• Common Psoriasis Triggers to Avoid

    on Oct 1st, 2019

Psoriasis is no picnic. It can be frustrating to see the small flakes of skin on your clothes or the interior of your car. And when a flare-up occurs, it can be itchy and incredibly uncomfortable. The good news is that you can have some control over the condition. Flare-ups can be brought on by certain triggers, and if you know what they are, you can try to avoid them.

In this blog, Allen A. Flood, MD, discusses what psoriasis is, what some of the triggers are, and how you may be able to avoid them.

The triggers behind psoriasis flare-ups

Psoriasis is a skin condition that is associated with the immune system. It causes the natural life cycle of skin cells to occur more rapidly, which can lead to patches of skin that are scaly, red, itchy, and painful. The following are some of the triggers that can lead to flare-ups and steps you can take to avoid them.


Stress is one of the worst offenders when it comes to causing a psoriasis outbreak. When you’re feeling stressed as a result of work, school, relationship problems, or other day-to-day issues, you might notice more flare-ups than usual.

Being able to better manage your stress is the key. There are a variety of ways you can lessen the impact of stress, such as taking walks, exercising, or joining a support group. Just find a method that works well for you.


When the weather becomes cold and dry, it can psoriasis flare-ups. This is often why you may tend to see more flare-ups in the winter than the summer.

The best way to avoid this problem is to try to keep your skin moist by using a fragrance-free moisturizer for sensitive skin. You can also use a humidifier at home. Furthermore, try to limit your showers to 10 minutes so you don’t dry out your skin as much. And when you bathe, try to use warm water instead of hot water, which can dry out your skin.

Drinking and smoking  

If you drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, this can lead to psoriasis flare-ups. If you’re looking to avoid triggering symptoms, you might want to cut back or stop drinking and smoking altogether. Both behaviors are unhealthy for your body, and cutting back can be a great way to improve your overall health.


Some medications can cause symptoms to worsen. These include lithium, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and medications used to treat malaria. Steroid pills can also increase your chances for flare-ups, and even nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can worsen the condition.

To lessen flare-ups, talk to your doctor about alternative medications, especially if you notice an increase in flare-ups after you start taking a particular medication.


Getting an infection can make you more likely to experience psoriasis flare-ups. Staph, strep throat, thrush, yeast, and other common infections can lead to more severe symptoms.

Try to avoid getting infections by washing your hands regularly, avoiding using anyone else’s personal items — such as makeup, towels, brushes — and getting checkups regularly at the doctor’s office. And if you do get an infection, get it taken care of as soon as possible.

Skin trauma  

Bruises, cuts, bumps, and scrapes can all worsen psoriasis symptoms. So stay as safe as possible, and where safety equipment when you play sports or engage in activities that may lead to cuts and bumps. You should also avoid getting tattoos or doing things that will cause unnecessary trauma for your skin.

To learn more about treating psoriasis or avoiding its symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone with Allen A. Flood, MD today.

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Allen A. Flood, MD Dermatology
650 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 420
Capitol Hill

Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-719-0855
Fax: (202) 547-9092
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