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Symptômes psoriasis.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that is relatively easy to identify. It can cause various discomforts, which are necessary to know and recognise. What are they? The answer is in this article.

Published February 20, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 5 min read

Psoriasis, in brief.

The psoriasis is a systemic and chronic inflammatory skin eruption. It is characterised by an excessive renewal and accumulation of epidermal cells, leading to a local inflammation. This disease tends to affect adults, with a peak onset typically between the ages of 20 and 40. Approximately 30% of cases are said to be familial and appear during adolescence. When psoriasis appears after the age of 40, it is referred to as isolated or sporadic forms. However, it affects both sexes equally.

Histological analyses show an increase in the thickness of the epidermis (acanthosis) and incomplete differentiation of keratinocytes (parakeratosis). Its manifestation is triggered by the combination of several risk factors. These include the immune system, genetic predisposition and environmental factors.The skin symptoms of psoriasis can affect any area of the body, from the ears to the tongue, including the genital areas. However, the scaly plaques are generally located on the scalp, elbows and knees. They are sometimes accompanied by a rheumatism.

The symptoms of psoriasis.

Psoriasis is accompanied by several clinical signs that are more or less visible.

Patches and flaking.

Patches on the skin and scales are the characteristic symptoms of psoriasis. These patches form due to the protrusion of skin cells produced by immune cells at the level of the epidermis.

About 90% of patients affected have plaque psoriasis. These are characterised by well-defined round or oval plaques that vary in size and often merge. They typically appear on the elbows and knees.

However, it is not uncommon for them to appear on the face or another part of the body. One of the other forms of psoriasis, the genital psoriasis, is characterised by plaques and flaking located in the genital areas. The disease takes this form regardless of sex or age.

The itching and the pain.

Itching can be triggered by an excess of skin cells. Indeed, flaking tends to cause itching. The act of scratching itself further irritates the skin and tends to exacerbate the itching. Moreover, psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that produces more cytokines. These cytokines activate inflammatory molecules that cause itching.

Itching is among the primary discomforts caused by the disease. It can be intense enough to prevent sleep. Consequently, psoriasis is a disease that can, to a certain extent, affect the quality of sleep.

The pain associated with psoriasis is caused by micro-lesions that appear on the skin. The pain is indeed intense when these lesions come into contact with sweat, an acidic liquid with a pH ranging between 4 and 7. In fact, sweat contains chemical compounds, such as lactic acid, urea, and mineral salts. When it accumulates in psoriatic lesions, these chemical compounds can further irritate the skin, which can lead to a sensation of pain or burning.

Irritations and redness.

Irritations are primarily caused by scratching at patches and scales. The more intense the scratching, the more the irritations and redness increase. They can be stimulated by friction. This could be skin-to-skin friction, if the patches are located at a fold (elbow fold, knee, groin) or from clothing rubbing against the skin.

The symptoms of extensive forms.

Psoriasis is a progressive chronic disease. Therefore, it can take several forms. These are accompanied by symptoms that are specific to them. The erythrodermic psoriasis causes fever and chills. It can also lead to a superinfection and/or dehydration requiring hospitalisation. The pustular psoriasis is characterised by non-infectious pustules covering the plaques and scales. It can cause discomfort, fever, etc.


  • SAMPOGNA F. & al. Prevalence of symptoms experienced by patients with different clinical types of psoriasis. British Journal of Dermatology (2004).

  • WEIGLE N. & al. Psoriasis. American Academy of Family Physicians (2013).


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