Author: Dr Amy Stanway, Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2004.
What is guttate psoriasis?
Guttate psoriasis is psoriasis that is characterised by multiple small scalyplaques that tend to affect most of the body. ‘Gutta’ is Latin for drop; guttate psoriasis looks like a shower of red, scaly tear drops that have fallen down on the body. Lesions are usually concentrated around the trunk and upper arms and thighs. Face, ears and scalp are also commonly affected but the lesions may be very faint and quickly disappear in these areas. Occasionally there may be only a few scattered lesions in total.
The diagnosis of guttate psoriasis is made by the combination of history, clinical appearance of the rash, and evidence for preceding infection.
The rash comes on very quickly, usually within a couple of days, and may follow a streptococcal infection of the throat. It tends to affect children and young adults and has a good chance of spontaneously clearing completely.