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Last Updated on September 22, 2023

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. However, among its various forms, vulgar psoriasis, or plaque psoriasis, is the most common. Moreover, it presents raised, red, scaly patches of skin, and while it may not be life-threatening, it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. However, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and latest treatment options to manage psoriasis effectively.

Understanding Vulgar Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis or vulgar psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder that presents an accumulation of skin cells. Moreover, this leads to the formation of thick, raised, red, and scaly patches known as plaques. Furthermore, itching and discomfort are associated with these plaques, which vary in size and severity. However, this type of psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, affecting approximately 80-90% of individuals with psoriasis.

Types of Psoriasis

While vulgar psoriasis is the most prevalent form of the condition, there are several other types of psoriasis, each with its unique characteristics.

Guttate Psoriasis

This condition involves small, red, dot-like lesions, often triggered by streptococcal infections.

Inverse Psoriasis

Affecting the skin folds (such as the armpits, groin, and under the breasts), it presents as smooth, red patches without scales.

Pustular Psoriasis

It involves the formation of pus-filled blisters (pustules) on the skin.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

A severe and rare form of psoriasis that can affect the entire body, leading to widespread redness, shedding of skin, and severe itching.

The Role of the Immune System

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder resulting from an abnormal immune response. The exact cause of this immune system malfunction is not fully understood, however, it is said to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Let’s explore these factors in more detail.

Causes and Triggers of Vulgar Psoriasis

Genetic Predisposition

Family history plays a significant role in the development of psoriasis. However, in recent years, specific genes associated with psoriasis have been identified, including those related to the immune system and skin cell growth. Furthermore, these genetic factors can make some individuals more susceptible to psoriasis when exposed to certain triggers.

Environmental Factors

While genetics plays a crucial role in psoriasis development, environmental factors also contribute significantly. However, common triggers and environmental factors associated with the onset or exacerbation of vulgar psoriasis include


This is a well-known trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. Nevertheless, stress can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation, contributing to psoriasis symptoms. However, managing stress through relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and stress-reduction strategies may help mitigate the impact of stress on psoriasis.


Infections, particularly streptococcal infections like strep throat, can trigger guttate psoriasis in some individuals.

Medications and Psoriasis

Certain medications are known to exacerbate psoriasis. Importantly, if you suspect that a medication you are taking is affecting your psoriasis, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider.

What Are The Symptoms of Vulgar Psoriasis?

Plaque Formation

The hallmark of this condition is the formation of plaques, which are raised, red, and scaly patches of skin. Moreover, these plaques can vary in size from small spots to larger patches and have defined borders and a silvery-white scale that covers the surface.

Nail Psoriasis

Nail psoriasis is a common manifestation of this condition. Moreover, it can lead to various nail changes, which include:

  • Pitting: The development of small depressions or dents in the nails.
  • Discoloration: Nails may become yellowish or brownish.
  • Thickening: Nails can become thicker and more brittle.
  • Separation: Separation of the nail from the nail bed, known as onycholysis.
  • Oil Spots: The appearance of small, yellowish-red spots under the nails.

Psoriatic Arthritis

In addition to skin symptoms, some individuals with vulgar psoriasis may develop a type of inflammatory arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Moreover, psoriatic arthritis can cause joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, often in the fingers and toes. However, it can be a debilitating condition requiring prompt treatment to manage skin and joint symptoms.

Diagnosis and Differential Diagnosis

Physical Examination

However, diagnosing vulgar psoriasis begins with a thorough physical examination by a healthcare provider, usually a dermatologist. Moreover, the presence of plaques, their distribution, and appearance can provide valuable diagnostic information.


In some cases, a skin biopsy is performed to confirm the diagnosis. During a biopsy, a small sample of skin tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. However, the histological features of psoriasis, including the presence of abnormal skin cell growth and inflammation, can help confirm the diagnosis.

Living with Psoriasis

Psychological Impact

Furthermore, living with psoriasis can impact individuals psychologically, leading to feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment, and anxiety. Additionally, the psychological effects of psoriasis may include

Low Self-Esteem

Individuals with psoriasis may experience a diminished sense of self-worth due to the appearance of their skin.


Moreover, psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of depression, with the emotional toll of the condition often leading to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

Social Isolation

Fear of judgment or misunderstanding may lead some individuals to withdraw from social activities and relationships.

Coping Strategies

Managing the emotional impact of vulgar psoriasis is an essential aspect of overall well-being. However, coping strategies that can help individuals with psoriasis include:

Stress Management

Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga can help manage stress, which may, in turn, improve psoriasis symptoms.

Professional Help

In some cases, therapy or counseling may be beneficial for individuals experiencing emotional distress related to psoriasis.

Support Groups

Support groups can provide a platform for sharing experiences, tips, and emotional support. Connecting with others who understand the challenges of living with psoriasis can help individuals feel strength.

Vulgar Psoriasis Treatment

Managing psoriasis involves a combination of treatments tailored to the severity and extent of the condition. However, the treatment options include

Topical Treatments

Topical vulgar psoriasis treatments are applied directly to the skin and are often the first line of defense against psoriasis. Common topical treatments include:

Corticosteroids: These anti-inflammatory medications can reduce redness, itching, and inflammation.

Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: These medications, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, suppress the immune response in the skin, helping to reduce psoriasis symptoms.

Topical Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A, retinoids can slow skin cell growth and reduce inflammation.

Coal Tar: Coal tar products can help alleviate itching and scaling associated with psoriasis.

Salicylic Acid: Used in combination with other treatments, salicylic acid can help remove scales and improve the effectiveness of other medications.

Topical Vitamin D Analogues: These medications can slow skin cell growth and reduce inflammation.


Phototherapy or light therapy involves exposing the skin to controlled ultraviolet (UV) light. Most importantly, this treatment can slow the excessive growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. Additionally, there are many ways to administer phototherapy.

UVB Phototherapy:

Narrowband UVB and broadband UVB are common forms of UVB phototherapy. However, treatments are typically administered in a medical setting, using special equipment.

PUVA Therapy:

This involves combining a light-sensitizing medication called psoralen with UVA light exposure. However, it is often used for individuals with more severe psoriasis.

Systemic Medications

Importantly, it is necessary to take systemic medications for individuals with moderate to severe vulgar psoriasis. Systemic treatments include

  • Oral Retinoids
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine


Biologic drugs are a newer class of medications that target specific proteins in the immune system involved in the inflammatory response. Moreover, biologics are administered by injection or intravenous infusion and are often prescribed for individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

Natural Remedies and Complementary Therapies

While medical treatments are the primary approach to managing vulgar psoriasis, some individuals explore natural remedies to complement their treatment plans which include:

Aloe Vera

Some people with psoriasis find relief from itching and redness by applying aloe vera gel to affected areas.

Oatmeal Baths

Colloidal oatmeal baths can help relieve itching and inflammation associated with psoriasis. Nonetheless, adding finely ground oatmeal to a warm bath can provide soothing relief.


Some individuals incorporate turmeric supplements or turmeric-containing foods into their diet to help manage vulgar psoriasis symptoms.

Mind-Body Therapies

Stress reduction techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises, can help manage stress, which may improve psoriasis symptoms.

Ongoing Psoriasis Clinical Studies

Ongoing studies aim to uncover more targeted treatment options that address the underlying causes of the condition while minimizing side effects.

Potential Breakthroughs

Researchers are also exploring the use of small molecules and gene therapies to target psoriasis at a molecular level.

Patient Advocacy and Awareness

Psoriasis advocacy groups and patient organizations play a crucial role in raising awareness about the condition.


In conclusion, Living with vulgar psoriasis can be challenging, both physically and emotionally, but with proper treatment and support, many individuals with psoriasis can lead healthy, fulfilling lives and manage their condition effectively. However, advocating for research, raising awareness, and connecting with support groups can contribute to a brighter future for those affected by psoriasis.


MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

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