World Psoriasis Day 2019: Psoriasis and four other skin conditions that are not contagious

Psoriasis occurs when the immune system starts to attack healthy cells in the skin. It shows up as highly visible, thick, red and scaly skin patches.

Myupchar October 29, 2019 07:00:05 IST
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World Psoriasis Day 2019: Psoriasis and four other skin conditions that are not contagious
  • Psoriasis occurs when the immune system starts to attack healthy cells in the skin

  • It shows up as highly visible, thick, red and scaly skin patches

  • according to the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, psoriasis is not contagious at all

Skin diseases have always been attached to social stigma and misinformation. Since the symptoms are so obvious, most people tend to think that they are contagious. As a result, the affected person suffers twice, once physically with the disease and then mentally with all the reactions to it.

However, the truth is not all types of skin diseases are contagious. (A contagious disease can spread through direct contact with the affected person, or by sharing utensils or breathing in the contaminated air.)

Psoriasis is one such condition that has obvious symptoms but is not contagious. It shows up as highly visible, thick, red and scaly skin patches. Though, according to the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, psoriasis is not contagious at all.

World Psoriasis Day 2019 Psoriasis and four other skin conditions that are not contagious

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

On World Psoriasis Day today (29 October), let’s have a look at a few such skin diseases that some people might presume to be contagious but aren’t. 

Psoriasis

Psoriasis occurs when the immune system starts to attack healthy cells in the skin. This triggers a chain of events. First, the skin tends to get inflamed. Second, skin cells go into a growth overdrive and start replacing themselves within days rather than weeks. And finally, thick scales start to form over the affected areas.

The exact cause of the condition is still unknown. Psoriasis can flare up with stress, smoking, injury, cold and dry weather or infections. Heavy medication and alcohol can also worsen the symptoms.

Nearly 0.5 to 2.8% of the Indian population is affected by this disorder. The disease can develop at any age, though it typically starts in people between 15 years and 35 years of age.

Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is yet another condition that occurs due to a faulty immune system. A person with sarcoidosis gets red, swollen bumps on their skin (granulomas) or skin rashes. In about 90% of cases, the disease also affects the lungs, leading to shortness of breath and dry cough. Some people may also experience chest pain.

Sarcoidosis usually affects people in their 40s and 50s and is more common in women than in men.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder - you probably know someone with white patches on their skin, and have a ringside view of the discrimination they face.

The exact cause of the disease is unknown, however, it occurs due to loss of skin melanocytes (pigment cells in the skin). The condition gradually grows to cover larger areas of the skin. Some people may also lose colour from their hair and scalp.

The disease usually affects people in their 20s, but it can develop at any age. Vitiligo also runs in families. In heredity cases, the disease can be triggered by an injury, sunburn, pregnancy or stress.

Eczema

Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions. It manifests as red, itchy patches. It is not a single condition but a group of conditions including, but not limited to, atopic dermatitis (most common in children), contact dermatitis (flares up by touching certain allergens) and seborrheic dermatitis (affects the scalp and oily areas of the face and body).

Experts believe that the disease occurs due to genetic or environmental factors but what exactly causes it is still not known. It is most often seen in babies and tends to get suppressed on its own as the child grows up. However, eczema can also occur in adults who didn’t have it in their childhood. 

Pityriasis rosea

This condition starts with a pinkish rash anywhere on the skin. Over the next two to six weeks, smaller scaly spots might appear in the surrounding area and cause itchiness while they last. The disease subsides on its own, leaving black marks. The latter also disappear within six months to a year. 

Pityriasis rosea affects people between the ages of 10 and 35 years. It has no known cause and does not spread with touch.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Psoriasis: Stages, Symptoms, Prevention.

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