Is Psoriasis Contagious?

November 12, 2012

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

Psoriasis is an unpleasant and unsightly skin condition that is sore and itchy. It is generally treated with prescribed medicated creams.

Psoriasis is a fairly common, chronic skin condition which causes the patient to have raised patches of red, scaly skin which may also have pustules. Psoriasis is commonly found on the limbs, trunk, scalp and nails but can appear anywhere. It is only natural, when seeing a case of psoriasis, to ask is psoriasis contagious?

Causes of psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition caused by a faulty immune system which causes skin cells to renew themselves more rapidly than they should. A normal skin cell cycle lasts around 30 days during which new skin is growing beneath the skin’s surface and as old cells are sloughed off during normal everyday life the new cells replace them. In a psoriasis patient the renewal process is much quicker, new cells appear before the old ones have disappeared, it is this which causes the raised, scaly, extreme flakiness of the skin which is the usual trigger for the questions is psoriasis contagious? The answer is, of course, no – since psoriasis is a disease of the immune system it is not possible to ‘catch’ it from anyone. Psoriasis has no age, gender or race barriers although diagnosis is usually made in early adulthood.

Risk factors for psoriasis

Whilst a specific cause for psoriasis has yet to be found there are, however, some known risk factors, these include

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Diet

  • Smoking

  • Vitamin D deficiency

Types of psoriasis

The most common type of psoriasis is psoriasis vulgaris, the other variants are -

  • Guttate psoriasis which has the appearance of small, drop like spots

  • Inverse psoriasis which occurs in the folds of the skin

  • Pustular psoriasis which causes small blisters filled with pus

  • Palmoplantar psoriasis involves the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet

  • Psoriasis in the nails may be confused with a fungal infection and may cause separation of the nail bed from the nail.

  • Psoriatic arthritis, as the name suggests occurs in the joints in as many as 35% of sufferers. Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory destructive form of arthritis which generally appears in the 30s.

The appearance of tiny blood spots on the skin, usually occurring when the skin flakes are removed, is an aid to diagnosis called the Auspitz sign. These tiny red spots may well prompt the question, is psoriasis contagious? in onlookers or patients.

Treatment

As there is no specific cause for psoriasis so there is, as yet, no effective cure merely treatments and medications which will seek to alleviate the symptoms and improve the patients quality of life. When first diagnosed most patients are probably greatly concerned about their condition and will no doubt want to know – is psoriasis contagious? However, of greater concern will be the treatment regime which can be unpleasant in itself.

  • Mild psoriasis, where only small areas of the body are affected, will typically be treated with topical creams, lotions or sprays. Any tough or resistant areas of psoriasis plaque may be injected with steroids.

  • Moderate to severe psoriasis covering a greater area of skin may require ultra-violet light treatments or medications.

  • For patients with psoriatic arthritis medication is generally required to stop the progression of the disease.

Is psoriasis contagious?

Psoriasis is an unpleasant and distressing skin condition and it is not surprising that many people are prompted to ask the question is psoriasis contagious? The answer is most definitely not.

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