Flexural psoriasis is a form of psoriasis which is found in the folds of the body, where skin frequently flexes to accommodate movement. This includes the armpits, area beneath the breasts in women, buttocks, groin, and skin folds created by deposits of fat. Like other types of psoriasis, flexural psoriasis involves the formation of large plaques on the skin which happen when the skin cells reproduce too quickly. These conditions are believed to be caused by errors within the immune system which confuse the messages sent about skin cell production.
A flexural psoriasis lesion is raised, red, smooth, and often shiny. It usually takes the form of a large blotch which can have irregular edges. People may have recurring patches in the same areas, multiple patches, or patches that migrate around. Diagnosis tends to happen more quickly with multiple patches which illustrate that the problem is psoriasis, not a localized medical issue. In other cases, a doctor may perform a series of diagnostic tests to rule out other causes before diagnosing psoriasis.
In some people with flexural psoriasis, the patches may be white, scabby, crusty, or scaly. Usually the lesions itch, and they can make the skin feel tight and uncomfortable. One problem with flexural psoriasis is that the folds of the skin tend to attract bacteria and yeasts, and people can develop infections over their psoriasis lesions as a result. Increased vulnerability to skin infections is something which patients need to keep in mind when developing a body care regimen.
Treatments for flexural psoriasis can include creams and emollients to soften and soothe irritated skin, medications to suppress the immune system, and the use of powders to prevent chafing and rubbing. Reducing chafing can help people avoid skin infections and keep them more comfortable. Because of the risk of skin infections, patients are also usually encouraged to wash the folds of the body regularly with antibacterial soap, and to make sure that they dry thoroughly after showers and baths.
This condition is also known as inverse psoriasis or intertriginous psoriasis. Individuals with flexural psoriasis may find that it helps to remind friends and family that the condition is not contagious, and it is perfectly safe to be around someone who has psoriasis plaques. Some people with psoriasis have historically faced discrimination at sites like swimming pools from people who do not understand how the condition works, and having well educated friends and family around can help patients fight discrimination.