Psoriasis on the face can cause skin cells to develop rapidly across the face, creating thick, scaly patches that may be itchy and uncomfortable. Treatments such as biologics and corticosteroids may help.

Several types of psoriasis exist, and they vary depending on the appearance of the scales and their location on the body.

Psoriasis on the face can cause a variety of symptoms. Alongside physical symptoms, psoriasis on the face can be highly visible and may affect self-image and cause emotional difficulties in some people.

However, many treatments are available to help reduce these symptoms.

Read on to learn more about the symptoms of facial psoriasis. This article also looks at causes, treatment options, when to contact a doctor, and more.

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Facial psoriasis may appear as red or purple itchy areas. Silvery white scales may also form.

A person with facial psoriasis will often have dead skin cells in their hair. At first glance, this may resemble dandruff from dry skin or skin sensitivity.

Psoriasis on the face will most commonly affect the following areas:

  • the eyebrows
  • the hairline
  • the skin between the nose and upper lip
  • the upper forehead

In rare cases, psoriasis can sometimes affect the eyelids and around the mouth.

Psoriasis can also cause symptoms on the lips, inside the cheeks, on the gums, or inside the nose. These may affect a person’s ability to chew and swallow food.

Learn more about the symptoms of psoriasis.

Although further research is necessary to confirm the exact cause of psoriasis, it happens when there is an overproduction of skin cells and the buildup of plaques on the skin.

Psoriasis occurs due to the overactivity of T cells in the immune system. This type of cell usually protects the body from bacteria and other infectious agents.

When a person has psoriasis, however, the body triggers T cells in the absence of any infection. The T cells then activate different inflammatory responses that cause skin cells to develop too rapidly.

Around 50% of people with psoriasis have facial psoriasis. It will usually occur alongside psoriasis elsewhere on the body. For example, a person may have both face and scalp psoriasis, or they may have lesions on different areas of the body that also happen to form on the face.

Although the causes are unclear, certain factors can increase the risk of developing psoriasis. These include:

  • a family history of psoriasis
  • a history of infections of the skin
  • injuries to the skin
  • taking certain medications
  • hormonal changes or puberty
  • stress
  • obesity
  • diabetes

A person with facial psoriasis may notice that their symptoms get worse after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as from the sun or a tanning bed.

Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can also trigger or worsen facial psoriasis.

Learn more about psoriasis triggers.

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 the treatments will not be too harsh or irritating for the facial skin.

Some treatment options for facial psoriasis include:

  • biologics, which are disease-modifying therapies that can halt the progression of the condition and reduce the number of flares
  • topical treatments, such as tacrolimus 0.1%
  • phototherapy with UV light, which a person should only use under a doctor’s supervision

If psoriasis affects the skin around the eyes, a doctor will advise taking care when applying medications to the area. This is because some treatments can cause damage to the eyes that may increase the risk of glaucoma and cataracts.

Learn more about systemic and topical treatments for psoriasis.

Some home remedies may help a person protect the skin and manage symptoms of facial psoriasis.

Examples include:

  • wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 30
  • applying only fragrance-free products
  • regularly applying moisturizer
  • using gentle, non-soap cleansers to keep the skin clean

Practicing frequent and thorough self-care may help a person manage their facial psoriasis.

Learn more about home remedies for psoriasis.

If a person is uncertain about whether psoriasis or a different health condition is causing their symptoms, it is best to contact a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

A dermatologist, or skin specialist, will usually treat psoriasis. A primary care physician can refer a person to a dermatologist.

People should also contact their doctor about facial psoriasis symptoms when:

  • areas on the face are painful or uncomfortable
  • the discomfort makes it difficult to get through the day
  • lesions are extending toward the eyes
  • they have concerns about their skin’s appearance
  • they are experiencing joint problems as well as facial lesions

Generally, people should see their doctor whenever their psoriasis is causing them problems or when they wish to discuss treatment options.

Here are some frequently asked questions about facial psoriasis.

What is the best thing for psoriasis on the face?

A doctor may recommend a combination of treatments for facial psoriasis, including biologics, phototherapy, and topicals. It is important to consult a doctor before trying any treatments for facial psoriasis, as the skin on the face is generally sensitive.

Why am I just now developing face psoriasis for the first time?

Numerous triggers can cause a person to develop psoriasis on the face. These include stress, injury to the skin, hormonal changes, and taking certain medications. If a person suspects they have facial psoriasis, it is important to contact a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment plan.

Can psoriasis on the face spread?

Psoriasis is not contagious. However, a person may develop psoriasis in other places after they develop facial psoriasis.

Will facial psoriasis go away on its own?

Facial psoriasis is a chronic condition, which means that it is unlikely to ever completely go away. However, symptoms may come and go. Some people may experience periods where they experience little to no symptoms.

Learn about what can happen if a person does not receive treatment for psoriasis.

Facial psoriasis is a chronic medical condition that causes thick, scaly patches of skin. It can cause symptoms such as itchiness and discomfort, most commonly affecting the eyebrows, hairline, upper forehead, and skin between the upper lip and nose.

People may find that certain things make their psoriasis worse. Such triggers include stress and seasonal changes that can dry out the skin.

Medical treatments for facial psoriasis include biologics, topical treatments, and phototherapy. Home remedies that may help include wearing sun protection, moisturizing the skin, and using only fragrance-free products on the face.