Psoriasis does not lead directly to scarring, but it causes lesions that can be itchy. If the itching is severe and a person scratches the area, this can result in delayed healing, hyperpigmentation, and possible scarring.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, and other organ systems.

It causes raised, scaly plaques to form on various body areas. The plaques can be very itchy and thick. They may appear anywhere on the skin.

In addition to scratching, skin affected by psoriasis can become dry and might crack and break. Both of these factors can lead to scarring, and any scars that form may be permanent.

However, receiving the right treatment and taking certain steps can reduce the risk of scarring.

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Psoriasis scars can happen for a number of reasons, including when:

  • a person breaks the skin by scratching it, causing bleeding
  • continued scratching leads to open sores and skin infection
  • cracks or breaks form in the dry skin of severely affected areas

With the right care, however, most people’s skin will improve after a psoriasis flare with fewer lesions and no scars.

After a psoriasis relapse, skin discoloration often remains for a while before clearing. This discoloration is not a scar. Doctors typically call it post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Managing skin symptoms during a flare, especially itching, can reduce the risk of scarring.

If scarring does occur, treatment can help reduce the appearance or worsening of scars.

A doctor will make recommendations for treatment depending on the extent of the scarring and the reason that it developed.

Topical treatments

These treatments may help reduce the appearance of scar tissue that has formed or prevent it from worsening.


Sunscreen, especially mineral-based sunscreen, is recommended for all scars. Consistently using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 helps protect against scar discoloration that can result from sun exposure.

Sunscreen can also help prevent psoriasis symptoms from worsening due to excessive sun exposure.

However, exposure to the sun might also decrease flares. Some people with psoriasis benefit from limiting or managing their exposure to the sun. A person can speak with a doctor about how much and what type of exposure they need.

Silicone gel

Silicone gel or silicone gel sheets often flatten or soften thick, raised scars during the healing process. These are available over the counter and people can typically apply them to the affected area daily.

That said, experts need to conduct more research to understand exactly how they work for scar healing.

People using silicone sheets for psoriasis scars should take care to make sure any adhesive bandages do not rip off and irritate the skin, which could cause a flare.

Tretinoin cream

A doctor may prescribe a medication called tretinoin to reduce scarring. A type of chemical called retinoids, such as tazarotene, may also help. The main aim of these medications is not to treat scarring. However, a doctor may prescribe them off-label for this purpose.


Dermabrasion can help with scarring that remains after a flare. However, skin injuries can trigger psoriasis symptoms, and doctors do not often recommend this treatment for people with psoriasis.

The best way to help prevent scarring is to take steps to minimize flares, prevent breaks in the skin, and avoid infections in affected areas whenever possible.

There are also some treatment options to help with prevention.

Topical treatments

Products containing the following ingredients may help reduce flares and the risk of scarring when applied to the skin.

Salicylic acid

This is a common ingredient in over-the-counter psoriasis treatments. It helps remove dead skin cells and reduce scaling. It is also available by prescription. Combining salicylic acid with corticosteroids or coal tar may increase its effectiveness.

Coal tar

This can help reduce the itchiness and scaling and, as a result, help prevent scarring. It is an ingredient in a number of products, including soaps and shampoos.

Topical corticosteroids

A variety of topical corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and help manage symptoms of psoriasis.


Antihistamines and over-the-counter anti-itch creams can help provide relief from psoriasis symptoms. Managing itching can help reduce scratching, which can cause flares and scarring.

Laser and light therapy

Different types of light therapy can help reduce the risk of scarring by relieving symptoms.

Excimer laser therapy — for example, XTRAC — can help remove layers of skin by directing concentrated UV light to specific areas of the skin.

The advantage of laser therapy is that it targets lesions directly and does not affect other areas of the skin. Phototherapy is another option.

General tips

In addition to preventive treatment, a person can follow these tips to help prevent psoriasis scarring:

  • Know the triggers: If stress, certain foods, or smoking trigger a flare, try to avoid these factors. Exercise, such as yoga, may help with stress.
  • Treat the psoriasis flare: This includes sticking to a prescribed treatment plan and attending routine follow-ups with a dermatologist. Typically, the best method to keep psoriasis flares managed is prescription medications.
  • Avoid scratching: The skin damage from scratching can cause scar tissue to form.
  • Treat infections: Without treatment, skin infections can lead to scarring and lasting skin damage. Be sure to monitor the skin for signs of infection and contact a doctor for treatment when necessary.
  • Manage sun exposure: Apply sunscreen before going out, even if the sun is not especially bright. Also, be aware that some medications, such as retinoids, can increase the risk of sun damage.
  • Moisturize: Moisturizers can relieve dryness and itchiness. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people with psoriasis apply moisturizer within 5 minutes of taking a bath or shower.

Below are commonly asked questions about psoriasis and skin healing.

How do I get rid of psoriasis scars?

While scars are permanent, there are steps a person can take to reduce the appearance of psoriasis scars. Working with a dermatologist is the best way to create a plan of action for minimizing psoriasis scars.

Do psoriasis patches disappear?

Eventually, skin affected by psoriasis flares should return to its typical state, though this can take weeks of healing or longer in some cases.

Living with this chronic condition means managing continual cycles of flares. Treatment can help with symptom management.

Does psoriasis leave dark spots?

After a flare, psoriasis can leave dark spots on the skin during the healing process. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It may be more noticeable on darker skin tones than on lighter skin tones.

For some people with darker skin tones, psoriasis might also leave lighter spots on the skin. This is called post-inflammatory hypopigmentation and should resolve over time.

Does psoriasis scar the skin?

The condition itself does not cause scars. However, when psoriasis causes severe itching that leads to scratching and breaks in the skin, this can lead to scarring. If skin affected by psoriasis becomes infected, this can also lead to scarring.

Appropriate care and treatment can reduce the risk of scarring related to psoriasis.

Psoriasis can negatively affect a person’s mental health. If scarring occurs, the condition can have an even greater effect on a person’s self-esteem.

Treatment options are available, and a doctor can advise about the most suitable options for each person. New medications called biologics may help reduce the frequency of flares and improve baseline psoriasis symptoms, especially among people with moderate to severe symptoms.