Psoriasis affects men and women about equally, and more than 5 million adults deal with the itching and soreness of the skin disorder—about 2% of the U.S. population. As common as psoriasis is, many false perceptions about the condition persist. Here are some other facts about psoriasis you may not know.
1. Psoriasis is a largely treatable and often misunderstood condition. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/5616x3757%2B0%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F2e%2F35%2Fc044d3f246f4924a4df3dd7302dd%2Fimage-getty-529953459.jpg
One of the most common misconceptions about psoriasis is that it can be transmitted from person to person. Psoriasis is not communicable; it’s an autoimmune condition in which your immune system does not work as it should. More than 10% of people have some of the genes that lead to psoriasis, but only about 2 to 3% of the population actually develops it. Experts think you may have to have a certain combination of genes and triggers for psoriasis to actually appear.
2. It’s not contagious. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Faf%2F73%2F0d87cd944ac28d85faad9ab55389%2Fimage-gettyimages-87418613-group-of-women-eating-out.jpg
Stress, a common troublemaker when it comes to health, can make a psoriasis outbreak worse. Small injuries like scratches, sunburn or even a new tattoo can result in a particular kind of flare called the Koebner phenomenon, in which a long lesion appears near the wound. You can stop these sores quickly if you get treatment right away. Certain medications can also set off psoriasis, as can infections that activate your immune system, like strep and bronchitis.
3. Psoriasis triggers vary from person to person. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F2a%2Fba%2Fbe0ff75e48ae9a64023ba1ce3e65%2Fimage-gettyimages-491063110.jpg
The thick red patches, called plaques, that form in the most common type of psoriasis are skin cells that build up but don't die and shed like they should. Skin cells usually take about a month to turn over, but with psoriasis the process only takes a few days. The cells reach the surface before they are ready and your body can’t get rid of them, so they form scales. Your healthcare provider can advise you on medicines that can help soothe and remove them.
4. Psoriasis patches form when your skin matures too quickly. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fbc%2F8b%2F0f0d8a9b4654819acb19f74fb68e%2Fimage-allergic-reaction-itchy-skin-527394857.jpg