Most of the time, psoriasis flare-ups are caused by various triggers. It could be something as simple as changes in temperature (too hot/cold), or a little complex like inevitable everyday stressors.
However, people react differently to possible triggers. Therefore, to effectively manage your psoriasis, and enjoy life with hardly any flares, you first need to identify your trigger(s).
To help you with that, here is a comprehensive guide on the possible psoriasis triggers:
What Are Some of the Common Triggers for Psoriasis Flare-ups?
For psoriasis caused by skin injuries or bites, you will most probably experience flare-ups in around 10-14 days. The flare-up will be in the same place as the injury or around it.
Some of the most common skin injuries linked to flare-ups include bug bites, bruises, sunburns, scratches, or even cuts.
Preventing flare-ups after skin injuries
- Ensure the injured part of your skin receives immediate treatment.
- Avoid scratching your skin whenever it itches. Instead, find ways to soothe the itchiness.
- If you must go outdoors when bugs are most active (morning/evening), ensure your skin is well covered. You can also use relevant insect repellants within your surroundings.
Since skin injuries are part of the commonly known psoriasis triggers, skin piercings, including tattoos can cause flare-ups.
Managing Piercing-related Flare-ups
- It’s best to avoid any kind of skin piercings when suffering from psoriasis.
- Always consult your dermatologist, if and when you want to have any kind of body piercing/art for proper guidance.
It’s a known fact that some people are allergic to certain medications. However, with your psoriasis, you might barely experience any psoriasis trigger symptoms until after 2-3 weeks into your medications.
Managing Medication-triggered flare-ups
- Book a visit or call your physician immediately if you suspect that the medication could be the cause of your flare-ups. Your doctor will be in the right position to advise you on the right way forward, including the possibility of changing the drugs. NEVER STOP taking drugs without consulting your doctor first!
- Always take due diligence by informing your doctor about your psoriasis, especially if you’re interacting with them for the first time. They will know which alternative drugs to prescribe to save you from unnecessary flare-ups. Some of the common medications known to trigger psoriasis flare-ups include high blood pressure, arthritis, and malaria medications, among many others.
Various common infections such as bronchitis, earaches, and sore throat can lead to psoriasis flare-ups. Most of the time, you will notice the flare-up after around 2-6 weeks.
Managing infection-related Flare-ups
- Ensure you receive appropriate treatment for the infections, to help heal the psoriasis.
- If your infection is HIV related, let your dermatologist know about appropriate psoriasis medication.
If you always get flare-ups whenever overwhelmed or feel stressed, it could be one of your psoriasis triggers.
Managing Stress-related flare-ups
- Start/end your day by listening to your favorite song, speaking some affirmation words, reading your favorite book, meditating, and generally focusing on things that make you happy.
- Whenever you begin feeling stressed, take a few moments to take deep in and out breaths and reflect on the positive side of things.
- Ask your dermatologist for some stress-managing tips on your next visit.
- If things seem to get out of hand, get yourself into a support group near you. Also, engage in meaningful conversations with your family and friends to take your mind off your stressors.
Humidity, cold, or too hot temperatures can worsen your psoriasis. So, if you experience more flare-ups over summer (heat and sweat), winter, or even fall, this could be your trigger.
Managing weather-related psoriasis triggers
- Ensure your skin is always moisturized to avoid dryness.
- Avoid sitting too close to direct sources of heat such as fireplaces, and radiators.
- Always use a humidifier whenever the air within your home gets too dry.
- Whenever outside, under the hot sun or cold winter, wear protective clothing such as jackets, long-sleeved shirts, gloves, etc.
- Avoid taking long baths (more than 10 minutes). Also, always use warm water instead of hot water.
- Invest in a quality fragrance-free oil for your moisturizing needs. Plus, carry your moisturizer with you, in case you need to reapply it during a dry day.
- Always wear sunscreen before stepping out of the hose on a sunny day. An SPF 30+ sunscreen is a great choice.
- If none of the steps above seem to help, consider seeing a dermatologist for further guidance.
Too Much Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol consumption (daily use and more than 2 drinks a day) can limit the efficiency of your psoriasis treatment, leading to frequent flare-ups.
Preventing Alcohol-related Flare-ups
- Limit your alcohol consumption per day. For women, take at most 1 drink, and for men at most 2 drinks.
- Quitting drinking is the best and long-lasting solution.
- Always inform your dermatologist about your alcohol drinking habits, as this can interfere with some medications.
If you shave or trim often, you might begin to experience fresh flare-ups in about 10-14 days, around the minor-cuts spots.
Managing Shaving-related Psoriasis triggers
- Be careful when using razors to avoid cutting yourself. Where possible, use gentle shaving creams.
- Apply a shaving gel over a moisturizer before shaving to curb unnecessary cuts.
Exposure to Smoke/Smoking
If you notice your psoriasis flaring after smoking or spending time with smokers, this could be your trigger.
Preventing Smoking/Smoke-related Flare-ups
- Work on how to stop smoking with the help of your doctor.
- Seek medical advice from your doctor or dermatologist before trying out any new smoking substance.
- Stop spending time with smokers, and/or avoid being around them for way too long if you have to.
There you have it! We hope the above information helps you manage your psoriasis. To learn more about participating in a clinical trial about psoriasis in your area, please contact our friendly research staff.