Psoriasis Location Affects Quality of Life

The International Psoriasis Council and the National Psoriasis Foundation publish findings on psoriasis disease severity assessment with respect to special locations.

For Release August 21, 2023 – Alexandria, Virginia A recent article in the Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis® that examines the quality-of-life impact of psoriasis lesions in certain special locations was created through a collaboration between the International Psoriasis Council (IPC) and the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).

The paper, titled, “Psoriasis Involving Special Areas is Associated with Worse Quality of Life, Depression, and Limitations in the Ability to Participate in Social Roles and Activities,” shares the findings from 3 years of NPF surveys. Analysis showed that psoriasis in special locations had an outsized impact, both lowering the quality of life and impacting the patient’s ability to participate in social roles.

These results contribute data from patient’s own experiences to the conversation around how best to ­­­­ update current disease severity measures to include consideration for the location of the disease. Traditionally, the percentage of the body covered by psoriasis lesions was used to determine severity, but this study underscores the fact that psoriasis in certain areas (listed below) can greatly impact a person’s quality of life.

Of the over 4,000 individuals who completed the survey, 84% shared that they had psoriasis in special locations. These patients were less likely to have the ability to participate in ­­­social roles and activities and were 126% more likely to have depression.

Special Locations for Psoriasis include:

  • Scalp
  • Face
  • Hands/Feet
  • Genitalia
  • Flexures (areas where the skin folds, usually near joints)
  • Nails

“These findings support the idea that where psoriasis is located can be just as important as how much skin is impacted,” said Leah M. Howard, J.D., the President and CEO of NPF. “People with psoriasis on their palms or feet live with incredibly debilitating pain. And many in our community know the unfortunate reality of living with psoriasis in the skin folds and highly sensitive areas.”

“Examining psoriasis disease severity based less on the body surface area affected and more regarding the condition's impact on quality of life and the patient’s personal and professional functionality allows providers to better target therapies, including systemics and biologics, towards their patients' needs,” said Bruce Strober, M.D., Ph.D., the IPC Vice President/President-Elect.

“We can treat psoriasis, even in these special areas, but it requires an updated approach to assessing severity,” said Andrew Blauvelt, M.D., MBA, the chair of the NPF Medical Board and IPC Board Member.  “We need to help prescribers and insurers recognize the importance of this newer approach so that patients are able to access the right treatment for their disease.”


  • Andrew Blauvelt, M.D., MBA, incoming NPF Medical Board Chair, IPC Board Member
  • George C. Gondo, MA, NPF Director of Patient Centered Research
  • Stacie Bell, Ph.D., past NPF Chief Scientific and Medical Officer
  • Cristina Echeverria, M.D., IPC Councilor
  • Marcus Schmitt-Egenolf, M.D., Ph.D., IPC Councilor
  • Lone Skov, M.D., Ph.D., IPC Councilor
  • Peter van de Kerkhof, M.D., Ph.D., IPC Chief Medical Officer
  • Leah McCormick Howard, J.D., NPF President and CEO
  • Bruce Strober, M.D., Ph.D., IPC Vice President/President-Elect, Editor-in-Chief NPF Journal of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis®

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving the community of people impacted by psoriatic disease for more than 55 years with patient support, advocacy, research, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation is the leading nonprofit representing individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The mission of NPF is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of more than 8 million individuals in the United States affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. Learn more at

About the International Psoriasis Council

The International Psoriasis Council is a community of physician experts working to improve the health of people with psoriasis worldwide. IPC harnesses the collective expertise of its 100+ physicians to educate other physicians on a range of topics related to psoriasis management. We believe that psoriasis patients, no matter where they live or how complex their symptoms are, should have access to the best care available and that, ultimately, a world without psoriasis is possible. Our mission is to improve the care of people with psoriasis worldwide through education, research, and advocacy. Learn more at

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