What Triggers Psoriasis Flare-ups?
While the underlying cause of psoriasis stems from your body's immune system, certain triggers can make symptoms worse or cause flare-ups. These psoriasis triggers include:
- Cold and dry weather. Such weather can dry out your skin, which makes the chances of having a flare-up worse. In contrast, hot, sunny weather appears to help control the symptoms of psoriasis in most people.
- Stress. Having psoriasis can itself cause stress, and patients often report that outbreaks of symptoms come during particularly stressful times.
- Some medications. Certain drugs, such as lithium (a common treatment for bipolar disorder), drugs for malaria, and some beta-blockers (used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, and some heart arrhythmias), can cause flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms.
- Infections. Certain infections, such as strep throat or tonsillitis, can result in guttate (small, salmon-pink droplets) or other types of psoriasis two to three weeks after the infection. Psoriasis symptoms may worsen in people who have HIV.
- Trauma to the skin. In some people with psoriasis, trauma to the skin -- including cuts, bruises, burns, bumps, vaccinations, tattoos, and other skin conditions -- can cause a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms at the site of the injury. This condition is called "Koebner phenomenon."
- Alcohol. Using alcohol may increase the chances of psoriasis flare-ups.
- Smoking. Some experts think that smoking can worsen psoriasis symptoms.