Dermatologist FAQ: Is Psoriasis Contagious?

Dermatologist FAQ: Is Psoriasis Contagious? | St. Louis, MissouriPsoriasis causes the development of red, scaly patches on the skin. It may appear as a rash, so one may worry about getting it from someone else or passing it to others. But psoriasis is not a contagious condition, and cannot be acquired from touching a person who has it.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) provide advanced skin care treatments to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations.


What causes psoriasis?

Although the symptoms of psoriasis manifest on the skin, the disease is actually a problem with the immune system, known as an autoimmune disease. This means that the defenses of the body overreact or react at the wrong times. This impacts the body from within and externally.

In psoriasis, the immune system causes the skin cells to grow much more rapidly than normal. They pile up too fast and cause the development of thick, scaly lesions.

While there are various forms of the condition, the most common one is plaque psoriasis. Lesions usually appear on the elbows, knees, or scalp, but may develop anywhere on the body.

These patches may feel inflamed, sore, and itchy, and may bleed and crack. Other forms of the condition may lead to tiny red spots, pus-filled bumps, or red patches all over.


How do people get psoriasis?

Scientists are aware that specific genes are linked to psoriasis. Therefore, a person is more likely to develop psoriasis if someone in their family has the condition.

Even if a person is genetically predisposed to developing psoriasis, they will also require something that wakes up or triggers their condition. It may be something physical, such as a scratch, cut, bad sunburn, or an infection like strep throat.

Certain medications, stressful lifestyle, and cold weather (which can lead to cracked, dry skin) are also common triggers. However, being around someone with psoriasis does not trigger it.

After something triggers the condition, it becomes chronic or long-lasting. This means that a majority of people will have it for the rest of their lives, but may be able to manage it with drugs and other treatment.


What about physical contact?

Psoriasis was earlier often confused with leprosy as doctors did not know what caused the condition. People with this condition were thought to be contagious.

However, now we understand that this condition cannot be passed on by brushing up against someone who has it. Additionally, a person cannot get it from having sex, kissing, or swimming in the same water.

People get psoriasis due to their genes, and not because of poor hygiene, diet or lifestyle, or other behaviors. Just as they did not get it some another person, they cannot infect others either.

Despite this, there is a great stigma around the condition, which can adversely impact individuals with the condition. They may feel ill at ease when people stare at their lesions or avoid touching them, and they may try to hide their lesions under loose, long clothing.

For psoriasis patients, talking openly with friends, family, and co-workers can help end the confusion. If you know someone who has it, ensure that they know that their condition does not impact your opinion of them or make you want to avoid being around them.

Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness and Jackie McGinness, FNP (Nurse Practitioner) receive patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for state of the art skin care procedures.
If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)

Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.

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