Guttate Psoriasis – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The term “guttate” means to drop in Latin. Guttate psoriasis is a skin rash which is marked by red colored small rashes resembling teardrop on the arms and legs. The rash will be very small looking like that of teardrop. It is one of the most common types of psoriasis affecting more than 10% of the population with autoimmune disorder. The rash can be treated and cured completely.

Guttate Psoriasis Symptoms

The major symptoms of guttate psoriasis include small raised red spots on the skin looking like teardrops. They are either red or pinkish red in color. The spots are usually covered with scales or flaky skin. There will be moderate to intense itching.

The rashes would be seen mostly on the arms and legs, but sometimes it also occurs on the trunk and other areas of the body. Some people psoriasis would cause burning sensation in addition to itching.

Causes Of Guttate Psoriasis

This type of skin infection occurs often after the person had an infection like strep throat. Guttate psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s healthy cells are mistakenly destroyed by immune system. The infection run on families and can be passed over to offspring.

Factors like viral or bacterial infections or upper respiratory tract infection, injury or cut on the skin, insect bites or burns on the skin, intake of powerful medications, intense stress and over exposure to sun can induce guttate psoriasis. People who are in the habit of alcohol are likely to get skin infection. In addition individuals with weakened immunity and those who are treated for AIDS, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders have more risk of developing guttate psoriasis than others.


Very often, your doctor will detect guttate psoriasis by mere physical examination of the skin. He will look for raised red colored scaly rashes with well marked edges on your body. He would collect medical history of the patient to check whether he/she has been infected with strep throat, upper respiratory tract infection like tonsillitis earlier.

Often the person would have got infected two or three weeks before getting the psoriasis. He would also enquire about the list of medications like antimalarial drugs, beta-blockers and non-steroidal drugs the patient is currently taking.

If needed, your doctor will do a skin biopsy for testing it in the laboratory. In case of throat infection, culture is done for checking the presence of bacteria. Guttate psoriasis is largely seen in winter and gets reduced during summer.

Guttate Psoriasis Treatment

Often, no treatment is required for guttate psoriasis unless the person has severe itching and burning rashes. The purpose of treatment is to provide relief from the symptoms and to prevent further infection. Antibiotics are prescribed for managing infection like sore throat. Anti-itch creams that contain cortisone are useful in controlling itching. You can also use creams or lotions that contain coal tar. Apply moisturizing cream liberally on the affected skin areas to keep it moist and dry-free.

Depending on the condition, your doctor would prescribe vitamin D pills either orally or in the form of topical creams. Normally the rash would resolve within few days with simple home remedies. In rare cases methotrexate or cyclosporine is given to suppress the immune system. Phototherapy or ultraviolet B therapy is given for individuals with severe type of rash that are not responding to other creams. Creams that contain corticosteroids are effective in managing itching and for suppressing the immune’s system response. In case the doctor suspects strep infection he may prescribe antimicrobial drugs like Amoxicilin or erythromycin.

  • Phototherapy

Guttate lesions can be managed by psoralen based ultraviolet A radiation also known as PUVA. This is possible by mast cell activation for destroying guttate lesions. Either narrowband UV therapy or PUVA is administered for treating severe lesions. PUVA therapy will destroy the excess of skin growth thereby clearing guttate psoriasis on the palms and feet. However in some cases PUVA therapy may produce side effects like vomiting, itching and hypo-pigmentation effect.

  • Biologic Medications

Biologic drugs shortly called as biologics is given by IV injection for treating psoriasis. This protein cells act by blocking specific kind of proteins (TNF alpha) thereby reduces the psoriasis to large extent. To some extent, exposure of the affected skin to sunlight will reduce the psoriasis gradually since sunlight contains both ultraviolet A and B. Do not overexpose the body to sunlight causing sunburn. You need to cover the unaffected areas by sunscreen lotion while taking sunbath.

  • Laser Therapy

FDA has approved excime laser for treating guttate psoriasis which would produce high frequency ultraviolet B. Mild to moderate type of psoriasis can be treated by this method. Pulsed dye laser is administered for destroying tiny blood vessels that induce formation of lesions. To achieve the desired effect 4-6 sessions of 30 minutes each should be taken.

Guttate Psoriasis Home Remedies

Tanning beds would emit UVA or UVA light producing the same effect of PUVA therapy. Over the counter topical creams containing steroids can be used for treating mild to moderate psoriasis. Most of these creams contain coal tar and salicylic acid. Products that contain aloe vera and jojoba can be used liberally for reliving itching.

Moisturize the skin to keep it dry-free and nourished which would gradually reduce itching and redness. Oatmeal bath and adding Epsom salts on your bathtub can provide great relief from itching. Anti-itch guard ointments that contain calamine, camphor, benzocaine and menthol can be used.


Very often guttate psoriasis can be treated fully but for some it can become chronic causing lesions now and then.

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