Guttate Psoriasis

Authored by Dr Oliver Starr, 08 Jul 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Hannah Gronow, 08 Jul 2017

Guttate psoriasis is a skin condition which gives you light red, slightly scaly marks scattered over almost your whole body. It usually happens a few weeks after a throat infection with a particular germ (bacterium) called a group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus.

Although it has the name 'psoriasis', guttate psoriasis is almost a completely different condition to the usual psoriasis. It is a skin condition that comes on quickly, usually a few weeks after a throat infection. Some medications can also cause it.

Read more about the causes of guttate psoriasis.

The word 'gutta' means 'drop' in Latin so that's where the name guttate psoriasis comes from: it can look like tiny pink drops have been scattered on the person's body. They are usually slightly raised, with a thin white scale. They don't hurt, but they can be a bit itchy.

Open access image of guttate psoriasis on arm and hand

This image shows guttate psoriasis on the back of someone's hand (A) and their arm (B).  It had come on a few weeks after having tonsillitis.

Learn more about the symptoms of guttate psoriasis.

Generally a doctor can tell what it is by the way it looks; also, by the history of having a sore throat infection a few weeks before. It is not usually necessary to do any tests.

Find out more about how guttate psoriasis is diagnosed.

Thankfully guttate psoriasis usually clears up by itself. It can take a few months to fade completely. Sometimes doctors use 'light treatment' where they beam ultraviolet (UV) light at the skin, to help it go away quicker. If the spots are itchy then a mild steroid cream can be used.

Discover more about the treatments for guttate psoriasis.

Usually it comes and goes and then that's all there is to it. In about 80% of people the spots will fade in three weeks to three months and never come back. But in some people it carries on to be long-term plaque psoriasis. Sometimes you can get a second outbreak, particularly if the streptococcus germ (bacterium) is still in your throat or tonsils.

My husband has been given Acitretin 25g capsules by his dermatologist. He's been taking them for just 4 days and has been waking up every morning with a headache which at the moment is bearable.The...

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