Uncovering the Hidden Culprits: Common Psoriasis Triggers You Need to Know


In reality, for the most part, it comes down to genetics. You have genes that will expose you to having psoriasis at some point in your life, or you don't.



Millions of people all over the world are impacted by the condition known as psoriasis. It has no known cure, however, treatments are available to help control the symptoms of this condition.

Many times when people are diagnosed with psoriasis, they usually believe it's something that they have done wrong, they then look for reasons to blame themselves. Could it have been something they ate or drank, or was it the new article of clothing they purchased? Just remember that it's not uncommon for psoriasis to have no identifiable cause at all, some people may just have a genetic predisposition.

All that being said, there are many things that may trigger your psoriasis. The key is being able to narrow them down so you can eliminate them in the future. There are different medications that suppress the immune system, or certain infections could aggravate your psoriasis and cause flare-ups. Given that psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disorder in the world, and can affect anyone, it's shouldn't be surprising that there can be so many triggers.

If you suffer from psoriasis, you’re probably already familiar with the emotional roller coaster that comes along with having it. For this reason, it is important to know what your “trigger finger” is and to be prepared to avoid or reduce the effects of that particular condition.

There’s no one magic trigger for psoriasis, and no single solution will make the condition go away. What's most important is nailing down your triggers for psoriasis and avoiding them, this can be done by the way, we live, the way we think, and even in the way we handle stress. These triggers have a huge impact on whether our skin flares up or not.

For many people with psoriasis, and even those without the condition, incorporating a skincare routine is going to be an important part of maintaining a healthy life. Seeing the redness and irritation spread across your skin can be extremely stressful. So what causes the flare-ups in the first place?


Let's look at what can trigger psoriasis flare-ups:

Infections (such as strep throat or skin infections):

These two situations are very similar. Your immune system is fighting an infection. In both cases, your immune system will send white blood cells to fight off the infection. These white blood cells start to attack and irritate healthy skin, basically meaning your immune system is causing a war in your body. 

In the case of strep throat, the war is in your throat. In the case of a skin infection, the war is in your skin. In both cases, the result is the same. Your immune system gets confused and begins to go after your healthy skin instead of the skin that actually has the infection. This causes a rash or a skin condition that has a red, scaly appearance.

Keep your skin clean and dry. Use a medicated soap to wash with and when possible, wear loose-fitting clothing so you won't be irritated by dry, flaky skin.

 Doctor checking the throat of a young girl.


Often people find that the weather may play a part in their psoriasis flare-ups. When the weather is warm and humid, they tend to get itchy, though many feel the problem gets worse in the winter when it's cold and dry. Depending on where you live the lack of sunlight during the dark winter months probably has something to do with that. Dress appropriately cold dry air tends to get under the skin and dry it out, causing itching and redness, and allowing it to go on for too long, can cause inflammation. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and keep your skin moisturized.


Baths over showers if possible:

Long hot showers or baths can be another trigger. While both feel good, try limiting your time.

You can add oils, Epsom salts, or even finely ground oatmeal to your bath. Relax in the tub between 10 to 15 minutes this will allow enough time for scales to come off as well as soothe the itching. Use your moisturizing cream or lotion right after to lock the water in.

Hot showers tend to remove moisture from your skin, but if your not a bath person, believe me I know not everybody is, or maybe you don't have a tub, keep your shower time short, use warm water and just stay long enough to lather up and rinse off. Lock in water with lotion or moisturizing cream afterwords.

 Bathtub outside on a patio, surrounded by plants.

Irritable articles of clothing:

Painful joints can be attributed to the cold weather and wind that is irritating your skin. Protect exposed areas by wearing scarves, hats, and gloves. Dressing in layers of clothing that are easily removable to avoid getting too hot. This will also prevent sweating, you don't want to sweat, sweating can make your psoriasis worse. Try and stay away from fabrics that are more likely to bother your skin, If possible wear cotton over wool.

Small child bundled up in layers of winter clothing.

Smoking and exposure to second hand smoke:

The link between smoking and psoriasis may not be a direct one, but there are enough studies linking smoking to psoriasis that dermatologists agree it should be avoided by patients with the condition. Second hand smoke can cause flare-ups of the condition, including stress, hormonal imbalances, and even low levels of vitamin D in anyone who smokes or has smoked in the past, but the risk is greater for people with psoriasis. 

Nothing is ever surprising when dealing with psoriasis, just because you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke doesn't mean you will have flare-ups or get psoriasis, plenty of people who smoke don't get psoriasis, and many that do have it don't see their psoriasis worsen or flare-up.

What we are doing is looking at as many possibilities as we can, so when a flare-up does occur you can look back on your day and try to eliminate what could be a trigger against what you know isn't, using the process of elimination.

By backtracking in your mind after a flare-up, and writing down everywhere you can remember going that day, or the day before can help. Once you have generated 3 or 4 lists now you can cross-reference, maybe you find that on 3 of those lists you went to the laundry mat or the bakery.
I realize you need to generate a few lists first, but that's the way it is. Nothing is easy with psoriasis we all know that it's what you do to try and make living with it as bearable as possible. Better to start your lists now than to have 2 more flare-ups happen and curse yourself for not starting sooner.

Swirling cigarette smoke.


Just like a situation in the movies where we see an actor is being followed or chased, they must make a decision to either fight or run. The same is true when our body identifies a threat or danger by releasing certain hormones. This speeds up the heart and we feel a sudden burst of strength and energy. This is our body going into fight-or-flight mode.

The stress that causes flare-ups is what we deal with in our everyday lives. It could maybe be a test at school, a work assignment, upcoming bills, a recent breakup/divorce, or a sudden loss in the family. These are not fight-or-flight situations, but they still cause us to release the same skin-damaging hormones.

Stress can also spark some unhealthy habits that will also lead to a negative impact on your overall health. To help cope with stress, many of us pick up unhealthy habits like smoking, not making healthy choices in what we eat, drinking too much, etc. These habits damage the body and create bigger problems in the long term.

 Two hands cupped together, holding a rock with the word stress written on it multiple times.

To help alleviate some stress, try one or two of these suggestions:

  • Eat a balanced diet, and fruits rich in vitamin C, like oranges and grapefruits, this can help lower stress hormones.

  • Get a good night’s sleep, cutting down your TV and/or computer time in the evenings will help with this.
  • Exercise! even walking as little as three times a week for 15 to 20-minutes can help you deal with stress.
  • Cut down on your smoking, and drinking alcohol. While they may feel like they're helping you relax, they can sometimes do the opposite by making you more anxious without you even realizing it.
  • It may surprise you at just how little time is required to recharge your body's batteries, even if you only put aside 30 minutes a day for yourself, read a book or just sit back and relax, but be sure to look after yourself.
  • Meditation, When you find yourself with a racing mind you can't seem to slow down, try to meditate, or maybe do breathing exercises if that doesn't work there are many other relaxation techniques to try, finding the one that works for you is key.


Heavy alcohol consumption:

It's never been confirmed that there is a link between alcohol and psoriasis, but there has been research that suggests people who drink alcohol have a greater chance of psoriasis flare-ups than people who don't. Many labels on psoriasis medication advise against consuming any alcohol during use. This is because alcohol can increase your risk of serious side effects or make certain medications less effective. Always discuss any drug interactions with your doctor before drinking.

We believe this should be left up to each individual, you know better than anyone if alcohol is hindering your progress or not. 

Different shapes and sizes of glasses, that have the corresponding alcohol in them.


Koebner Phenomenon:

Heinrich Koebner, was a renowned 19th-century German dermatologist, he was the first to define the condition

The Koebner phenomenon is when a skin disorder, such as psoriasis, occurs at the site of an injury on the skin that was otherwise healthy, that could be a cut or scrape, a bug bite, or a severe sunburn. It may also occur after a tattoo a vaccination shot, or having acupuncture.

Anything that changes your skin on the inside or the outside may have a Koebner response.

It's more common in people who received a diagnosis of psoriasis when they were very young.

Weather too can play a part, with the Koebner phenomenon occurring more during the cold winter months than in warm summer months.

Like regular psoriasis flare-ups, Koebner phenomenon can be scaly, raised, itchy, or painful. Areas may also crack or bleed. More plaque is usually attributed to worse injuries.  

Koebner phenomenon plaques are able to turn up anywhere your skin has been hurt, whereas regular psoriasis is most common on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. 

You should see your doctor if you notice a skin change without any apparent cause and in a new location a linear patch forms around the site of a recent injury.


Treat Koebner phenomenon plaques the same way you would treat your regular psoriasis plaques.

-Ointment, lotion, or cream.

-Prescription medicines

-Light therapy.

We know that psoriasis treatments work differently for different people. Have your dermatologist or doctor help you find the treatment that works best for you.

2 picture grid showing the before and after photos of a lady's underarm, which is now clear after 72 hrs.



Certain medications may make your psoriasis symptoms worse. Talk with your doctor or dermatologist to make sure you’re prescribed a medication matched to your skin only. Know which ones put you at risk. The same principle that applies to flare-ups caused by weather, drinking, or smoking is true with medications as well, not everyone is going to be affected the same. 

Pill bottle laying on it's side, with the pills spilled out.


Let's take a look at some of the most common drugs that may cause your psoriasis to flare-up:

Beta-Blockers - Usually prescribed for high blood pressure.

Lithium - Used to treat psychiatric illnesses.

Antimalarials - Used to treat malaria as well as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Interferons - Often used to treat hepatitis C.

Terbinafine - Synthetic antifungal used to treat athlete's foot, jock itch, and other common fungal skin infections.

ACE Inhibitors Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) - Used to control hypertension.

TNF Blockers Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) - Type of biologic drug used to treat Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.



While psoriasis is a common condition, there are lots of different things that can cause it to flare-up. You can help narrow it down by tracking what you eat and drink during the day, make note of what the weather was like that day, or if your skin was exposed to anything, To help you narrow down, you should let your doctor know about all the medications and supplements you are taking. These may include prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, supplements and other products.


AF27Skincare is a small family-run business which offers a steroid and cortisone-free psoriasis salve. It is 100% safe for all skin types, including young infants. In our blogs, AF27Skincare products are what will be promoted and discussed, as well as many facts and tips about psoriasis and the problems it can cause that we hope can aid our followers in some way. Though we can not guarantee our products will help/relieve everybody, we hope our blogs can provide insight and helpful tools to anyone who may need it. Typically, if you don't see results in the first 72 hrs, unfortunately, it probably isn't going to work for you. If that's the case, maybe we can help in a different way! Feel free to send us an Email regarding any topics or questions you would like covered and we will always do our best to please you!

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