Since you are reading this page, we are going to assume that you already know what psoriasis is. You may be suffering from it, or somebody in your family may be suffering from the condition. What you may not know is why they are suffering from it in the first place. On this page, we are going to cover a couple of things:
- What the potential causes of psoriasis are
- What could potentially trigger the condition in people.
Hopefully, by the end of this page, you should have a solid idea to why flare-ups occur. You may even learn a little bit about how to prevent the condition in the future.
It is perhaps worth noting that researchers do not 100% know the reason as to why psoriasis occurs. They can take a guess at why it occurs, but these are just very educated guesses based upon years of study. It is likely going to be down to one of the following factors, if not a combination of them.
Problems with the immune system
As you may know, when you suffer from psoriasis, your skin cells mature faster than they should do. In normal cases, your skin cells should mature in about a month. In people with psoriasis, this can be as little as three days.
It is believed that a problem with the immune system can contribute to psoriasis. Your immune system may start to attack the healthy cells in your skin by mistake. This causes them to reproduce quicker than they normally would. Your immune system then thinks something is wrong (which it is) and then starts to attack the skin cells even more.
We do not know what causes this issue with the immune system. We just know that the issue is there.
Psoriasis is a condition which tends to run in families. About a third of people who suffer from psoriasis will have a close family member with the condition. This indicates that genes may play a role. Studies have attempted to identify the exact gene that causes the issue. Researchers have yet to pinpoint the gene. It is likely to be a combination of different genes which cause the condition.
If you have psoriasis, or know somebody that is suffering from psoriasis, then you may notice that the symptoms get worse after particular events. These events are known as ‘triggers’. If a psoriasis sufferer is able to identify what their ‘triggers’ are, then they are more likely going to be able to keep their symptoms at bay.
It is worth noting that psoriasis triggers will be different for everybody. Something which could cause a flare-up in another psoriasis sufferer may not necessarily cause you to flare-up. Many people keep a journal of their psoriasis flare-ups, as well as what they were doing shortly before the flare-up started. This will make it easier for you to go back and try and work out what triggered the problem.
These are some of the most common triggers, although do bear in mind that your triggers may not necessarily be found on this list.
If you have an injury to your skin, then you may suffer from a psoriasis flare-up. Remember what we said earlier about how psoriasis can be caused by a problem with your immune system? Well, if you injure yourself then your immune system is going to be kicked into overdrive. If you can, avoid the following injuries:
- Insect bites
Several bad habits can lead to a psoriasis flare-up. Perhaps the biggest ones are drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, as well as smoking. You can drink. Nobody is denying you that right if you are suffering from psoriasis. However, try to limit yourself to one or two drinks a week. If you are a smoker, then you should cut it out completely. If you are not a smoker, then steer clear of people who are smoking because even passive smoking can lead to a psoriasis flare-up.
Stress kicks your immune system up a notch. We are not going to go into depth on how you can avoid stress on this page. There are plenty of fantastic guides on the internet. Just, do your best. Try to work out what is causing you to be stressed out and deal with the problem. At the same time, we suggest that you also learn a few breathing exercises which should really help you to relax when things get a little bit overwhelming.
Sadly, there is not a lot you can do about this. It is women who tend to get more impacted by hormonal changes. Many women will find that their symptoms flare-up close to their period. They may go into overdrive when they hit menopause.
Some medications can also trigger symptoms in a person. This includes:
- Lithium-based medications
- Antimalarial medicines
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- ACE inhibitors
- Beta blockers
If you believe that the medication that you are taking is triggering your symptoms, then it is suggested that you talk to your doctor. There is a chance that they may be able to prescribe you with something else.
If you are sick, then your immune system is going to be working doubly hard. Once again, this means that your immune system may start to attack your skin cells ‘by mistake’. Again, not much that you can do about this. Your best bet is to be proactive and try to avoid getting sick in the first place i.e. if there is a virus going around, make sure you don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
Other Immune System Conditions
There are other conditions related to your immune system which could cause your symptoms to flare-up. For example; those who are suffering from HIV are more likely to suffer from eczema. Sadly, nothing you can do about this trigger either. You really have to work hard to try and control your symptoms.