Inverse Psoriasis: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

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Inverse PsoriasisDo you suffer from psoriasis? If you notice any red or silver-colored smooth patches in the folds of your skin, you may also have inverse psoriasis. This chronic skin condition tends to target the armpit region, along with the groin and genital areas, in both men and women. Inverse psoriasis symptoms differ slightly from the dry, scaly lesions associated with the more common plaque psoriasis due to the warm and moist environment of their location.

Inverse psoriasis symptoms tend to flare up during the fall and winter seasons, but some patients have reported summer to be difficult due to excessive perspiration from the heat. Those who are overweight and have previously experienced bouts of psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing severe cases. Nearly two to six percent of psoriasis patients contract inverse psoriasis, according to Everyday Health.

What Is Inverse Psoriasis?

A form of psoriasis, inverse psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skinfolds in the body. Our immune system turns on us, resulting in a rapid growth of skin cells. This causes red patches of smooth and shiny skin wherever there is skin-on-skin contact. It is more common under the breasts, buttocks, arms, and groin area. This type of psoriasis can lead to plaque psoriasis, which produces large, dry, scaly raised lesions on large parts of the body.

Causes of Inverse Psoriasis

When our immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy skin cells, psoriasis can develop. But what causes inverse psoriasis? Inverse psoriasis is caused by skin friction and moisture within the folds of the skin. The reason behind psoriasis and all of its varying forms has been linked to an inherited gene. However, it should be noted that not all persons with the gene will have a psoriasis outbreak.

Each individual case of the skin condition can be triggered by different factors. Common stimulators of active inverse psoriasis cases include:

  • Antimalarial medications, lithium, Inderal, quinidine, and indomethacin
  • Stress
  • Emotional trauma
  • Koebner phenomenon of injuries, injections, sunburn, scratches
  • Respiratory infections
  • Pelvic organ dysfunction

Allergies, dirt, and the weather have also been linked to some inverse psoriasis cases, although there is no present scientific research to support this. Despite the common myth, psoriasis cannot be sexually transmitted.

Inverse Psoriasis: Symptoms and Complications

As with many forms of psoriasis, inverse psoriasis presents as red patchy skin lesions but with a distinct difference of smooth rather than scaly surfaces. This is due to the moisture and rubbing of the contact skin. Symptoms of inverse psoriasis include:

  • Deep, red patches
  • Smooth, shiny lesions
  • Pain and tenderness of the affected skin surface
  • Bleeding cracked lesions

The skin affected by this condition can quickly allow the development of complications due to the thin and sensitive areas. The continuous friction of the skin lesions can cause them to crack, break open, and bleed. This is a prime source for bacterial or yeast infections to enter the body. Some prescribed medications for the treatment of inverse psoriasis can also have the side effect of thinning the skin, increasing the infection risk.

Natural Treatments for Inverse Psoriasis

As mentioned, there are inverse psoriasis medications that can inhibit treatment, and potentially create a more serious issue of infection. There are lifestyle changes and a few natural therapies that can lessen symptoms.

1. Clothing

Wear clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton, to allow the skin to breathe and not become restricted. If you have an outbreak in the armpit or breast region, wear loose tops for comfort. You can also use baking soda, corn starch, or zinc oxide on skin surfaces to absorb any moisture.

2. Hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene with inverse psoriasis is key to keep the discomfort and outbreak at bay. Wash affected areas daily with mild soap and warm water only; do not use hot water or perfumed soaps. Moisturize skin every day and add a gentle bath oil or Epsom salts to your bath.

3. Self-Care

To avoid common triggers of the condition, find a stress-relieving technique that works for you. Take time out for yourself by enjoying fresh air and soaking up the sunshine, but only in small amounts. If you happen to be carrying extra weight, take part in a fitness program to tone your body to avoid excessive skin folds. Avoid alcohol as it can hinder some treatments.

As there is no cure for any form of psoriasis, the symptoms of inverse psoriasis may be alleviated by using traditional methods.

1. Aloe vera has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and its cool gel can sooth tender and painful skin lesions. Apply several times a day for several weeks.

2. Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty amino acids, which have been proven to aid in inflammation treatment. Take three grams of fish oil daily.

3. Oregon grape or barberry can be directly applied to the affected areas, targeting the inflammation.

When to See a Doctor?

Since the skin can be sensitive to any type of change, medical advice should be sought for any concerns. Having inverse psoriasis does not necessarily call for a visit to your doctor every time you experience an outbreak. However, it is important to keep a vigilant watch on the affected areas, in case of the onset of infection. Inverse psoriasis can be irritating and sometimes painful, but is a skin condition that can be lived with.

A form of psoriasis, inverse psoriasis stems from an abnormal immune system, and can be treated with proper hygiene and care. It is imperative to monitor the red, smooth patches of skin that appear in the folds of skin anywhere on the body. Those with inverse psoriasis have a high risk of infection due to the condition and location of the lesions. Seek immediate medical attention whenever any signs of infection are detected.


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“Flexural or Inverse Psoriasis,” Psoriasis Medication, April 5, 2016;, last accessed February 23, 2017.
Thompson, D., “Inverse Psoriasis: Hidden But Painful,” Everyday Health;, last accessed February 23, 2017.