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.
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:
- Bug bites
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
SPEAKER: In order to beat
a psoriasis flare up,
you first need to know what's
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
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
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.
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.