What is Guttate Psoriasis? Causes and Best Treatment Options

Guttate psoriasis is one of the common types of psoriasis, affecting around 10% of people and can occur in any age group, particularly those between the ages of 15 and 35. If left untreated, this condition can have a significant impact on a person’s health, appearance, and quality of life. According to experts, there are many factors that can contribute to the onset and chronicity of the disease. To better understand this condition, its causes, symptoms, and most effective treatment options, readers should not miss the useful information in the article below.

What is guttate psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis – an autoimmune skin disease – is a common form of psoriasis that develops when skin cells grow too rapidly. It is characterized by small, red, teardrop-shaped spots that appear on the skin, typically on the arms, legs, face, ears, and torso.

This is a prevalent condition affecting approximately one-third of the global population. According to experts, guttate psoriasis can occur in anyone, including children and adults, males and females, but it is most commonly seen in those between the ages of 15 and 35.

Guttate psoriasis can disappear on its own without leaving scars, but appropriate treatment is necessary to avoid dangerous complications and prevent continuous relapse. This condition is usually divided into three stages as follows:

  • Stage 1: Newly onset disease, with only a few small spots on the skin surface and a degree of impact of about 3%.
  • Stage 2: Symptoms have progressed to a more severe stage, with red spots covering up to 10% of the skin surface, causing cosmetic loss and reducing the quality of life.
  • Stage 3: At this stage, the affected skin area has developed guttate psoriasis with an impact level of over 10%, and needs to be treated to prevent dangerous complications.

Typically, the classification of different types of psoriasis is also based on the degree of impact of the symptoms on the quality of life. Some cases of guttate psoriasis may only cover about 3% of the body surface but still cause cosmetic loss, leading to anxiety and hesitation in the patient, and are classified as severe. In addition, if guttate psoriasis on the hands appears to cover about 2% of the body surface but has a negative impact on livelihood, it is classified as moderate to severe.

What is guttate psoriasis?

What is guttate psoriasis?

Causes of Guttate Psoriasis

Currently, experts and doctors are still unable to accurately determine the exact causes of guttate psoriasis, but it has been discovered that the pathogenesis is directly related to a gene on chromosome 6. In addition, there are many intrinsic and extrinsic factors that cause the disease to appear and relapse constantly. Identifying the factors that increase the risk of the disease is extremely important because it helps us to have effective treatment methods and the best prevention strategies.

Accordingly, the following factors can contribute to the development of psoriasis:

Genetics: There is a significant proportion of individuals with psoriasis who have a genetic predisposition to the disease. This means that if parents or grandparents have had this condition, their offspring are more likely to develop psoriasis. Additionally, if a pregnant woman has psoriasis, there is a higher chance that her child will be born with the condition.

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Infections: Research suggests that infections can also be a contributing factor to psoriasis. Individuals with streptococcal infections, middle ear infections, and other diseases are at a higher risk of experiencing severe outbreaks.

Allergies: Certain genes within the body can be triggered to cause psoriasis as a result of food allergies, drug allergies, weather allergies, or exposure to toxic chemicals. Allergic reactions in the body often cause an overgrowth of epidermal cells, resulting in red spots on the surface of the skin, particularly on the scalp, hands, feet, chest, and back, accompanied by intense itching.

Stress: It may come as a surprise, but individuals with sensitive nervous systems who are frequently stressed, anxious, or have negative thoughts are more likely to develop psoriasis. This is because stress is a triggering factor that activates disease-causing genes, leading to the appearance of symptoms.

Other factors: Besides the aforementioned causes, there are several other factors that can lead to psoriasis, including endocrine disorders, excessive emotional stress, mechanical or physical trauma, and more.

Specific symptoms of guttate psoriasis

The symptoms of guttate psoriasis are not significantly different from other types of psoriasis, making it difficult for many people to recognize. Some cases even confuse the lesions of guttate psoriasis with other diseases such as guttate lichen, syphilis, etc.

For this phenomenon, the characteristics are usually small red and white spots, specific manifestations of the disease are as follows:

Formation of small red and white spots with a size of only a few mm, usually scattered and rarely concentrated in one location. Guttate psoriasis usually affects the upper half of the body such as the hands, abdomen, chest, face, back, scalp, etc. These water-drop-like red spots are often covered with a layer of white, opaque scales that are easy to peel off. The white scales, if scraped off, look like chalk dust, and the amount of scales is usually less than that of plaque psoriasis and inverse psoriasis. In many cases, these red spots connect and cluster to form large patches with a size of about a few cm. Guttate psoriasis causes mild itching, and the more severe the disease progresses, the more intense the itching becomes. The symptoms of the disease often tend to flare up suddenly, especially when exposed to disease-causing agents such as viruses or bacteria.

Is guttate psoriasis dangerous?

As mentioned, guttate psoriasis is a clinical form of psoriasis, which is easy to develop and persist due to many contributing factors. Experts say that there is currently no definitive cure for psoriasis, and treatment options can only reduce symptoms temporarily. This is why patients with guttate psoriasis may worry about whether it is dangerous or not.

This phenomenon causes clearly visible red and white spots on the skin, which may be slightly itchy but do not cause pain or directly affect one’s life. However, guttate psoriasis can affect one’s appearance, leading to feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity, as well as a reduced quality of life.

If left untreated for an extended period, there is a risk that guttate psoriasis may progress to become generalized pustular psoriasis, affecting the skin all over the body. This can cause severe symptoms such as high fever, intense itching, digestive disorders, weakness, and even threaten one’s life.

Although guttate psoriasis is not contagious between people, it is hereditary and can spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms of the disease are easy to recur under favorable conditions. Therefore, patients should not be complacent and should promptly seek appropriate treatment to avoid potential dangers.

Is guttate psoriasis dangerous?

Is guttate psoriasis dangerous?

How to treat guttate psoriasis effectively?

Guttate psoriasis not only affects aesthetics and reduces the quality of life but also poses many risks. Therefore, as soon as symptoms of the disease are detected, you should seek measures to improve and prevent it from becoming severe and chronic. Depending on the severity of the disease, the treatment methods vary from using folk remedies, topical medications, to oral medications. It is best for patients to see a doctor and consult with them before applying any method.

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Using Western medicine

Using Western medicine is the most common measure for people with guttate psoriasis. There are two types of drugs commonly used: topical and oral medications. Psoriasis medications have a fast and highly effective impact, but they may have many unwanted side effects. Therefore, patients should not buy or use them without a doctor’s prescription.

Some commonly used Western medicine for treating guttate psoriasis are:

  • Salicylic acid ointment: If you have guttate psoriasis with dry, flaky skin and peeling, your doctor will prescribe salicylic acid ointment to reduce peeling, prevent keratinization, moisturize and soften the skin, and stimulate the healing process of injuries. When using, be careful that salicylic acid ointment can be absorbed into the body, so it should only be applied in a small area.
  • Corticosteroid ointment: Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory and highly effective in reducing peeling, so they are often prescribed for patients with itching, stinging skin. The corticosteroid active ingredient can inhibit DNA synthesis, mitosis, and multinucleated leukocytes, thereby reducing inflammation and killing bacteria. The medication should only be used for a maximum of 30 days, and if you want to reuse it, you should take a break.
  • Retinoid: This is a derivative of vitamin A used to treat severe widespread guttate psoriasis. The retinoid active ingredient can inhibit hyperkeratosis and hyperplasia, thereby quickly reducing symptoms and healing injuries caused by psoriasis. The medication should not be used for more than 12 months and should not be abused.
  • Oral corticosteroids: In addition to topical medications, patients can use oral medications. If guttate psoriasis appears and outbreaks occur, you can use oral corticosteroids to control the inflammation. However, the medication should only be used for a short period, about 1 to 2 weeks, to avoid side effects.
Using Western medicine

Using Western medicine

Light therapy

Light therapy, also known as photodynamic therapy, is often used to treat chronic skin conditions, including various forms of psoriasis. According to experts, light therapy can effectively control skin damage and reduce psoriasis symptoms, resulting in positive outcomes.

Generally, photodynamic therapy is performed when patients do not respond well to previous topical or oral medications. Patients with psoriasis are examined to determine the cause and extent of skin damage, and then a suitable treatment method is prescribed, such as treatment with UV rays from sunlight or artificial ultraviolet rays. This measure is performed in combination with specialized drugs to minimize the possibility of side effects.

Experts consider light therapy to be quite safe. However, during the treatment process, some unwanted side effects may still occur, such as itching, redness, skin rash, nausea, and others. Overuse or prolonged treatment may increase the risk of skin darkening, roughness, lifelessness, and even skin cancer.

What to eat and avoid for guttate psoriasis?

Experts say that diet has a significant impact on the symptoms of the disease and the overall health of the skin. Regular consumption of unhealthy foods increases the risk of disease progression and frequent relapses. Therefore, patients need to pay attention to what to eat and avoid in order to develop an appropriate dietary plan for guttate psoriasis.

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Foods recommended for people with psoriasis:

  • Green vegetables and fruits: These are rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for health and help to restore the skin quickly. You should increase your intake of green cabbage, kale, grapes, cherries, apples, etc.
  • Foods rich in omega-3: These include salmon, tuna, whole grain cereals, etc. They support the process of new skin regeneration and prevent dangerous complications. Foods high in zinc: This food group helps to fight inflammation, kill bacteria, and prevent the risk of infection, limiting the peeling of the skin. Foods such as lean meat, clams, oysters, etc. fall under this category.
  • Spices with anti-inflammatory properties: Spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric contain good anti-inflammatory ingredients that help eliminate disease-causing agents, stimulate quick recovery, and prevent complications for patients.
Foods recommended for people with psoriasis:

Foods recommended for people with psoriasis

Foods to avoid for people with psoriasis are:

  • Strong-smelling food: Seafood such as shrimp, crab, oysters, etc. are foods with strong smells that can trigger hypersensitive reactions, release allergens, and increase the risk of getting sick.
  • Foods with high gluten content: Experts advise people with psoriasis to avoid gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, rye, etc. as they can cause inflammation and delay healing of wounds.
  • Red meats: Red meats such as beef, buffalo, goat, etc. are good for overall health but they increase negative hormone production that interferes with the healing process and increases the risk of recurrence.
  • Processed foods: This food group contains a lot of fat, preservatives, and can stimulate disease-causing agents, increasing the risk of psoriasis recurrence.

Note to remember to improve and prevent guttate psoriasis

Individuals with guttate psoriasis are often affected psychologically, experience a reduced quality of life, and face other related complications. This condition is also prone to recurrent flare-ups and can progress into other forms of psoriasis. Therefore, aside from seeking appropriate medical treatment, patients need to pay attention to improving and preventing the condition at home as follows:

  • Visit a hospital or clinic to diagnose the condition, identify the cause, and receive advice on the best treatment protocol for guttate psoriasis as soon as symptoms appear.
  • Do not use any topical or oral medication without consulting a specialist as it can cause dangerous side effects.
  • When using home remedies, choose fresh and clean ingredients that are free of disease and toxic chemicals. If there is no progress after a period, stop and seek alternative treatment options.
  • Maintain personal hygiene and ensure a clean living environment.
  • Prioritize using natural sources for body wash, shampoo, and cosmetics. Wear gloves and protective clothing while doing household chores.
  • Avoid direct exposure to toxic chemicals, sunlight, and allergens.
  • Keep a positive and relaxed mindset, avoid stress and anxiety as these are factors that can trigger or exacerbate the condition.
  • Maintain a balanced diet and ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle and eliminate bad habits such as smoking, using stimulants, staying up late, irregular eating and bathing habits. Instead, spend time exercising daily, balancing work and rest time.
  • Drink 2-3 liters of water daily, including filtered water or fruit juice, to keep the skin hydrated and support the healing process.

Guttate psoriasis is a common skin condition that can be mistaken for other skin disorders. While it is not directly life-threatening, it can affect one’s quality of life and lead to potential complications. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention, identify the cause, and seek appropriate treatment options as early as possible.

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