The low down on psoriasis (no.1 of 2)

What is psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin condition affecting 2-3% of the population of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Typically, it appears as raised red patches of skin covered with silvery scales, although different types and psoriasis on different areas of the body can look different. Psoriasis is very simply a speeding up of the usual replacement processes of the skin. This process is the same wherever psoriasis occurs on the body.

Psoriasis in sensitive areas

Psoriasis can affect all parts of the body but there are some areas where the skin is thinner and may be more sensitive to treatment. These areas include the flexures – in skin folds, armpits, under the breast, between the buttocks and the groin and genital area – as well as the face and the hairline. Psoriasis in sensitive areas may also be referred to as:

  • Genital psoriasis
  • Flexural psoriasis
  • Inverse psoriasis

How does psoriasis differ in sensitive areas?

Psoriasis in flexural areas often does not have the typical ‘plaques’ or scaliness seen in other areas and usually appears as very bright red (or dark on darker skin tones), shiny patches. It is welldemarcated (easy to tell where the psoriasis ends and normal skin begins). Because psoriasis in these areas looks quite different to its typical dry and scaly appearance, it can often be mistaken for a fungal infection or other skin condition. Psoriasis in sensitive areas may be very uncomfortable and painful, and may make people feel embarrassed about or avoid intimate situations. Psoriasis in sensitive but non-flexural areas (such as the face) may look similar to psoriasis on other parts of the body.

What triggers psoriasis in sensitive areas?

​As with other types of psoriasis, it is not easy to pinpoint what triggers psoriasis in sensitive areas. Sometimes it happens spontaneously, or for no real reason at all. However, psoriasis in the armpits, other flexures and groin area may sometimes get worse as a result of external factors. These may include tight clothing rubbing the skin, deodorants or antiperspirants, sanitary towels or tampons, harsh toilet paper, thrush and sexual intercourse.

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