Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which skin cells develop rapidly. This can result in thick, scaly areas that can be itchy and uncomfortable. Sometimes symptoms develop on the face.
There are different types of psoriasis, which vary depending on the appearance of the dandruff and its position on the body.
Psoriasis on the face can cause a variety of symptoms and complications. In addition to physical symptoms, psoriasis can be easily visible on the face and can contribute to self-image problems and emotional difficulties for some people.
However, there are many treatments available to reduce these symptoms.
symptoms and complications
Psoriasis on the face often develops due to psoriasis
Lesions extend downwards from the scalp and may appear as red or purple itchy areas. Silvery-white scales may occasionally form.
A person with psoriasis on their face often has dead skin cells in their hair. At first glance, this may resemble dandruff caused by dry skin or skin sensitivity.
Psoriasis on the face most commonly affects the following areas: the
- eyebrows, the
- the skin between the nose and upper lip, the upper
Psoriasis of the face can sometimes affect the eyelids and extend to the lashes. This may cause red or purple discoloration, swelling, and crusting of the eyelids.
As a result, a person’s eyelashes may rotate up or down. Lash lines that rotate downwards can further strain the eye and cause inflammation.
In very rare cases, a person may develop eye psoriasis.
Psoriasis can also cause symptoms on the lips, cheeks, gums, or nose. These are often very unpleasant and can affect a person’s ability to chew and swallow food.
Although more research is needed to confirm the exact cause of psoriasis, some scientists theorize that psoriasis is the result of inflammation in the body. This can lead to overproduction of skin cells and the formation of plaques on the skin.
Psoriasis occurs due to the overactivity of T cells in the immune system. This type of cell normally protects the body against bacteria and other infectious agents.
However, when a person has psoriasis, the body releases T cells when there is no infection. The T cells then activate various inflammatory reactions, which cause the skin cells to develop too quickly.
Psoriasis lesions rarely develop only on the face. For example, a person may suffer from both facial and scalp psoriasis, or they may have lesions on various areas of the body that also randomly form on the face.
Although the causes are unclear, certain factors may increase the risk of developing facial psoriasis. This includes:
- a family history of psoriasis
- a history of skin infections
- in previous history, e.g. due to surgical
A person with facial psoriasis may find that their symptoms worsen after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as sun or a tanning bed.
Smoking can also make facial psoriasis worse.
Psoriasis on the face can be difficult to treat because the skin is thin and sensitive.
It is important that a doctor evaluates the skin and makes recommendations to ensure that treatments are not too harsh or irritating to facial skin.
Some treatment options for facial psoriasis include:
People with moderate to severe psoriasis and people whose symptoms do not respond to topical treatments or steroid treatments may choose to take biological medications.
These disease-modifying therapies can stop disease progression and reduce the number of relapses. They block certain proteins or cells in the immune system that trigger inflammation.
Physicians administer the biologics by injection or infusion. This action combats psoriasis at its root cause: immune activity. Although it is not a complete cure, it may slow the progression of psoriasis and reduce the risk of relapses.
People can apply over-the-counter (OTC) topical corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, to the face. This could help reduce the incidence and severity of facial psoriasis, but people should only use OTC topical steroids for a short term.
Hydrocortisone can cause a wide range of potential side effects, such as: thin,
- transparent skin,
- slight bruises
- Skin that is easier to rip
A doctor sometimes recommends using topical steroids as sparingly as possible. They will suggest a dosage that increases the chance of a person seeing results while minimizing the risk of side effects.
OTC treatments and home remedies
In addition to using steroids, rinsing facial skin with a saline solution can also help reduce discomfort and pain.
available OTC treatments include:
- Dandruff removal products, tazarotene cream
- or gel, an off-label treatment that is currently approved for the treatment of acne UV light
- and which a person should only use under medical supervision
When psoriasis affects the skin around the eyes, a doctor will recommend taking great care when using medication in the area. This is because many OTC treatments can damage the eyes, which can lead to the development of glaucoma or cataracts.
However, doctors sometimes recommend two off-label eczema treatments, which are particularly good for treating facial psoriasis.
These prescription drugs include tacrolimus ointment (Protopic) and pimecrolimus cream (Elidel). People taking these medications should use them very carefully and sparingly, avoiding the eyes.
These drugs are unlikely to cause glaucoma. However, their use can lead to unpleasant side effects, such as a stinging sensation.
In addition to using these topical medications, there are several precautions that a person can take to reduce irritation as much as possible. This includes:
- Use gentle, soap-free cleansers to keep skin clean
- Apply moisturizers frequently
- Apply sunscreen regularly to reduce the effects of UV rays
Frequent and thorough self-care can help a person control their facial psoriasis as much as possible.
Find out more about whether essential oils can help treat psoriasis here.
The development of psoriasis on the face can have psychological effects, such as anxiety or depression. These are both potential triggers and future complications of psoriasis and tend to subside once symptoms have subsided.
People whose psoriasis affects a visible part of their body may find the condition particularly difficult. However, psoriasis is only a small part of a person and should not define it.
Some people with psoriasis find it helpful to share their feelings with friends and family as it can help their support network understand the challenges of living with facial psoriasis.
If a person would rather talk to people outside of their personal network, they could talk to a counselor, their doctor, or a support group.
An online self-help group is the Talk Psoriasis Forum from the
Although some people are afraid or aware that another person is seeing their skin up close, it is important that people understand psoriasis.
It is also important to understand that anyone can develop psoriasis and that it is not contagious.
When should you see a doctor
If a person is unsure whether psoriasis or another health condition is causing their symptoms, they should see a doctor.
A dermatologist or skin specialist most commonly treats psoriasis. A general practitioner can refer a person to a dermatologist.
People should see their doctor for facial psoriasis symptoms if:
- Areas on the face are painful or uncomfortable
- The symptoms make it difficult to get through the day when
- Do the lesions extend toward the eyes
- They have concerns about the appearance of their skin
suffer from joint problems and facial lesions
In general, people should see their doctor if their psoriasis is causing them problems or if they would like to discuss treatment options.
Psoriasis is a chronic condition. A person may experience dandruff of psoriasis followed by remission of symptoms.
People may find that certain things make their psoriasis worse. These triggers include stress and seasonal changes that can dry out the skin.
People with facial psoriasis symptoms usually had them longer, have a family history of psoriasis, or a more serious manifestation of the condition.
However, treatments are so advanced that biological drugs can reduce the disease’s activity at the root cause, rather than just alleviating lesions and improving comfort.
The search for a complete cure continues. Although psoriasis on the face is a disturbing form of the condition, effective treatments are becoming more and more widespread.
Can I get a tan if I have psoriasis?
People with psoriasis have a complicated relationship with sun exposure. If they get too much sun, it can cause symptoms to flare up.
On the other hand, sunlight can be an effective treatment for psoriasis. Ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A are both present in sunlight, but UVB is best for psoriasis, and many people use it in phototherapy treatments.
Doctors usually recommend a short, multiple exposure to sunlight under their supervision. People should start slowly, with just 5 or 10 minutes of exposure, and then work at 30-second intervals. A person should talk to their doctor about the risk of sunburn when using topical treatments. Always apply sunscreen to unaffected areas.
Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is informational only and should not be considered medical advice.