Tips to Manage Common Triggers

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 07, 2020

When you have psoriasis, certain things called triggers can make the condition flare up and your symptoms worse. You can get a better handle on staying well if you find and manage your triggers.

Not everyone has the same triggers. Some, though, are common.


Scientists don't know exactly what causes psoriasis. They think your immune system plays a role. Mental strain is known to affect your immune system. So it's no surprise that stress can make psoriasis worse.

Here are some things you can try to help manage stress:

  • Meditation. This is a mental exercise during which you focus on something, like your breathing, to calm your mind.
  • Exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins. These brain chemicals boost your mood and energy.
  • Help from others. You could take a stress management course. Or you could join a support group for people who have psoriasis.


Skin Injuries

These can lead to psoriasis lesions in places you haven't had them before. This is called Koebner phenomenon. Examples of injuries that might cause a flare include:

  • Sunburn
  • Cuts
  • Bug bites
  • Acupuncture
  • Tattoos

You can do some things to protect your skin:

  • Use sunscreen. Short periods of time in the sun can help psoriasis, but it's important not to get too much.
  • Treat any skin irritation right away.
  • Don't scratch or pick at your skin.


Several drugs can cause psoriasis flares in some people. They include:

  • Lithium, commonly used to treat bipolar disorder
  • Medicines for malaria (The reaction usually happens 2 to 3 weeks after you take one.)
  • Inderal, a medicine used to control high blood pressure
  • Quinidine, a heart medication
  • Indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for arthritis

When you get a new prescription, make sure your doctor knows you have psoriasis and ask if the medicine is safe for you. Tell your primary doctor about everything you take, including over-the-counter medicines.


If something affects your immune system, it can trigger your psoriasis. Strep throat, for instance, is linked to the condition. Bronchitis, tonsillitis, or an ear infection also can make it worse.


Cold can dry out your skin and make your psoriasis worse. To help protect your skin, you might:

  • Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves when you go out
  • Moisturize your skin more often
  • Use a cool mist humidifier at night
  • Skip the hot shower and have a soak in the tub instead
Control Causes of Psoriasis FlaresIn order to prevent flare-ups, you need to know the triggers. Whether it’s an infection, stress, or the weather, here’s how to keep your skin in good shape.75


SPEAKER: In order to beat

a psoriasis flare up,

you first need to know what's

causing it.

If you think your skin is

infected, you should check

with your doctor.

People with psoriasis

have a higher risk of getting

a staph infection or fungus,

like those that cause athlete's

foot, ringworm, or yeast


Pinpoint the infection,

and you'll be able to treat it


Being sick

could cause your psoriasis

to flare up, especially if you

have an infection

like strep throat.

It's best to avoid sick people.

And if you think you have

a sore throat,

get it checked out early.

Stress can trigger a flare up,

because oftentimes your body's

response to stress

is inflammation.

And that's

bad for your psoriasis.

But you can fight these kinds

of flare ups by lowering stress

with meditation or a trip


Exercise increases endorphins

that boost your mood

and allow for better sleep

and less anxiety.

A change in weather,

particularly when the air gets

dry, can cause flare ups.

If this is what's making

your psoriasis act up,

you can combat it

in several ways.

Wear loose clothing, apply more

ointment, use a humidifier,

and, if possible,

change your location.


Cleveland Clinic: “Psoriasis.” <br>U.S. National Library of Medicine: “A Clinician’s Guide to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Candidiasis in Patients with Psoriasis.”<br> U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Throat infections are associated with exacerbation in a substantial proportion of patients with chronic plaque psoriasis.” <br>National Psoriasis Foundation: “Stress and psoriatic disease.” <br>National Psoriasis Foundation: “Frequently Asked Questions:<br>Psoriasis in spring, summer, fall and winter.” <br>National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Psoriasis.”/delivery/7e/60/7e600aa8-8456-45e1-8f8b-a4ea876db09d/vd-1384-tips-to-beat-psoriasis-flare-ups_,4500k,1000k,750k,2500k,400k,.mp401/18/2018 13:12:0000how do germs cause flares video/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/psoriasis_how_do_germs_cause_flares_video_alt/650x350_psoriasis_how_do_germs_cause_flares_video_alt.jpg091e9c5e818ce28f


    Your Lifestyle

    Studies show that smoking and drinking alcohol can make psoriasis worse. And alcohol can be dangerous if you take certain drugs for the condition.

    • If you smoke, stop.
    • If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.
    • Follow warnings about mixing your medicine with alcohol.


    WebMD Medical Reference



    Mayo Clinic: "Psoriasis."

    United Kingdom National Health Service: "Psoriasis."

    National Psoriasis Foundation: "Causes and Triggers."

    American Academy of Dermatology: "Psoriasis."

    Cleveland Clinic: "What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Stressed Out?"

    National Psoriasis Foundation: "Managing Itch."

    Journal of Medicine and Life, 2014.

    The American Journal of Pathology, April 2008.

    Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: "Psoriasis and the Sun."

    Monroe Clinic: "Psoriasis."

    National Psoriasis Foundation: "How Cigarettes and Alcohol Affect Psoriasis."

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