If you have seen just how severely psoriasis can affect a person’s skin, a typical question that would come to mind would be if the disease is contagious. Unfortunately, some people assume from the get-go that psoriasis can be transferred from one person to another. This is a big misconception, as psoriasis is most definitely not contagious.1
Psoriasis is a disease that you will not “catch” from an affected person or that others can catch from you, either through physical or sexual contact. Moreover, the lesions or plaques that appear in psoriasis patients are not infectious as well.2,3
It’s Inflammation, Not an Infection
To learn why psoriasis isn’t contagious, you should understand the nature of this disease: it is an autoimmune condition,4 wherein your immune system essentially views healthy cells as a threat to the body.
As a result, the cells are attacked.5 This then leads to further complications and illnesses that may be debilitating for your body. Other examples of autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Graves’ disease and vitiligo.6
Inflammation is a major symptom of autoimmune diseases,7 psoriasis included. According to Dr. Lisa Pawelski, a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,8 this inflammation is a common train of thought as to why some people think psoriasis is contagious. As she explains in an article in Everyday Health:9
“Psoriasis is an inflammation. Both inflammation and infection can appear raised, red and angry, so it's not surprising that people sometimes fear they can catch psoriasis just by touching it. But infections are caused by bacteria, fungus, viruses and other organisms that can be passed from person to person. Psoriasis is not.”
Although some patients may experience psoriasis because of a strep infection, this still does not make the disease contagious. As Pawelski emphasizes, “ … psoriasis mostly has to do with your immune system and inflammation — not infection.”10