Psoriasis and rosacea are autoimmune disorders that affect the skin. They involve an inflammatory response but symptoms, causes, and treatment needs are different.

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If you’re experiencing uncomfortable patches, scales, or redness on your skin, you may be wondering if you have psoriasis or rosacea. These are both long-term (chronic) skin conditions and may require treatment.

While both conditions may occur due to genetic and age-related factors, they’re distinctly different conditions.

Psoriasis can affect your entire body and cause painful, scaly plaques. Rosacea usually affects the face, especially your nose or cheeks, and causes flushing. In more severe cases, rosacea causes acne and thickened skin.

Both psoriasis and rosacea are common. In the United States, more than 7 million people have psoriasis and 14 million people have rosacea.

Psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, but you most commonly find it on the:

  • scalp
  • trunk
  • elbows
  • knees
  • genitals

Different types of psoriasis result in varying symptoms. They include:

  • Plaque psoriasis involves raised, reddish patches on the skin called plaques that may be covered with a silvery coating.
  • Guttate psoriasis causes nail problems like pits in the nails, crumbling skin, and nails that fall off
  • Pustular psoriasis causes swollen skin with pus-filled bumps, usually on the palms and soles, which can be painful.
  • Inverse psoriasis causes very red, shiny lesions in body folds.

Some people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. This causes mild to severe joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. These arthritic episodes can come and go.

Rosacea mainly occurs on the skin on the face, but it can also spread to the eyes. Several stages of rosacea cause different symptoms:

  • Early stage: You may experience flushing of the face, possibly with a burning sensation.
  • Vascular rosacea: This causes persistent flushing and redness on the face.
  • Inflammatory rosacea: You might have redness on the face, which occurs along with pink bumps and eye irritation.
  • Advanced stage: This causes a deeper shade of red or purple, and eye inflammation worsens.
  • Rhinophyma: With rhinophyma, the nose can become enlarged, bulbous, and red. This symptom occurs most often in males.


Psoriasis is an autoimmune that makes skin cells reproduce more quickly. The skin cells of people without psoriasis turn over on a monthly basis.

By contrast, the skin cells of people with psoriasis turn over within days and pile up on the skin’s surface.

Psoriasis has genetic factors, but not all people with a family history of psoriasis will develop it. A flare-up can be triggered by:

  • infections
  • stress
  • cold weather
  • alcohol
  • certain prescription medications

Read more about 29 things only people with psoriasis would understand.


Rosacea is another autoimmune condition that causes irritation and redness.

You can inherit rosacea, but other factors may also trigger it. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, several causes of rosacea include an immune response to:

  • a specific bacteria
  • a bug in the intestines
  • a mite that lives on the skin
  • a protein that typically protects the skin from infection

Other factors that can trigger rosacea include:

  • strenuous exercise
  • sunlight
  • spicy foods
  • cinnamon and foods containing the compound cinnamaldehyde (like chocolate and tomatoes)
  • wind
  • cold temperatures
  • hot beverages
  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • stress

Even though both conditions are chronic, several treatments can help manage the symptoms.


If you have psoriasis, a dermatologist will help you determine a treatment plan. They may suggest topical treatments (creams), phototherapy (light therapy), or systemic treatments (medications).

It can be difficult to treat psoriasis, so you may have to use a combination of these treatments.


Treating rosacea can take weeks or months. You may need to see both a dermatologist and an ophthalmologist if the condition has spread to your eyes. You can relieve symptoms of rosacea by:

  • avoiding alcohol, hot beverages, spicy foods, or other triggers for facial flushing
  • wearing sunscreen daily
  • avoiding extreme temperatures
  • using lukewarm water to wash your face (instead of hot water)

If your rosacea requires medical intervention, your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic. In some cases, light therapy may improve rosacea if other treatments don’t work.

There is currently no cure for rosacea, but treatment plans can help treat flare-ups.

Psoriasis and rosacea are autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. Each has its unique causes, triggers, symptoms, and treatment options. Only a healthcare professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.