Psoriasis is a skin condition in which the skin produces new cells at a faster rate than normal. Cell production is so fast in fact, that the skin can’t slough off the cells quickly enough. As a result, psoriasis causes patches of dry, irritated, flaky skin.
While the condition is not dangerous, it can be uncomfortable. In addition, some sufferers are self-conscious about their appearance during an outbreak. Researchers continue to study psoriasis and its causes, and have generally concluded that it appears to be genetic in origin.
There are several ways of treating psoriasis, which include topical and oral medication as well as avoiding various medications, foods, and behaviors that can trigger a flare-up. For many people with the condition, being aware of these triggers is an important part of managing their condition.
Top Five Triggers:
- Stress: Stress can be a significant trigger of psoriasis outbreaks. While avoiding stress entirely is impossible, people with the condition can learn to identify stress and manage it effectively. Some strategies for managing stress include mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, yoga and exercise.
- Skin damage and injury: Trauma to the skin, such as scrapes, insect bites, or a sunburn can result in what is known as the “Koebner Phenomenon,” triggering a flare.
- Infections: Some infections, including strep throat and HIV, can trigger psoriasis flares.
- Weather changes: Some people with the conditions are prone to outbreaks during the winter season when low temperatures and dry air conspire to irritate the skin.
- Medications: Some commonly used prescription drugs, such as Indomethacin, Lithium, and Quinacrine, can either trigger flare-ups or aggravate psoriasis symptoms.
Other Possible Triggers
Some individuals with psoriasis have noticed a possible connection between certain lifestyle habits, such as drinking alcohol or smoking, and outbreaks. However, doctors and scientists have not yet proved a link between these behaviors and psoriasis. In addition, some individuals also believe that food allergies might contribute to outbreaks.
It’s important to remember that this list is not of psoriasis causes, but of outbreak triggers. What may trigger an outbreak in one individual may be different in another person. In addition, triggers may change over time. Those who have the condition may want to work with their healthcare provider on tracking flare-ups and identifying possible causes as a way of preventing or minimizing symptoms.