What Causes Psoriasis?

If you’re suffering from psoriasis, whether it’s a new condition for you, or you’ve had it for years, you may be wondering what causes psoriasis. While there’s no exact cause of psoriasis known just yet, most researcher agree that psoriasis occurs when the immune system is mistakenly triggered, speeding up the growth cycle of skin cells among other immune reactions. This causes an ongoing cycle in which new skin cells move to the outermost layer of skin too quickly — in days rather than weeks. Dead skin and white blood cells can’t slough off quickly enough, and you get a build-up in thick, scaly patches on the skin’s surface. And this process usually doesn’t stop unless treatment interrupts the cycle.

There are some conditions and lifestyle choices that can trigger your psoriasis to flare up, so keep these common triggers in mind to help minimize your flareups:


Stress can have adverse effects on your skin. Creating a healthy stress-reduction plan – such as taking yoga classes, meditating, creating a healthier balance of work and play in your life, and getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis – can help reduce your psoriasis flare-ups.

Cold Weather

You know that cold, dry air can wreak havoc on your skin, hair and nails, with indoor heated air and outdoor frigid air at fault. And when the weather turns cold, you’re at greater risk for psoriasis flare-ups. If possible, try to avoid the cold weather, especially during the winter season.


If you’re still smoking, know that among the many ways you’re damaging your body is the increased risk of psoriasis flare-ups. Quitting now can help improve your health, and appearance, in many priceless ways.

Heavy Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can trigger inflammation responses and is known as one of the triggers for psoriasis. Dialing down your alcohol consumption on a regular basis and when celebrating – and when you’re on vacation – can help lessen your odds of a psoriasis flare-up.

Skin Injuries

Anything that damages your skin causes an inflammation response, and injuries like a cut, scrape, bug bites or a sunburn can set off a chain reaction, leading to a psoriasis flare-up.


When your body is wracked with illness, such as from strep throat, your immune system can kick in and speed up the skin production process that results in psoriasis flare-ups.

Certain medications. Medication prescribed for high blood pressure, lithium for bipolar disorder, iodides and traveler-prescribed anti-malaria drugs are among the medications that are known to cause psoriasis outbreaks. Talk to your doctor about your psoriasis issues, as well as your dermatologist, to see if your medications need to be adjusted. Never stop taking prescribed medications on your own, without your doctor’s approval, or you could create a chain reaction of adverse effects that will really cause harm to your health and lifestyle.

Your dermatologist will assess your lifestyle choices, and provide information and perhaps resources to help you create a healthier way of living, for your overall well-being and your skin’s best appearance, as free of psoriasis as possible, for as long as possible.

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