Is Psoriasis Contagious Sexually?

Reviewed on 4/13/2021

Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects the scalp, elbows, and knees. It is not contagious and therefore is not passed on from skin-to-skin contact, including sex.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects the scalp, elbows, and knees. It is not contagious and therefore is not passed on from skin-to-skin contact, including sex.

Psoriasis is not contagious at all, sexually or otherwise. It is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the skin to be red, thick, scaly, and flaky. 

What Are Symptoms of Psoriasis?

Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the scalp, elbows, and knees. Symptoms may worsen (flare) for weeks to months and then subside (go into remission). 

Symptoms of psoriasis may include:

  • Patches of skin that are:
    • Thick, dry, and raised (called plaques)
    • Red or dark
    • With silvery-white scales that itch or burn
  • Dry, cracked skin that itches or bleeds
  • Rashes on the genitals and in skin folds (armpits, groin, or under the breasts)
  • Nail changes 
    • Thickening
    • Pitting
    • Ridges
    • Crumbling
    • Differences in color 
  • Psoriatic arthritis
    • Occurs in some patients
    • Stiff, swollen, painful joints

Psoriasis can also cause emotional effects such as embarrassment, depression, and anxiety.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is caused by an overactive immune system, but the cause of the immune system overactivity is unknown. 

Factors that can increase a person’s chances of developing psoriasis include:

Triggers for psoriasis flares include:

How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?

Psoriasis is diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination of the skin, nails, and scalp. 

A small sample of skin may be taken (a biopsy) to help confirm a diagnosis of psoriasis.

QUESTION

Psoriasis causes the top layer of skin cells to become inflamed and grow too quickly and flake off. See Answer

What Is the Treatment for Psoriasis?

There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. Treatments for psoriasis include: 

  • Topical treatments, such as creams and ointments
    • Prescription topical treatments
    • Over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments
      • Salicylic acid
      • Coal tar
      • Bath solutions such as oil, oatmeal, Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts
      • Fragrance-free moisturizers and soaps
      • Scale lifters (keratolytics) with an active ingredient of salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea, or phenol 
      • Anti-itch treatments such as calamine, hydrocortisone, camphor, diphenhydramine hydrochloride (HCl), benzocaine, and menthol (may increase irritation and dryness)
      • Aloe vera, jojoba, zinc pyrithione, and capsaicin may help moisturize, soothe, remove scale, or relieve itching 
      • Castederm may be used for inverse psoriasis to help dry moist plaques in the folds of the body
      • Coverings may be applied over topical treatments such as cellophane, plastic wrap, waterproof dressing, cotton socks, or a nylon suit
  • Phototherapy (light therapy)
    • Ultraviolet light B (UVB): broad band and narrow band
    • Psoralen + UVA (PUVA
  • Systemic treatments
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for inflammation 

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Reviewed on 4/13/2021
References
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/psoriasis-the-basics?search=psoriasis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.psoriasis.org/