The symptoms of psoriasis can come and go, but there are common triggers that people with psoriasis should avoid.
1. Food-Related Triggers
While there is no definite science for dietary changes, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis may want to avoid whole milk, citrus fruits, gluten, and fatty foods.
The 2010 study found that people with psoriasis tend to drink more alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol is a trigger for many people with psoriasis. Another study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital saw an increase in psoriasis in those that drank non-light beer specifically. The increase was associated with two to three drinks per week.
3. Excess Sun
For people with psoriasis, too much sun can spell a major outbreak. While a moderate amount of sun can relieve symptoms in some, sunburns can almost certainly cause a flare-up. If you find a small amount of sun actually helps your symptoms, just remember to keep it to a minimum.
4. Cold, Dry Weather
A cold, dry climate can also worsen symptoms of psoriasis. In this kind of weather, moisture is stripped from the skin in the bitter cold. Heating units make matters worse. Try to minimize time spent in the elements during the coldest months, and invest in a good humidifier for your home.
Stress and psoriasis often go hand in hand. Unfortunately, stress is a big trigger for outbreaks of psoriasis. It’s important to attempt to reduce stress in your life as much as possible. Yoga and meditation practices have shown great success in relieving stress associated with many types of pain.
Being overweight can increase the risk of psoriasis as well as make the symptoms worse. A study in JAMA Dermatology in 2013 found a link between a low-calorie diet and decreased flare-ups.
Avoid smoking if you have psoriasis. Tobacco can increase your risk of psoriasis and also make your symptoms more severe.
8. Certain Medications
Some medications interfere with your body’s autoimmune response and can cause a severe psoriasis attack. These include beta-blockers, which are used for high blood pressure, steroidal medicines, and pills taken to stop malaria. Always tell your doctor if you have psoriasis if any of these medications are being prescribed.
Some common infections like strep throat (Streptococcal pharyngitis), thrush (Candida albicans), and upper respiratory infections can trigger psoriasis outbreaks. If you suspect that you have been infected with any of these types of bacteria, get it treated promptly by your doctor.
10. Scratches, Bites, and Skin Injury
If you have a bug bite, cut, or scrape, or you’ve experienced any kind of skin injury, you may notice new psoriasis lesions nearby the affected area. These types of injuries can even occur in everyday activities such as shaving or tending to a garden. When performing any activity that may cause skin injury, be sure to take extra precautions like wearing long sleeves, gloves, and using bug spray.
It is difficult to avoid all triggers but you can try to prevent most of them by being prepared and very careful. With time you learn to recognize your own individual triggers and thus to minimize the risk of a flare-up.
What other triggers do you know or have experienced? How do you cope with them?