Having psoriasis can mean that you’re constantly applying lotion, hiding your flare-ups, and searching for the next and best remedy.

Having psoriasis on your hands can be more difficult because your hands are constantly on display and in use. The psoriasis patches may also crack and bleed from washing or using your hands.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can improve your condition. Learn more about home care and the causes of hand psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an autoimmune issue. It causes pain, swelling, redness, and scaly skin.

Psoriasis appears as thick patches of skin with scales. The skin underneath is usually red and irritated. Some people with psoriasis also have arthritis, which is called psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis affects about 3 percent of the population of the United States.

Here are some of the types of psoriasis:

  • Plaque psoriasis. This is the most common type and often appears on the knees, scalp, elbows, and lower back.
  • Guttate psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis usually affects the torso and limbs. It manifests in small spots.
  • Inverse psoriasis. Shiny lesions appear in the places where skin folds, such as under the breasts and armpits and between the legs.
  • Pustular psoriasis. This form isn’t as common as the others. It produces pus-filled sores.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis. This is a rare form of psoriasis and affects most of the body with burn-like rashes.

Yes, psoriasis can make an appearance on any part of your skin, including your hands and fingers. It can manifest as cracking, swelling, or blistering.

However, psoriasis is not spread by touch. And it’s not contagious. It can, however, be genetically linked. Having a family member with the disease may increase your risk.

Palmar and plantar psoriasis affect only the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. If you’re experiencing psoriasis symptoms on your palms, you may have this form of psoriasis.

Between 12 and 16 percent of those living with psoriasis have this type.

This can be accompanied by pus-filled bumps on your hands. Treatment for this includes aggressive use of topical corticosteroids.

Psoriasis can also appear on fingers, knuckles, nails, and on the tops of your feet. Peeling and dryness can make using your hands for daily tasks painful and uncomfortable.

Symptoms in nails occur in about 50 percent of those with psoriasis. Symptoms in nails can include:

  • Changes in shape or thickness. Nails may become thicker due to a fungal infection called onychomycosis, or a weakening in the structure can cause crumbling.
  • Pitting. Psoriasis in nails can cause a loss of keratin cells, which results in small pits forming.
  • Nail bed separation. The nail itself can separate from the nail bed, leaving a gap.
  • Discoloration. A yellowish-red patch or yellow-brown color can occur on the nail bed. Crumbling nails may turn white. Darkening of the nails can occur, especially if bacteria has grown under a separated nail bed

Psoriasis of the hand is caused by white blood cells called T cells that help protect the body from disease. These cells are triggered within the body by mistake.

The increased activity of the T cells shortens the life span of the skin cells in your hand. This, in turn, causes a faster turnover of the cells, leading to skin buildup and swelling.

Hand psoriasis can make certain daily tasks like washing dishes difficult, as the skin is prone to cracking or bleeding.

If you’re a healthcare provider, nurse, or food service provider, you may be more susceptible to bouts of hand psoriasis since you’re frequently washing and drying your hands.

Certain environmental factors can make your symptoms worse, including:

  • stress
  • weather changes
  • medications
  • dry air
  • excess sunlight or too little sunlight
  • infections

Psoriasis is a chronic condition. Therefore, treatment is designed to control your symptoms, but it won’t cure the condition. Treatments can be topical, in pill form, injections, and ultraviolet (UV) therapy.

Topical treatments are most popular and can include:

  • lactic acid
  • anti-inflammatory ointment
  • moisturizers
  • ointments or creams containing vitamins A or D

Researchers have targeting biologics as a mainstay therapy to treat certain kinds of psoriasis. There are over 10 biologics on the market for psoriasis currently.

Research suggests that biologics may help patients with underlying inflammation, which can make them more prone to other health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and psoriatic arthritis.

While psoriasis is a chronic condition, there are a few things that you can do at home to help treat it and prevent hand psoriasis flare-ups.

  • Keep your hands clean, but don’t scrub them too harshly.
  • Wash your hands with warm water instead of hot.
  • Use hand soap that moisturizes your skin.
  • Take note of and avoid the factors that seem to cause flare-ups.
  • Get ample sunlight, but be careful not to get sunburned.
  • Apply lotion after washing dishes or performing tasks with your hands.

Psoriasis on the hands or other parts of the body is a chronic condition. A skin care regimen can help you manage it. If not managed, the psoriasis patches on your hands may cause skin to crack or bleed.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that everyone with psoriasis see a dermatologist for a diagnosis and treatment.

After that, if you’re continuing to experience psoriasis symptoms despite treatment, contact your doctor.

If you have joint pain or fever as well as psoriasis, discuss your symptoms with your doctor, as you may be developing psoriatic arthritis.