Psoriasis Flare-up Triggers

Individuals who live with psoriasis know that there are factors called “triggers” that when present can lead to the onset of a psoriasis flare-up. A flare-up is the first symptoms of the appearance of the skin condition known as psoriasis. Psoriasis sufferers hope for more good days when their skin is clear than bad days when they have psoriasis flare-ups.


Not everyone has the same triggers but it is normal to have various triggers. The most common triggers that have been encountered are alcohol consumption, hormones, infection, and reaction to certain medications, skin injury, stress and other emotional responses, tobacco usage, Weather extremes.


There have been studies that show that flare-ups can be preceded by certain infections such as strep throat, thrush (Candida albicans), HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus, boils (staphylococcal skin infections, strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis, and also viral upper respiratory infections. If the infection is cleared quickly than often times the flare-up is not as intense and will clear up sooner than otherwise.

There are certain medications that when taken can trigger the first flare-up of psoriasis. These medications include those taken for malaria or to prevent malaria which is called anti-malarial drugs. Beta-blockers are also a type of medication that can trigger psoriasis.

Beta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure and also heart conditions. Those individuals who already have psoriasis before taking beta-blockers will experience a worsening of their symptoms.

Overuse of a medication that is commonly prescribed to treat psoriasis can actually cause flare-ups if they are overused or the individual suddenly withdrawals from using a high dose of the medication. Some oral corticosteroids can actually aggravate the condition. Lithium and indomethacin are two other medications that can trigger flare-ups.

Skin Injury

Koebner phenomenon is a condition that affects those with psoriasis in that if they experience a break in the skin like from an injury such as a cut, being scratched, the skin is rubbed rigorously or they receive a sunburn; psoriasis will flare-up. The relationship between skin injury and a new psoriasis flare-up has been observed quite frequently by psoriasis patients and by those who treat them.

Koebner’s phenomenon can be caused by skin conditions as well as skin injury. The most common injuries and conditions that can do this are: acupuncture, adhesive tape reaction, bites, boils, chafing, chemical irritations, cuts and also scrapes, dermatitis, herpes blisters, lichen planus, pressure against the skin especially if there is rubbing, scabies, and vaccinations.

Approximately half of all individuals who have psoriasis will experience Koebner’s phenomenon. The risk of this phenomenon occurring may increase when there are already psoriasis lesions present when the injury or condition happens.

Stress and other emotional responses

Stress and other emotions can trigger psoriasis flare-ups or make it worse according to scientific studies. Not only can it worsen the condition it can actually increase the intensity of the itching. The condition itself creates social stress and stress on the job or just getting a job; so it is a double-edged sword.

To make matters worse certain treatments that are meant to clear up flare-ups are time-consuming, can create side effects that can be stressful and also the fact that the treatments can be costly will induce stress. Other emotions that can also trigger psoriasis are fear, embarrassment, anxiety and anger.

Weather Extremes

Cold weather is one trigger that most psoriasis sufferers have in common. Immune systems are compromised when the stress of holidays combine with the cold weather of winter and the other triggers of the season (people stressing out, drinking alcohol). Extreme heat and air-conditioning can dry the skin.

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