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Is Psoriasis Contagious? Here's What You Need To Know

Is Psoriasis Contagious? Here's What You Need To Know

Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite this, there are still a lot of questions that people have about it, such as “Is psoriasis contagious?”

What exactly is psoriasis, and what things can cause a person to develop this condition? Read on to find out more.

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin condition wherein the life cycle of skin cells are sped up1. Skin cells are created in the lowest layers of the epidermis. As the cells mature, they gradually go up, right until they reach the outermost layer of the skin. Eventually, these skin cells die, slough off, and new skin cells replace the ones that have died. The entire process from the creation of skin cells right until they die take about 3 to 4 weeks.

For a person with psoriasis, this whole process only takes 3 to 7 days. This causes the immature skin cells to build up on the skin, which results in the itchy patches of scaly red skin commonly associated with psoriasis.

Psoriasis can develop on any part of the body with skin. It can also affect a person’s fingernails, causing them to become pitted or deformed.

It is also a chronic condition, and at the moment there is no cure for psoriasis2. However, there are treatments that can help people manage their condition better, as well as lifestyle changes and coping mechanisms that people can develop to have a better quality of life despite their condition.

Why Does This Happen?

Now that we have an idea of what psoriasis is, its time to talk about what triggers the sudden growth of skin cells in persons with psoriasis. Doctors believe that psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system. What happens is that instead of attacking foreign bodies and invaders, the immune system starts to attack the body’s own cells. In the case of psoriasis, skin cells are the ones that are being attacked.

And in order to compensate for the loss of skin cells, the body then starts creating even more skin cells than usual. This results in the buildup of skin cells and inflammation commonly associated with psoriasis.

Aside from its effects on the skin, psoriasis can also cause inflammation inside the body. About one in three people with psoriasis experience a condition known as psoriatic arthritis. This is where a person with psoriasis develops arthritis, which is also an autoimmune disease.

Is Psoriasis Contagious?

One of the most common misconceptions about psoriasis is that its contagious. Some people see the red, scaly skin and automatically think “Is psoriasis contagious?” But the reality is that there’s no chance at all for psoriasis to be passed from one person to another.

This is because it is an autoimmune disease, not a contagious illness caused by a virus or bacteria. You can safely be in the presence of someone with psoriasis, and even touching their skin won’t cause any problems.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Until know we’re still not clear what exactly causes the changes in the immune system that lead to psoriasis. However, we do know that a trigger can cause a person to develop psoriasis symptoms. Its possible for a person to not have any symptoms for years, and when a trigger happens, symptoms can suddenly appear3.

This is why people with psoriasis have to be aware of what can trigger their symptoms. Learning how to avoid these triggers, taking medication, and making lifestyle changes can help significantly improve the chances that their symptoms won’t recur.

Psoriasis might have no cure, but there are ways to manage and minimize symptoms.

If you, or someone you know, is concerned and wondering “Is psoriasis contagious?”, there’s no need to worry. There is no way psoriasis can be passed on to another person.

Learn more about Psoriasis here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Psoriasis – Causes – NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/psoriasis/causes/#:~:text=Psoriasis%20occurs%20when%20skin%20cells,the%20deepest%20layer%20of%20skin, Accessed October 29,2021

2 Psoriasis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840, Accessed October 29,2021

3 Psoriasis: Causes, Triggers and Treatments: National Psoriasis Foundation, https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/, Accessed October 29,2021

4 Psoriasis: Causes, https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/what/causes, Accessed October 29,2021

5 Psoriasis: Symptoms, Causes Treatment, Plaque Psoriasis, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/6866-psoriasis, Accessed October 29,2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran