What You Need to Know About the Inverse Type of Psoriasis

Look for inverse psoriasis in skin folds

Psoriasis. Credit: BSIP / Contributor / Getty Images

Inverse psoriasis is an unusual type of psoriasis that occurs in skin folds. With this overview, learn how to spot inverse psoriasis, how the skin condition is treated and other conditions for which this form of psoriasis is commonly mistaken.

What Inverse Psoriasis Looks Like

Patches of inverse psoriasis, also known as intertriginous psoriasis, look different from other types of psoriasis. They are usually smooth, deep red (depending on one's skin tone) and glistening without any scales.

Normally, psoriasis is characterized by scales but in inverse psoriasis there are no scales because the skin folds provide a moist environment. Also, in inverse psoriasis, there is sometimes a crease in the center of the patch that may be cracked open.

Often, people have more than one kind of psoriasis on their body. That means if you have inverse psoriasis and notice patches that don't fit the common signs of the condition, you likely have another type of psoriasis, too. 

Common Places for Inverse Psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis is commonly found in skin folds. So look for it in areas such as the armpits, the groin or the crease between the buttocks. It may also be found below or underneath the breasts as well as behind the ears.

Because sweat gathers in skin folds, inverse psoriasis can be irritated by the moisture that forms. And because overweight people have more skin folds than people with a normal body weight, they are more likely to develop inverse psoriasis.

  

Inverse psoriasis may be confused with intertrigo, a yeast infection in the skin folds. Pustules that extend beyond the main patch indicate a yeast infection of the psoriasis patch.

Getting Help

While this overview of inverse psoriasis highlights its hallmark features and the conditions it's commonly mistaken for, it should not be used as a guide to diagnose the condition yourself.

If you suspect you have inverse psoriasis or any other type, contact your dermatologist or another physician about getting treatment for the condition. The sooner you get help the sooner you can get your psoriasis under control. 

A number of treatments are available to treat inverse psoriasis. These include steroid creams and ointments. In addition, because skin folds are vulnerable to fungal and yeast infections, your doctor may prescribe anti-fungal and anti-yeast creams as well or creams that can treat multiple symptoms simultaneously.

Coal tar has been found to be effective for treating inverse psoriasis as well, as are some topical creams for eczema. Even ultraviolet light therapy may effectively treat the condition. Each treatment may affect you differently and comes with some risks, such as steroid creams thinning the skin. Talk to your physician about the treatment most suitable for you.

Wrapping Up

Although many people with all types of psoriasis feel self-conscious about the condition, the skin problem is better understood than it has been previously.

Even celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and LeAnn Rimes have talked openly about having psoriasis and the steps they took to get the condition under control. While psoriasis may be uncomfortable or unsightly, if you have the condition, you are far from alone.

Sources:

Habif, Thomas. "Psoriasis." Clinical Dermatology, 4th Edition. Ed. Thomas Habif, MD. New York: Mosby, 2004. 209-39.

Schon, Michael, and W.-Henning Boehncke. "Psoriasis." The New England Journal of Medicine 352(2005): 1899-912.

Smith, Catherine, and JNWN Barker. "Psoriasis and its management." British Medical Journal 333(2006): 380-4.

van de Kerkhof, Peter. "Psoriasis." Dermatology. Ed. Jean Bolognia. New York: Mosby, 2003: 531-5. 125-37.

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