Skip to content

Although psoriasis is very common in some families, it is not a contagious disease

Although psoriasis is very common in some families, it is not a contagious disease; it cannot be passed from one person to another. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any location. Some infants have psoriasis, although this is considered rare. Psoriasis is not contagious. It is not something you can catch or that others can catch from you. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the disease and appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. It is not an infection, nor is it contagious. It can also be very severe with thick, crusted plaques covering the entire scalp. Remember, although psoriasis is a chronic long term condition with no cure it can be controlled and go into remission (go away). If you are experiencing mild aches and pains and have psoriasis, albeit very mildly, consult your dermatologist for further advice and if necessary a referral on to a rheumatologist for further assessments will be made. Psoriasis can also run in families and much research is being done into the genetics of this disease. Certain drugs, such as lithium (a common treatment for bipolar disorder), drugs for malaria, and some beta-blockers (used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease and problem with heart rhythm), can cause flare-ups of psoriasis.

Although psoriasis is very common in some families, it is not a contagious disease 2Although psoriasis is very common in some families, it is not a contagious disease; it cannot be passed from one person to another. Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition and is estimated to affect approximately 1-3 of the U.S. population. However, it can go into remission and show no signs of disease. Although psoriasis is not contagious from person to person, there is a known hereditary tendency. Therefore, family history is very helpful in making the diagnosis. Instruction is needed to prevent mechanical injury to skin, and to reinforce the fact that lesions are not communicable. Families with psoriasis have been found to have a significantly higher-than-normal incidence of certain human leukocyte antigens.

Psoriasis is not curable, although many treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and appearance of the disease. Understanding the normal process of skin development is helpful for understanding why skin changes occur in people with psoriasis. Some of the most common areas for plaques are the scalp, elbows, knees, and back (picture 1). Guttate psoriasis is not contagious and usually occurs on the trunk, arms, or legs. However, it may cover a large portion of the body. Those with a family history of psoriasis have an increased chance of having the disease. Some people carry genes that make them more likely to develop psoriasis. General features Although most diseases affecting the skin originate in the layers. Simple benign hyperplasia (overgrowth) of the epidermis such as is commonly seen in infantile eczema often appears as lichenification, a term used to describe a thickening of the epidermis in which the normal surface markings of the skin are greatly exaggerated. In some skin diseases inflammation is the major factor in the morphological appearance of the rash (for example, acute allergic contact dermatitis). Although the mechanisms of inheritance are not clear, psoriasis, like atopic dermatitis, has been thought to be inherited as an autosomal dominant trait that pursues a chronically remitting and relapsing course.

Dermatology Services

Psoriasis is a common, chronic, relapsing, immune-mediated, inflammatory disorder with primary involvement of the skin and a strong genetic predisposition. It often appears between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can strike at any age including infants and the elderly. A normal skin cell matures in 28 to 30 days and sheds from the skin unnoticed. Is psoriasis contagious? Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterized by patches of abnormal skin. These skin patches are typically red, itchy, and scaly. Fingernails and toenails are affected in most people at some point in time. Psoriasis is not contagious. Psoriasis vulgaris (also known as chronic stationary psoriasis or plaque-like psoriasis) is the most common form and affects 85 90 of people with psoriasis. Around one-third of people with psoriasis report a family history of the disease, and researchers have identified genetic loci associated with the condition. About 35 of patients with psoriasis have one or more family members with the disorder. The most common type is called plaque psoriasis, also known as psoriasis vulgaris. In some cases, the patches can become very large and cover wide areas of the back or chest. It is not clear whether psoriatic arthritis is a unique disease or a variation of psoriasis, although evidence suggests they are both caused by the same immune system problem. Psoriasis is a non-contagious common condition of the skin which usually causes rapid skin cell replication and red, dry patches of thickened skin in classic areas like the elbows and knees. Is psoriasis contagious? No, you cannot catch psoriasis from another person or give it to someone by touching them. The symptoms most often appear on the skin of the knees and elbows, although psoriasis may occur anywhere on the body (including the scalp, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, mouth and skin on the joints). Psoriasis may be inherited as an autosomal dominant and may be seen running in some families. Psoriasis is quite common in children although congenital psoriasis is very rare. Patient reassurance is very important, convincing him or other contactants that this type of skin disease is not contagious, can be treated and needs some patience.


This problem is most common in adults and in some cases runs in families. In many advanced cases psoriasis is heard to treat and treatment may continue for a lifetime. In normal skin the old cells of the epidermis shed off about as fast as new ones are grown. Psoriasis is NOT contagious. It cannot be passed from person to person. It is more common in some families, and research has linked certain genes to the disease. Plaques can occur anywhere on the body, although common areas of involvement are the scalp, elbows, knees, shins, and lower back. In normal cell growth, keratinocytes grow and move from the bottom layer to the skin’s surface and shed unnoticed. A family history of psoriasis and stressful life events are also highly linked with the start of guttate psoriasis. Get information about the causes, tests, sign and symptoms, risk factors and treatments for psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common skin condition that can affect anyone, although it’s more common in people between the ages of 15 and 35, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. If you have psoriasis, your skin cells grow faster than normal. Long-time patients have some empowering words for you. Read about this related disease. Healthline content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Eczema and psoriasis are some of the most challenging skin conditions encountered by skin care professionals. Often, there will simply be a little red rash on the skin and you may be left scratching your own head trying to figure out how it came to be. In the past five years, researchers have established the link between filaggrin mutations and developing ichthyosis vulgaris4, atopic eczema5 and, most recently, peanut allergies.6 Ichthyosis is another skin disease characterized by very dry skin. Although it is not known why this happens, it is known that the end result is a cycle of skin cells growing too fast, dead cell-debris accumulation and resulting inflammation. Although psoriasis is very common in some families, it is not a contagious disease; it cannot be passed from one person to another. The skin lesions are generally described as red or erythematous plaques with thick white scale. A normal epidermis is replenished about every 28 days, but psoriasis causes the skin cells to multiply so quickly that it replenishes every two to four days. This new skin grows so fast the cells don’t have a chance to slough normally. Although psoriasis can resemble other skin conditions, this autoimmune disease is not contagious. There are several types of psoriasis, and some can be quite severe, affecting the joints and causing something called psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is a common skin disease that can begin at any age. Psoriasis often runs in families, and although you may not know of a family member with psoriasis frequently a distant relative (like a great, great uncle) will have been affected. In normal skin, skin cells live for about 28 days and then are shed from the outermost layer of the skin. With psoriasis, the immune system sends a faulty signal which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis is a genetic disease (it runs in families), but is not contagious. There is no known cure or method of prevention.