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What is Inverse Psoriasis?

By Elle Jay
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Inverse psoriasis strikes sensitive parts of the body and is a particularly irritating and uncomfortable form of psoriasis. The rash accompanying this condition is bright red and generally does not exhibit the scaly appearance of plaque psoriasis. This is one of the rare types of psoriasis, and it can occur with other psoriasis outbreaks.

Also known as flexural psoriasis, this rash affects areas where skin touches skin. Inverse psoriasis appears in armpits, genitals, and the groin area, under the breasts, and in skin folds around the abdomen. Since the rash flourishes in parts of the body with plentiful skin folds, overweight and obese people may be at higher risk for developing flexural psoriasis.

Vivid red lesions with a shiny and smooth appearance may indicate inverse psoriasis, especially for those already suffering from other types of psoriasis. Symptoms in addition to the rash can include irritation, itching, and increased sensitivity in the affected area. This type of psoriasis rash is not dry and scaly, like the rash that comes with an outbreak of plaque psoriasis. Flexural psoriasis exhibits the same look and symptoms of some yeast and fungal infections.

Topical creams and light therapy are the two most common treatments for this psoriasis rash. Over-the-counter treatments may provide sufficient relief of the symptoms, and the problem generally dissipates with time. Light therapy may be preferred for treating this condition on the genitals and surrounding area. The skin in this region is thin and may be sensitive to cream or ointment. Treatment speed and effectiveness vary, depending on the person afflicted and the severity of the condition.

Doctors treat other types of psoriasis with cortisone or steroid products, but this is not recommended with inverse psoriasis. These medications may cause further damage to the highly sensitive skin in areas prone to flexural psoriasis rash. The process of occlusion, in which ointment is applied and the rash is covered with plastic, is also not recommended when treating this condition.

In extreme cases, an inverse psoriasis rash can be painful and debilitating. Treatment providers may care for severe outbreaks with an injection or oral medication. This type of administration delivers the drugs directly into the body and may lead to faster healing and symptom relief.

Research has not found a definitive cause for inverse psoriasis, although there are some known contributing factors. Genetics may play a role in development of psoriasis, and obesity can increase the occurrence of inverse psoriasis. Excess sweating may irritate skin folds and cause a rash to flare up. Stress is another trigger for many types of psoriasis, including flexural psoriasis.

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