Is Psoriasis Genetic Is Psoriasis Genetic

Is Psoriasis Genetic?

  • Psoriasis is a common skin condition that impacts the lives of more than seven million individuals.

  • Psoriasis is often inherited, with genetic factors playing a significant role in its development. It is commonly passed down through generations from parents to their children.

  • You can still develop it if you are not genetically predisposed to psoriasis. This is a rare occurrence, however.

  • Psoriasis can be treated using various methods, including topical medications, phototherapy, systemic drugs, and biologic medications.

Psoriasis can affect mental and emotional well-being due to its visibility to others. The chronic nature of the condition, coupled with symptoms like itching and pain, can significantly diminish one's overall quality of life.

If you're living with psoriasis, you may be curious about the hereditary aspect of this condition.

While a family history of the condition does increase the risk of developing psoriasis, it is not a requirement. Psoriasis can also occur in individuals without any genetic predisposition.

This article explores the connection between psoriasis and genetic factors and delves into the various treatment choices accessible to individuals with the condition.

What Is Psoriasis?

Symptoms of psoriasis include red, scaly patches on the skin, itching, and burning. Treatment options include topical creams, ointments, lotions, light therapy, oral medications, and injections.

This overproduction of new skin cells caused by the attack of T-helper lymphocytes leads to thick, scaly patches on the skin surface. As a result, the existing skin cells are pushed out, creating a cycle of rapid skin cell turnover.

The skin develops red and inflamed patches known as plaques due to the excessive production of cells.

Psoriasis is characterised by periods of exacerbation, during which symptoms intensify, followed by periods of remission, in which symptoms diminish or vanish entirely.

The exact reasons behind the immune system's attack on skin cells remain unclear, but studies indicate that a combination of genetic predisposition and external factors could contribute to this phenomenon.

What Are The Different Types Of Psoriasis?

Psoriasis exists in various forms, each displaying distinct characteristics that set them apart.

Guttate Psoriasis

Commonly seen in young adults, small, droplet-shaped lesions tend to appear on the upper torso.

Psoriatic Arthritis

This condition is characterised by persistent joint inflammation, particularly in the fingers and toes, leading to swelling and discomfort.

Generalised Pustular Psoriasis

This particular form of psoriasis, known as pustular psoriasis, is an uncommon variant that typically manifests as widespread pustules covering the skin.

Inverse Psoriasis

These red patches commonly appear as marks in lighter skin tones and take on a purple hue in darker skin tones when they manifest in the creases of the skin.

Psoriatic Onychodystrophy

Nail psoriasis, a prevalent condition among individuals with psoriatic arthritis, manifests as psoriasis specifically targeting the nails.

Seborrheic-Like Psoriasis

Seborrheic dermatitis and this skin condition have overlapping symptoms, such as itchiness, flaking, and scalp inflammation. They are both characterised by similar signs and can be difficult to distinguish from each other.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis, the rarest form of the condition, results in a widespread red appearance across the entire body. On the other hand, scalp psoriasis manifests as itchy and painful patches, specifically on the scalp.

Pustular Psoriasis

These blisters, accompanied by scaly skin, can manifest on any body part.

Psoriasis Vulgaris

The development of red characterises the most prevalent type of psoriasis, raised patches of skin covered with silver-coloured scales.

Plaque Psoriasis

These raised and itchy skin patches commonly manifest on the elbows and knees, causing discomfort and dryness.

Key Point: The Most Common Symptoms Of Psoriasis

Psoriatic skin is characterised by dry skin lesions covered in scales, which can manifest on various parts of the body, such as the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Further research is needed to understand psoriasis's causes fully, but two primary factors are believed to contribute to its development.

Genetic Factors

Psoriasis has a hereditary component, with research showing that individuals are more likely to develop the condition if it runs in their family. A parent with psoriasis increases susceptibility to the disease, indicating a genetic predisposition.

A family history of psoriasis significantly increases your chances of developing the condition, with a 28% chance if one parent has it and a 65% chance if both parents are affected.

While it is rare to develop psoriasis without a family history, there have been documented cases where individuals without a family background have experienced this hereditary disease.

Environmental Factors

Both genetic factors and environmental triggers are necessary for developing psoriasis, as researchers have discovered.

Later in this article, we will delve deeper into the various environmental risk factors associated with psoriasis, including smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity.

Psoriasis Research And Discoveries

This section will explore the extensive research on psoriasis, explicitly focusing on the relationship between skin cells and genetics.

What We Know About Psoriasis Cells

Multiple studies have demonstrated that many cytokines in the affected skin cells are a common characteristic of the condition, as these proteins can initiate the inflammatory response within the body.

Furthermore, these gene mutations, known as alleles, are believed to play a significant role in the development and progression of psoriasis. By understanding the specific alleles involved, researchers can gain insights into the underlying mechanisms of the disease and potentially develop more targeted treatments.

These genes contribute to your vulnerability to psoriasis, as they are closely linked to a specific chromosome commonly inherited within families affected by the illness.

Key Point: How Do Researchers Identify Psoriasis Genes?

To determine which genes contribute to psoriasis, scientists must first identify the genetic variations that are more prevalent in individuals with the condition. This involves analysing large sets of genetic data and comparing them to control groups to identify the specific genes and variants associated with the disease.

They then investigate what these genes look like when they're functioning normally. Finally, they examine how each gene behaves differently in someone with psoriasis.

What We Know About Genes

Recent research has revealed two additional genetic variants that have been linked to the development of psoriasis. These findings contribute to our understanding of the complex genetic basis of the disease.

CARD14: Alterations to this particular gene can lead to excessive inflammation throughout the body.

IL23R: It plays a crucial role in the functioning of the immune system while also promoting inflammation within the body.

Key Point: More Research Is Needed

To gain a more comprehensive comprehension, further investigation is needed to explore the link between psoriasis and genetic factors.

Although research has identified approximately 25 genetic components potentially linked to psoriasis, the exact mechanisms of inheritance still need to be fully comprehended. While the evidence supports the genetic influence on psoriasis, the precise transmission patterns remain elusive.

The Complex Connection Between Genetics And The Environment

Now, let's delve deeper into the environmental factors contributing to developing this skin condition.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal shifts, especially during puberty, menopause, and pregnancy, have been found to trigger the development of psoriasis in women potentially, according to research findings.

During puberty, the body experiences hormonal changes that can exacerbate or initiate psoriasis, as indicated by a study.

The decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can exacerbate psoriasis symptoms in women, particularly those who already have the condition.

Researchers believe that the drop in levels of estrogen and progesterone after childbirth may contribute to the increased risk of psoriasis in pregnant women. This hormonal imbalance can disrupt the immune system and lead to the development of psoriasis symptoms.


Certain medications have the potential to initiate the occurrence of psoriasis or exacerbate existing symptoms. In certain instances, individuals may continue to experience the development of this condition even after discontinuing the use of the medication.

The study identified certain medications that can potentially trigger psoriasis.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Lithium

  • Antibiotics

  • Beta-blockers

These medications can potentially exacerbate psoriasis symptoms due to their impact on the body's inflammatory response.

Smoking And Alcohol Consumption

In addition to smoking, excessive alcohol consumption has also been found to contribute to the onset of psoriasis. The consumption of alcohol can disrupt the immune system and trigger inflammatory responses, further exacerbating the symptoms of psoriasis.

Quitting smoking has been proven to reduce the risk of developing psoriasis, according to research findings.

Stress And Anxiety

Stress can lead to increased inflammation and itching, worsening psoriasis symptoms. Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety to reduce inflammation and help relieve psoriasis symptoms is essential.

The relationship between stress and psoriasis is cyclical. Stress can trigger flare-ups of psoriasis, which can then cause increased stress levels, leading to a further worsening of the condition.


Although weather conditions do not directly cause psoriasis, it is widely recognised that changes in seasons can impact the intensity of symptoms experienced by individuals with this skin condition.

The fluctuating nature of psoriasis symptoms has been observed to follow a seasonal pattern, with individuals experiencing fewer flare-ups during warmer months and heightened symptoms during winter.

Infection Or Injury

Elevated levels of cytokines, a result of infections, have been linked to the development of psoriasis in individuals.

Psoriasis can be triggered by various factors, including underlying medical conditions like HIV, as well as infections such as strep throat and certain viruses. Additionally, injury to the skin, such as sunburn or insect bites, can lead to psoriasis symptoms due to inflammation.


Carrying excess weight can contribute to the development of psoriasis due to its association with metabolic syndrome, a collection of health conditions linked to psoriasis.

The link between psoriasis and metabolic syndrome was highlighted in a study, revealing that a significant percentage of individuals with psoriasis also suffer from metabolic syndrome. This association can be attributed to shared underlying factors, including inflammation, which has been recognised as a trigger for psoriasis.

When Should I Seek Medical Attention For Psoriasis?

It is crucial to seek treatment for suspected psoriasis as severe cases can develop cracked and bleeding skin around the joints, increasing the risk of infections.

Treatment options primarily focus on slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells and minimising inflammation to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis and enhance patients' quality of life. Although psoriasis cannot be cured entirely, numerous treatments are available to manage the condition effectively.

Some of the treatment options that are frequently used include

  • Topical Therapies: Thus, topical medications offer an effective way to treat many skin problems.

  • Phototherapy: Psoriasis symptoms can be effectively managed by applying ultraviolet (UV) light to the skin.

  • Systemic Drugs: Individuals who have not experienced improvement with alternative therapies are commonly prescribed these medications as they have systemic effects that impact various areas of the body.

  • Biologic Drugs: These medications inhibit the activity of specific immune system proteins linked to psoriasis development.

Mobi Doctor offers a convenient way to access licensed medical professionals specialising in psoriasis treatment. Whether you have concerns or have already been diagnosed, our healthcare providers will work closely with you to develop a personalised care plan tailored to your needs.

Connect with one of our doctors at Mobi Doctor with the click of a button and receive the care you require.


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