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Knowing the ins and outs of your psoriasis may ease flare-ups and even prevent them. Your symptoms will depend on the specific type you have. Signs of plaque psoriasis, the most common kind, include:

Patches of red, inflamed skin. These are often covered with loose, silvery scales. They may be itchy and painful, even crack and bleed. In serious cases, they grow and run into each other, making large areas of irritated skin.

Fingernail and toenail problems. Your nails may change color or become pitted. They may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed.

Scalp problems. Patches of scales or crust may form on your head.

About 30% of people with psoriasis also get psoriatic arthritis, mainly between the ages of 30 and 50. This causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and damage in your joints.

What Causes Flare-ups?

Problems with the immune system seem to be the cause of this condition. But certain triggers may make your symptoms worse. They include:

Cold, dry weather. Dry skin increases the chance of a flare-up. So hot, sunny weather may help.

Stress. Just having this disorder can cause stress, and outbreaks are more likely to pop up when you’re anxious.

Drugs. These include:

  • Lithium, a treatment for bipolar disorder
  • Malaria drugs (hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine)
  • Some beta-blockers, used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease

Infections or disease. Certain infections, such as strep throat and tonsillitis, can cause guttate psoriasis (a special kind with small, red spots mainly on your torso or limbs) or other types. HIV infection can also make it worse.

Injury. In some people, cuts, bruises, burns, bumps, even tattoos, and other skin conditions can cause an outbreak. This is called Koebner's phenomenon.

Alcohol, especially in men.

Smoking.

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