Psoriasis isn’t contagious, but it can appear in new areas during a flare-up. To prevent spreading, try to manage your stress levels, moisturize your skin, and follow the tips below.

If you have psoriasis, you may be concerned about it spreading to other people or parts of your body.

Psoriasis is not contagious, and you cannot contract it from someone or transmit it to another person.

Psoriasis can spread to other parts of your body if you already have it, but there are ways to prevent it from worsening.

Read on for more on psoriasis and how it works.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease. This means a problem with the immune system results in inflammation of the skin. The cause of psoriasis is not fully understood.

This immune system reaction increases the production of skin cells. As the production increases, your skin cells die and regrow more quickly.

This causes a buildup of immature skin cells, resulting in itchy patches. The patches can be red, discolored, dry, and very thick. They also may have a silvery appearance.

Your immune system and genetics play a significant role in the development of psoriasis. These affect your entire body, so you can develop psoriasis in many places. Psoriasis is most common on the scalp, knees, and elbows but can appear anywhere.

Does psoriasis spread on your body?

Psoriasis can also look and feel different depending on its location. The skin condition can also range from mild to severe. Psoriasis can become more or less severe over time.

It may seem your psoriasis is spreading to other parts of your body if it becomes more severe. But in actuality, you’re having a flare-up.

Researchers believe anyone can develop psoriasis, even with no family history of the condition. It’s thought that genetic and environmental triggers contribute to psoriasis.

Psoriasis flare-ups can be triggered by various factors, including:

  • an infection in the body
  • smoking
  • skin injury, like friction, a cut, or a burn
  • stress
  • dry air, either from the weather or from being in a heated room
  • too much alcohol
  • some medications
  • vitamin D deficiency
  • obesity

Treatment focuses on preventing the production of skin cells too quickly. There are also steps you can take to help prevent psoriasis flare-ups.

Eating a nutrient-dense diet may help reduce psoriasis flare-ups. Specific foods may be triggers.

In a 2017 U.S. survey, about half the subjects with psoriasis reported improved symptoms after reducing their alcohol, gluten, and nightshade intake. Nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants.

Survey participants who added omega-3s, fish oil, vegetables, and vitamin D supplements to their diet reported improvements.

Research has also linked higher body fat levels to more severe flare-ups of psoriasis. Talking with a doctor about your weight goals may be helpful.

However, there have been few scientific studies on diet’s effects on psoriasis. Talk with your doctor about an ideal diet for you.

Smoking and alcohol can aggravate psoriasis. Researchers say that this may be due to oxidative stress and vascular issues.

If you smoke and drink alcohol, limiting them as much as possible may prevent psoriasis from worsening.

Talk with a doctor if you need help quitting. They can recommend smoking cessation programs and resources to help manage alcohol intake.

Sunburn, cuts, infection, and even vaccinations can trigger psoriasis.

This kind of trauma to the skin can cause a response called the Koebner phenomenon. It can lead to psoriasis patches developing in areas where you don’t usually experience flare-ups, making it seem as if psoriasis has spread.

To avoid this, try these tips:

  • Use sunscreen if you’ll be in the sun for extended periods. Though some ultraviolet light may help heal psoriasis, too much exposure can damage your skin and may even lead to skin cancer.
  • Take extra care to avoid friction, cuts, or scrapes. If you do get injured, take steps to prevent infection. If you do get injured, take steps to prevent infection. Contact a doctor if you experience any signs of infection (redness, warmth, swelling, or a fever).
  • Keep a close eye on your skin following vaccinations. Vaccinations could lead to a psoriasis flare-up.

It’s not always easy to manage stress, and it can sometimes be unavoidable. From a sudden life change, like a job transition or the loss of a loved one, everyday stress is linked to increased psoriasis.

Some strategies to help you reduce stress include:

  • Keep your schedule manageable.
  • Find time for activities you enjoy.
  • Spend time with people who uplift you.
  • Keep your body and mind healthy.
  • Look into stress-reducing activities like meditation and yoga.
  • Take a few moments each day just to breathe and clear your mind.

Getting enough sleep can support your immune system and may help you maintain a moderate body weight and manage stress. All of these are important for keeping your psoriasis at bay.

Researchers recommend adults get 7 or more hours of sleep a day. Speak with a doctor if you have trouble getting enough sleep.

The following are some of the medications associated with psoriasis flares:

  • lithium
  • synthetic antimalarial medications
  • beta-blockers such as propranolol
  • quinidine, an antiarrhythmic
  • tetracyclines
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as indomethacin

Not everyone who takes these medications will experience worsened psoriasis symptoms. Still, talk with your doctor if you are taking one of these medications and think it might be affecting your psoriasis.

Always talk with your doctor before quitting or changing any medications.

Overly dry skin can trigger psoriasis. Avoid overly hot showers, which can dry your skin. After bathing, pat your skin dry with a towel and apply an unscented lotion to help lock in moisture.

You may also want to use a humidifier if the air is dry in your home. This can help prevent dry skin as well.

How do I know if my psoriasis is spreading?

If you begin to experience psoriasis symptoms in different areas of your body, you may be experiencing a flare-up.

How can I stop psoriasis from spreading?

Reducing flare-ups can involve several lifestyle changes related to your diet, skin, and mental health. In some cases, you may need medications.

Can psoriasis spread by touch?

Psoriasis is not contagious, so you cannot spread it to others.

Can psoriasis spread by scratching?

Psoriasis cannot flare up in other areas by scratching an affected area. However, scratching can increase healing time and potentially introduce an infection.

Can psoriasis spread to the private parts?

Yes, plaque psoriasis can affect the genital area.

Can psoriasis spread to your face?

Types of psoriasis can affect the face. This includes hairline psoriasis, sebopsoriasis, plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, or erythrodermic psoriasis.

Can psoriasis spread through blood?

You cannot get psoriasis from your skin coming in contact with an affected person’s blood. That said, there have been a few cases of people developing psoriasis after a blood transfusion.

Flare-ups can cause your psoriasis to worsen and spread to other areas of the body.

Factors that may trigger psoriasis include an infection, injury to the skin, obesity, and smoking.

Your triggers can help you avoid them and reduce your risk of flare-ups.