What is Guttate psoriasis?

If you’ve ever had a skin condition issue that had the look of teardrop-shaped spots, you probably have guttate psoriasis. This skin problem is characterized by small, red, and scaly spots that tend to show-up on the arms, legs, and middle of the body.

Did you know that the term Guttate comes from the Latin word which mean drop?

What causes guttate psoriasis?

This form of psoriasis affects individuals under the age of 30 and is not very common. While not being infectious, guttate psoriasis is normally linked to strep throat and can develop extremely quickly.

Many leading authorities in the field of psoriasis believe that the breakdown of the human body’s immune system creates the pathway for guttate psoriasis.  This occurs when the healthy cells of the body are mistaken for other substances.

Other conditions which could cause guttate psoriasis include:

  • Viral infections including bacterial and upper respiratory
  • Injuries such as cuts, burns, and insect bites
  • Medications including malaria and heart conditions
  • Stress and trauma
  • Sunburn
  • Excessive alcohol

Implications of severe psoriasis:

A weakened immune system can cause guttate psoriasis. People with these conditions are more

guttate psoriasis

Guttate Psoriasis


  • AIDS
  • Autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chemotherapy for cancer

What are the symptoms of guttate psoriasis?

Symptoms include itching and spots on the skin, which are pinkish-red and look like teardrops. The spots may be covered with silver, flaky skin called scales.

The spots usually occur on the arms, legs, and middle of the body (the trunk), but may appear in other body areas.

Signs and tests

Your doctor will look at your skin. Diagnosis is usually based on what the spots look like.

Often, a person with this type of psoriasis has recently had a sore throat or upper respiratory infection.

Tests to confirm the diagnosis include:

  • Skin biopsy
  • Throat culture
  • Treatment

The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent secondary infections.

If you have a current or recent infection, your doctor may give you antibiotics.

Mild cases of guttate psoriasis are usually treated at home. Your doctor may recommend any of the following:

  1. Cortisone (anti-itch and anti-inflammatory) cream
  2. Dandruff shampoos (over-the-counter or prescription)
  3. Lotions that contain coal tar
  4. Moisturizers
  5. Prescription medicines containing vitamin D or vitamin A (retinoids)

Persons with very severe guttate psoriasis may receive medicines to suppress the body’s immune response. These medicines include corticosteroids, cyclosporine, and methotrexate.

Sunlight may help your symptoms go away. Be careful not to get sunburn. Some people may choose to have phototherapy. Phototherapy is a medical procedure in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light. Phototherapy may be given alone or after you take a drug that makes the skin sensitive to light.

Expectations (prognosis)

Guttate psoriasis may clear completely following treatment. Sometimes, however, it may become a chronic (lifelong) condition, or worsen to the more common plaque-type psoriasis.

  • Complications
  • Pain
  • Secondary skin infections

guttate psoriasis

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