Guttate Psoriasis

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.

What is it?

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.

What does it look like?

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.

How is it diagnosed?

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.

What's the treatment?

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.

What happens after the first outbreak?

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.

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Dr Oliver Starr
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
29412 (v1)
Last Checked:
08 July 2017
Next Review:
07 July 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.