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All about psoriasis types of psoriasis causes of psoriasis diagnosis of psoriasis psoriasis triggers symptoms of psoriasis psoriasis risk factors treatment for psoriasis topical treatment for psoriasis phototherapy treatment for psoriasis systemic treatment for psoriasis plaque psoriasis guttate psoriasis flexural psoriasis pustular psoriasis erythrodermic psoriasis scalp psoriasis

What triggers psoriasis?

Triggering factors are events or conditions that cause psoriasis to flare up or worsen. If you are genetically predisposed to developing psoriasis, you may find that certain triggers activate the condition, although it is important to note that, in most cases, the specific triggers cannot be identified.

Streptococcal infection: This infection is a common cause of sore throats and tonsillitis. It can be pinpointed as a specific trigger in some people with psoriasis, particularly in children and young adults.


Strep throat can lead to guttate psoriasis in children and young adults. Anyone with psoriasis who gets strep throat should be treated promptly with antibiotics to prevent a flare-up of psoriasis. HIV infection can cause psoriasis to flare up or to appear for the first time. Severe forms of psoriasis, such as inverse psoriasis, become more common as HIV infection progresses and the immune system becomes weaker.

Sun exposure: Lengthy exposure to a dry climate with low relative humidity can make psoriasis worse. For many people, sun exposure during the summer helps to clear psoriasis. However, people who are sun-sensitive find that psoriasis flares up when skin is exposed to the sun. The sun's UV rays actually help the vast majority of people with psoriasis. However, for a very small minority (less than 5%), sunlight can aggravate the condition. Sunburn may also cause psoriasis to flare up.

Drug reactions: Certain medications may make psoriasis worse. These include lithium (prescribed to treat bipolar disorder), beta blockers (prescribed for heart problems), anti-malarial drugs, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (available by prescription or over the counter for pain relief). NSAIDs are often used to treat psoriatic arthritis. In such cases, the benefits and risks of treatment need to be carefully assessed. Flare-ups of psoriasis caused by NSAIDs usually respond to treatment. Abuse of alcohol, on the other hand, can make psoriasis treatment ineffective.

Hormonal factors: With women, hormonal factors can vary greatly. The effect of pregnancy on psoriasis is very unpredictable. Peak onset also tends to be when the periods start during puberty.

Psychological factors: Some people find that stress acts as a trigger. However this can work both ways. A person may find that having psoriasis causes them to get stressed. Severe emotional stress may play a role in the appearance of psoriasis or in flare-ups of the disease. However, the impact of stress can be difficult to assess. Techniques to reduce stress can be helpful if flare-ups of psoriasis follow a pattern and stress factors can be recognized as part of that pattern.

Skin trauma: Psoriasis may develop if the skin is injured. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon. It most commonly appears as a line in an operation scar or in a scratch. It may also appear in the spots of chickenpox. This type of psoriasis often heals on its own.

More information on psoriasis

What is psoriasis? - Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched.
What types of psoriasis are there? - Types of psoriasis include plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, flexural psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and nail psoriasis.
What causes psoriasis? - Psoriasis is driven by the immune system. Psoriasis is the growth of too many skin cells. The first outbreak of psoriasis is often triggered by emotional or mental stress or physical skin injury.
How is psoriasis diagnosed? - Physicians diagnose psoriasis by examining the affected skin. In people with psoriatic arthritis, the arthritis usually follows the appearance of psoriasis.
What triggers psoriasis? - Psoriasis triggers include streptococcal infection, sun exposure, drug reactions, hormonal factors, psychological factors, and skin trauma.
What are the psoriasis symptoms? - Symptoms depend on the type of psoriasis the individual has and may include bright red areas of raised patches (plaques) on the skin, tiny areas of bleeding, and itching.
What are the psoriasis risk factors? - The risks associated with developing psoriasis are similar to the triggers of the disease. The most significant risk factor for psoriasis is a family history of the condition.
What is the treatment for psoriasis? - The treatment is chosen on the basis of the pattern of psoriasis and its severity. Treatments for psoriasis can often control the disease for long periods.
What is the topical treatment for psoriasis? - Some patients with psoriasis respond well to ointment or cream forms of corticosteroids, vitamin D3, retinoids, coal tar, or anthralin. The medication that is best may depend on the type and location of the psoriasis.
What is the phototherapy treatment for psoriasis? - Phototherapy treatment for psoriasis uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill T cells in skin, reducing redness and slowing the overproduction of skin cells that causes scaling.
What is the systemic treatment for psoriasis? - Systemic treatment for psoriasis involves taking medicines internally by pill or injection. Systemic psoriasis treatment drugs include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine.
What is plaque psoriasis? - Plaque psoriasis can is a disease with very clearly defined area of skin which has a raised, red and inflamed section of skin covered in silvery scales.
What is guttate psoriasis? - Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that looks like small, salmon-pink drops on the skin. Guttate psoriasis is characterised by multiple tiny areas of psoriasis.
What is flexural psoriasis? - Flexural psoriasis is a form of psoriasis found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other flexion creases (skin folds) such as those around the genitals and buttocks.
What is pustular psoriasis? - Pustular psoriasis is an uncommon form of psoriasis. People with pustular psoriasis have clearly defined, raised bumps on the skin that are filled with pus (pustules).
What is erythrodermic psoriasis? - Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that often affects most of the body surface. Erythroderma is a generalised redness of the skin.
What is scalp psoriasis? - Scalp psoriasis range from very mild with fine scaling to very severe with thick, crusted plaques. Scalp psoriasis scales appear powdery with a silvery sheen. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005