There are quite a few different things that can trigger psoriasis. When you’re done reading this article you’ll have a good idea what they are and how to prevent flare-ups.
What leads to flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms?
According to several scientific studies, close to 10% of the population has one of the genetic markers that can lead to psoriasis. Fortunately, only 2-3% of the population actually ends up having symptoms.
For those of us that fall into that 2-3%, it helps to know what can cause flare-ups so we can minimize the symptoms that we need to deal with.
Cold weather can dry out the skin and cause psoriasis symptoms to act up. Keeping your skin moisturized with a high-quality topical cream, like Revitol Dermasis Psoriasis Cream, is a great way to keep prevent symptoms from popping up in cold weather.
You can try to use a humidifier in your house to help keep the air moist and avoid some of the drying effects of the cold weather.
Warm, sunny weather actually has been shown to keep psoriasis symptoms at bay.
Stress is one of the most common causes of psoriasis flare-ups. Learning relaxation techniques can help immensely when trying to treat stress in your daily life and help prevent flare-ups.
I really like incorporating about 30 mins of yoga as a way to relieve stress in my life. I find it very helpful to prevent my flare-ups.
Trauma to the Skin
Most people normally avoid trauma to the skin anyway, but this is a leading psoriasis trigger for some people. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
Bumps, bruises, cuts, scrapes, burns, vaccinations, and tattoos are all things that lead to a flare up for some people. Avoiding contact sports and other activities that have a high chance of causing skin trauma is a good idea.
Tattoos are especially likely to cause flare-ups. Injecting ink into the skin and repeatedly piercing it with a needle is obviously going to cause trauma. Many people experience a flare-up within 2 weeks of getting a new tattoo.
Like trauma, we all typically try to avoid infections. When we’re not lucky enough to be able to avoid them, they can lead to a psoriasis flare-up. Strep throat, yeast infections, thrush, staph infections and respiratory infections are all known to trigger psoriasis symptoms.
With psoriasis, your immune system is already compromised and fighting an inflammatory disease. Adding other infections in the mix can easily put it over the edge.
Certain drugs can also cause psoriasis symptoms to trigger. Medications that treat heart disease, mental issues, high blood pressure and arthritis can all trigger your psoriasis.
Reactions from medication aren’t only limited to those. Malaria meds, NSAIDs, steroids like prednisone, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors can also cause flare-ups.
Make sure you talk to your doctor if you think there’s a connection between your psoriasis symptoms and the medication that you’re taking. They may be able to prescribe something else that will not lead to any negative side effects.
Never stop taking a prescription without consulting your doctor first!
This is something that all of us can control. Avoiding alcohol has been shown to limit the number of flare-ups that people experience.
Alcohol also affects the liver and doesn’t mix well with many prescription psoriasis medications.
There has been a close correlation shown between flare-ups and beer drinking, especially in women.
Smoking is another activity that’s totally avoidable and is known to lead to worsening of psoriasis symptoms.
Smokers are more likely to have flare-ups, especially on the hands and feet. After I quit smoking, I noticed that the psoriasis on my hand got much better when I quit smoking!
Doctors believe that hormones play a part in when psoriasis first shows up.
Psoriasis can start at any age but times, when hormone levels are extreme, seem to be when they first show up. Puberty and menopause are common times for psoriasis to first show up.
Those between the ages of 20 and 30 and those between 50 and 60 are also at risk.
Food Related Triggers
I’ve covered this in other articles. Pretty much everything that tastes the best can lead to psoriasis triggers. Luckily a lot of us don’t react to food or only react to certain foods.
If you see a connection between certain foods and your flare-ups then you should try to avoid those foods.
Common foods are peppers, citrus, dairy products, fatty red meats, and gluten.
Too Much Sun
Short periods of sunlight have been shown to reduce psoriasis triggers. Sunburn, however, has the exact opposite reaction.
Up to about 20 minutes a day of sun can limit your flare-ups, but make sure you’re not burning! If you do it’s almost guaranteed to make your symptoms worse.
Doctors don’t all agree why obesity has been shown to increase flare-ups. There have been studies that show a low-calorie diet decreases the severity of symptoms.
Some doctors believe that obesity is more of a side effect of not doing things that help with psoriasis (exercise, diet, etc.) rather than the obesity itself being a cause.
Many psoriasis triggers are avoidable. Some simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward preventing future flare-ups.
I suggest trying to reduce stress, quit smoking, limit drinking and trying out a good topical cream. Those are the best ways that I’ve found to prevent my own flare-ups.