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Psoriasis Causes

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that is distinguished by patches of skin, which are red, scaly and ugly. The scaly patches, called plaques, usually appear on a person’s elbows, knees and back, but can develop on skin on other parts of the body. The plaques can get so bad that the skin crack and bleed, and may be quite painful. If not keep clean, these open sores can lead to infections.


Researchers are not certain about exact cause of psoriasis. Some researchers believe that certain gene mutations may be linked to the development of psoriasis. However, studies have shown that not all people with the gene mutations develop psoriasis and not all people who develop the skin condition have the gene mutations. Regardless, what is certain is that psoriasis needs triggers to flare-up.

Triggers are conditions that cause psoriasis to break out or worsen. Some of the known triggers are emotional stress, skin injury, climatic changes, infections, alcohol, smoking and certain medications. Researchers believe that these triggers bring on psoriasis because they are put stress on an already weakened immune system.

Here is a closer look at some of the mentioned triggers:

Environmental changes. Cold winter weather can trigger or worsen your psoriasis. If you are already dealing with a flare-up, the cold and dry weather can make the psoriasis worse and it is important to keep your skin moisturized. Winter months may also mean less sunlight. As a matter of fact, sunlight is one of the natural ways sued to treat psoriasis. However, remember to use sun block if you are UV sensitive and limit your exposure so as not to get sunburn, which may trigger the onset of psoriasis.

Infections. Other disease and illnesses can bring on psoriasis. Some common infections linked to the flare-up of psoriasis include strep throat, HIV infection, yeast infection, and boils. If you have any of these ailments and is prone to developing psoriasis, you may want to see your doctor to treat the illness that may trigger a flare-up of the skin condition.

Medications. Certain medications that you take to treat other illness or disease may make existing psoriasis worse or trigger a new episode. Drugs known as triggers include lithium, beta-blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Skin injuries. Trauma or any injury to the skin can trigger or worsen a psoriasis episode. This occurrence is called the Koebner phenomenon. The Koebner phenomenon occurs in about one in every four people with psoriasis. The cause is unknown. It affects most often to people who develop psoriasis early in life. Patches of red, scaly skin may appear after a cut, a burn or even a minor scrape. If you are disposed to outbreaks of psoriasis, it is important to promptly treat any injuries to your skin to reduce the risk of flare-ups. You should avoid scratching any affected area of the skin as this may trigger new patches of psoriasis and cause possible infection.

Stresses. Besides physical stress, severe emotional stress may also trigger psoriasis. Although stress is often a normal daily experience for most people, unmanageable stress or sudden stressful events, such as a breakup of a relationship or the death of a loved one, can lead to worsening or flare-ups of psoriasis. Exercising regularly and practicing some stress reduction meditation may be helpful in relieving stress and help keep psoriasis in check.

Alcohol and tobacco. Excessive smoking and alcohol use can trigger psoriasis and make treatment less effective.

There is not sure cure for psoriasis, but knowing the triggers and causes of your psoriasis is the first step towards reducing the frequency of flare-ups and managing the symptoms of this common and bothersome skin disease.