Can you prevent psoriasis?
Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot spread between people. It can, however, spread from one area of the body to another, especially if it is left untreated.
How to prevent psoriasis from spreading
Psoriasis is a common immune system disease that affects the skin. It can be painful and embarrassing, and people with psoriasis may find that others treat them differently during a flare-up.
Does psoriasis spread?
People who have never seen psoriasis before may assume that it is infectious. However, psoriasis is not a contagious disease, and the scaly patches it causes will not spread to another person.
However, psoriasis often spreads from one location to another.
This is not because the damaged skin infects other parts of the body but because the immune system process that causes psoriasis can get worse.
Depending on the type of psoriasis a person has, a psoriasis rash can develop in a variety of places on the body. Most people with psoriasis have plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis often spreads to the outer elbows, knees, and scalp, though it can spread anywhere.
A severe form of psoriasis called erythrodermic psoriasis spreads over much of the body, causing bright red patches. This type of psoriasis is rare and can be life-threatening, so people experiencing psoriasis that spreads rapidly and is very red should see a doctor immediately.
Some people that have one type of psoriasis may also develop a different kind of psoriasis, such as inverse psoriasis. Inverse psoriasis often shows up in skin folds, such as in the armpits.
Triggers for psoriasis outbreaks
People who have a genetic risk for psoriasis might develop their first outbreak after coming into contact with a trigger. This means that a person’s psoriasis is caused by an interaction between their genes, immune system, and environment.
Some common triggers for psoriasis outbreaks include:
- skin injuries, including vaccines and sunburns
- infections, including both skin and other infections
- some medications, including lithium, drugs used to treat malaria, some heart and blood pressure medications, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called Indomethacin.
Most people experience psoriasis in the form of flare-ups. A psoriasis flare may begin as a small patch that spreads, then gradually gets better. Most flare-ups are triggered by something.
Scratching a psoriasis rash does not cause it to spread from one location to another. However, it may slow the healing process, creating the appearance that psoriasis is spreading.