Guttate Psoriasis: Cause, Symptoms, Treatments, and Complications

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by skin irritation. Psoriasis is characterized by discolored, thick areas of skin that are coated with silvery scales. These thick, scaly areas are called plaques.

As a chronic skin disorder with no known cure, psoriasis can flare up anytime.

Types of Psoriasis

Psoriasis comes in a variety of forms, including −

  • Plaque psoriasis − Most psoriasis cases are diagnosed as plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis affects around 80% to 90% of patients who suffer from psoriasis.

  • Inverse psoriasis − Its form manifests itself in the creases of your skin. This condition leads to smooth, scale-free plaques.

  • Guttate psoriasis − Streptococcal throat infections can sometimes be followed by the development of guttate psoriasis. It manifests as a rash of tiny, red, scaly patches and is most common in young people.

  • Pustular psoriasis − Small, pus-filled lumps appear atop plaques in patients with pustular psoriasis.

  • Erythrodermic psoriasis − This severe form of psoriasis affects a considerable portion of your skin (more than 90 percent). It leads to generalized skin darkening and scaling.

  • Sebopsoriasis − Bumps and plaques covered in a greasy, yellow scale are the hallmarks of this variety, which commonly manifests on the face and scalp. This condition is a hybrid of psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

  • Nail psoriasis − Fingernails and toenails affected with nail psoriasis often look discolored, pitted, and otherwise abnormal.

What is Guttate Psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis is a form of autoimmune dermatitis that manifests on the skin after an infection, such as strep throat. Although adults aren't immune, it most frequently affects those in their twenties. Little, red, scaly patches are the defining feature of this illness.

How Is Guttate Psoriasis Diagnosed?

Guttate psoriasis, like plaque psoriasis, is mainly diagnosed by the dermatologist based on the rash's outward appearance. Your doctor may perform a skin biopsy and a throat culture to confirm the diagnosis, and he or she may also inquire if you've ever had strep throat or any other infection. However, this is only sometimes required. Your doctor may also want to know if you've started using new vitamins or prescription drugs.

What are the Symptoms of Guttate Psoriasis?

It's not uncommon for cases of guttate psoriasis to suddenly flare up. Little, brownish spots that gradually grow are common symptoms of breakouts. Large areas of the body may be affected, or they may be limited to localized areas.

Lesions from guttate psoriasis often take the following forms −

  • compact in size

  • Drop-shaped lesions

  • ranging in color from pink to red to brown

  • Smaller than plaque, psoriasis lesions are a hallmark of this skin condition.

Guttate psoriasis has a wide range of potential outcomes. If left untreated, guttate psoriasis typically disappears within a few weeks.

Then, several potential conclusions can be drawn. Unfortunately, scientists still can't say for sure which will occur −

  • You might go away forever.

  • It could happen again occasionally.

  • Chronic plaque psoriasis is a possible long-term outcome.

Triggers of Guttate Psoriasis

The specific etiology of psoriasis is unknown, but researchers suspect it is due to a convergence of genetic, environmental, and immune system variables.

Rapid onset is typical with guttate psoriasis. The most frequent predisposing factor is strep throat.

Guttate psoriasis appears to be more sensitive to environmental variables than other forms of psoriasis.

Moreover, the following can also bring up guttate psoriasis −

  • Bacterial or viral upper respiratory infection

  • Tonsillitis

  • Stress

  • Insect bite, burn or cut 

  • Drugs for treating diseases like malaria and cardiac issues like beta-blockers.

  • Abuse of alcoholic beverages

Stages of Guttate Psoriasis

It is possible to classify guttate psoriasis and other types of psoriasis into one of three distinct severity levels. These are −

  • Mild. Not more than 3% of your skin is affected by the few lesions that are there.

  • Moderate. About 3- 10% of your skin is affected by the lesions.

  • Severe. Lesions cover more than 10% of your body and, in some cases, the whole thing.

The severity of your symptoms and the extent to which your skin has lesions are two indicators that can help a dermatologist determine the stage of your ailment.

Treatment Options for Guttate Psoriasis

The degree of guttate psoriasis affects the treatment options available. It's possible that you won't require any therapy if this is your first episode. Waiting it out to see if guttate psoriasis goes away is a viable option in some cases.

Before deciding to forego treatment, you should get a professional dermatologist's opinion on the condition and whether or not you're better off without it. Plaque psoriasis is a more severe ailment and requires treatment if it returns.

Topical Steroid Treatments

Topical corticosteroids are commonly used to treat psoriasis. As a result, they can alleviate symptoms such as inflammation, itching, and redness.

In milder situations, over-the-counter (OTC) topical corticosteroids may be all that is needed. More potent formulations require a doctor's prescription.

Depending on the severity of the condition, topical corticosteroids may be administered alone or in conjunction with other therapies. The typical usage is once or twice daily. Treatment is usually stopped once a patient's condition has been stabilized.

Topical Nonsteroidal Treatments

A topical nonsteroidal therapy may be recommended by your doctor. Standard active components in nonsteroidal topical treatments available only with a doctor's prescription include −

Synthetic vitamin D3 derivative. Reduces the rate at which new skin cells form. Because of the potential for adverse reactions to higher corticosteroids, it is occasionally used with a milder corticosteroid.

Vitamin A derivative. Vitamin A-containing retinoids are a class of chemical compounds. Psoriasis causes the body to overproduce new skin cells; thus, if these substances curb this process, it may benefit the disease. Inflammation is another problem that retinoids assist in solving.

OTC Topical Treatments

There is a wide variety of over-the-counter (OTC) topical therapies. Instead of curing the underlying disease, they aim to alleviate its symptoms. Redness, softening of lesions, and itching relief are common uses.

While there are plenty of over-the-counter and online options for topical treatments, a doctor's assessment is necessary before any suggestions can be given.


Phototherapy is often used alone or with topical medicines for mild to severe cases. A dermatologist is a typical person to recommend phototherapy.

In this process, specific ultraviolet (UV) light wavelengths are routinely exposed to the skin. It can be done at a hospital or clinic under the watchful eye of a doctor, or it can be done at home with phototherapy equipment, also with the help of a medical expert.

Other Medications

Cyclosporine. When used regularly, cyclosporine can reduce the body's immune response. These medications help by lowering the immune system's activity, reducing the body's erroneous attacks on skin cells. The condition severe psoriasis is usually treated with this.

Biologics. Small molecules, such as carbohydrates, proteins, or nucleic acids, are used to create biological medications since they are derived from compounds found in living creatures. There need to be more studies on the effectiveness of the many biologic drugs now used to treat plaque psoriasis in treating guttate psoriasis. Biologic therapy is typically reserved for the 40% of guttate cases that progress to plaque psoriasis at the present time.

Methotrexate. This medicine also has an immunosuppressive effect. It's reserved for extreme circumstances or when standard methods have failed.

Updated on: 31-Mar-2023


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