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Making the Best Choices for Your Psoriasis

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What to Know About Psoriasis on the Chest

Medically Reviewed By Amanda Caldwell, MSN, APRN-C

Psoriasis is a skin condition that can affect many body areas, including the chest. You may experience flat, discolored patches, raised plaques, and symptoms like itching or burning. Doctors can typically diagnose psoriasis on the chest with a clinical examination. Though there’s currently no cure for psoriasis, treatments are available to help people with the condition manage their symptoms.

This article reviews psoriasis on the chest, including its causes, symptoms, and how doctors diagnose it. It also explains how people can treat psoriasis, possible complications that may occur, and how to prevent flare-ups.

What types of psoriasis can affect the chest?

A woman with her hands on her upper chest
Liliya Rodnikova/Stocksy United

Several types of psoriasis can affect the chest.

Plaque psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of psoriasis. People with this condition typically experience plaques, or raised patches of skin, covered with silvery scales. These plaques may cause itching and pain.

Guttate psoriasis

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Trusted Source National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Governmental authority Go to source , guttate psoriasis often appears on the chest. People with guttate psoriasis typically develop small widespread lesions, sometimes triggered by an infection.

Sebopsoriasis 

Sebopsoriasis presents with characteristics of seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. Some people’s symptoms will resemble those of psoriasis but will develop in areas usually affected by seborrheic dermatitis. These areas can include Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source the chest, face, and scalp.

Pustular psoriasis

This type of psoriasis causes small, noninfectious lesions filled with pus and surrounded by discoloration. The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that pustular psoriasis has localized and generalized forms. The generalized form can affect the whole body, including the chest.

Erythrodermic psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare form of psoriasis. People with this condition can experience widespread skin involvement and severe itching, swelling, and pain.

Learn more about the effects of psoriasis on your body.

What causes psoriasis on the chest?

An overactive immune system contributes to psoriasis symptoms. T cells, types of white blood cells, activate and cause an overproduction of skin cells Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source . These skin cells then accumulate, leading to the patches or plaques associated with psoriasis.

Experts need to perform more research on the exact mechanism behind this, but various lifestyle and environmental factors may cause psoriasis flare-ups. These include:

  • smoking
  • obesity
  • infection
  • certain medications, such as lithium (Eskalith)
  • stress

What are the symptoms of psoriasis on the chest?

The symptoms of psoriasis may include:

  • patches or plaques that are dry and covered in scales
  • flaking
  • itching 
  • soreness
  • cracked skin that bleeds
  • thick, ridged nails

On light skin tones, psoriasis can cause reddish or pinkish skin discoloration. People with dark skin tones may notice patches or plaques that are darker red, brown, or purple.

Learn more about the appearance of various types of psoriasis.

How do doctors diagnose psoriasis on the chest?

A dermatologist can typically diagnose Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source psoriasis based on your symptoms and the appearance of your skin. They may also ask you about your medical history or whether someone in your family has psoriasis.

While additional testing is usually unnecessary, your doctor may perform a biopsy, taking a small sample of your skin to send to the laboratory for testing. This can either help confirm a diagnosis or rule out other skin conditions.

Learn more about diagnosing psoriasis.

What are the treatments for psoriasis on the chest?

Treatment plans for psoriasis can vary, depending on the type of psoriasis you have, its severity, and your personal preferences. Your dermatologist will work with you to design a treatment plan appropriate for your situation.

A psoriasis treatment plan may include Trusted Source National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Governmental authority Go to source :

  • topical therapies, including creams and ointments containing corticosteroids or retinoids
  • oral or injectable medications
  • biologic response modifiers to block specific immune molecules and inflammation
  • immunosuppressants to reduce your body’s overall immune response
  • phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors to reduce the growth of new skin cells
  • phototherapy, also known as light therapy, to treat affected areas
  • antimetabolites to reduce the rate at which skin cells grow and divide themselves

Learn more about the 3 stages of psoriasis treatment.

What is the outlook for people with psoriasis on the chest?

Psoriasis is usually a lifelong condition marked by flare-ups followed by periods of little or no symptoms. There’s currently no cure for psoriasis, but appropriate treatment can help people with this condition manage their symptoms and prevent complications.

Learn more about 5 signs your psoriasis may be in remission.

What are some potential complications of psoriasis on the chest?

People with psoriasis may develop complications Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , depending on the type of psoriasis they have, including:

  • secondary infections due to cracks in the skin
  • psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory condition that affects the joints
  • increased risk of lymphoma or cardiac events

Learn more about the risks of untreated psoriasis.

Can you prevent psoriasis on the chest?

It may not be possible to prevent chest psoriasis altogether. However, You can take some steps to prevent psoriasis Trusted Source National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Governmental authority Go to source flare-ups, including:

  • moisturizing your skin
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • avoiding smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and triggers
  • reducing sunlight exposure

Summary

Psoriasis on the chest may cause swelling, itching, and the formation of dry, cracked, and scaly skin. The exact symptoms can vary, depending on your psoriasis type.

There’s currently no cure for psoriasis, but many treatment options are available for treating its symptoms. These may include oral, injectable, or topical medications. Phototherapy procedures may also be beneficial.

Talk with your dermatologist about ways to manage psoriasis on the chest.

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Medical Reviewer: Amanda Caldwell, MSN, APRN-C
Last Review Date: 2023 Jul 20
View All Making the Best Choices for Your Psoriasis Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.