating psoriasis

Psoriasis cannot be cured, but there are many ways to manage your symptoms, so you feel better and your skin looks clearer. Because it’s an autoimmune disorder, psoriasis benefits most from an individualized approach to care, with treatments based on your symptoms and other factors. 

Possible treatment options include:

If you have joint pain, you might benefit from medication to reduce joint discomfort and slow joint damage. Many people have multiple therapies, and therapy may change over time as your skin’s needs change.

Stop the itch

The only way to know for sure if your rash is caused by psoriasis or something else is to schedule a skin evaluation. A visual exam combined with a skin biopsy can confirm your diagnosis.

Don’t let itchy, red, unsightly psoriasis plaques take a toll on your comfort and your quality of life. There are treatments that can help you find relief. To learn more about psoriasis treatment at our Salem, Virginia, practice, call 540-389-0909, or book an appointment online at Starkey Medical Esthetics today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Where Do Age Spots Come From?

Age spots are tiny, but they have a really big impact on how old you look. That’s because these mottled brown spots appear more often as we age, especially on our hands, arms, and face. Here’s why they happen and what you can do to treat them.

Botox®: Myths to Stop Believing

Despite its popularity, Botox® is surrounded by myths and misinformation that might hold you back from learning more. In this post, we break down seven of the most common myths, so you can make an informed decision about your own cosmetic goals.

5 Popular Beautifying Laser Treatments

Laser treatments provide lots of benefits, and their versatility means they can be used for a wide array of cosmetic issues, including aging skin and unwanted hair. Here are five ways lasers can help you achieve your aesthetic goals.

How EmpowerRF® by InMode Could Help You

Vaginal atrophy is a “side effect” of aging for plenty of women — but that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant, comfortable, or even acceptable. EmpowerRF® offers a nonsurgical way to treat vaginal atrophy and relieve its uncomfortable symptoms.

Which Filler Is Right for Me?

Wrinkles, lines, sagging skin: No matter how well you care for your skin, eventually, the effects of aging are going to take their inevitable toll. Dermal fillers help you fight back — as long as you select the right one. Here’s how to choose.

New Year's Resolution: Simplify Your Makeup Routine

Permanent makeup enhances your natural features, giving you that finishing touch without the hassle of applying — and reapplying — makeup throughout your day. Here’s how permanent makeup can simplify your life in the New Year and beyond.