Is Psoriasis Contagious?
Psoriasis is a disorder that affects the skin and scalp. Depending on the type, it can result in patches, also called plaques, lesions, or other types of disruptions. Common areas of the body affected are the scalp, the knees, the elbows, and the torso. However, it can affect the skin anywhere on the body, including the face and under the nails.
Regardless of the type of psoriasis or which body parts are affected, it is not contagious. Even if the skin erupts in open sores, coming into contact with the affected areas will not cause the disorder to spread to others.
The exact cause is unknown; however, it does appear to be hereditary. It is believed to be the result of a disorder of the immune system that causes the body to attack skin cells. This causes a buildup of dead cells on the outer layer of skin, causing plaques and other disruptions.
The immune system response to the buildup of skin cells worsens the condition by causing inflammation, accelerating what it believes to be wound-healing physiological response, and in some cases, lesions that fill with pus.
The most common form of psoriasis results in plaques. These patches of dead cells are dry and cause itching. In some cases, the plaques will become inflamed and cause irritation. The patches of dry skin can also flake off. When psoriasis occurs on the scalp, it is often confused with dandruff.
However, unlike dandruff that results in oily clumps of skin patches, psoriasis flakes are dry. Typically, if someone has it on the scalp, it will affect other areas on the body as well, making it easier to diagnose.
In addition to the plaque form, there are four other types. Each form is typically easily diagnosed by examination by a dermatologist, and each type presents itself in different ways.
While most cases of psoriasis result in plaques, another type, called guttate, appears in the form of very small lesions that dot the skin.
A third type, pustular, results in pustules that appear on the skin. They are full of pus, and they can break open and ooze. Severe scaling occurs with this type as well.
The fourth type is inverse, which causes severe reddening and irritation of the areas affected.
The final type is erythrodermic, and it causes a severe shedding of cells and is accompanied by inflammation. The degree of symptoms of each of these types of psoriasis can vary, with some experiencing only mild symptoms and others having severe cases.
There are various types of treatment for psoriasis, and those with the disorder may have to experiment with several before finding the treatment that works best for them.There are topical treatments that come in the form of psoriasis spray (Psoria to the right), ointments and creams; these topical treatments may contain corticosteroids, retinoids, moisturizers, vitamins, or numerous other agents.
Phototherapy, or treatment using ultraviolet light rays, is another treatment option. For those that can’t find relief from their symptoms in other ways, medications that are ingested are a third option for treatment. And, thankfully, none of the symptoms or Psoriasis itself has been found to be contagious.