Psoriasis Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Woman scratching her arm

At Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, we work hard to help our psoriasis patients because we know how frustrating and uncomfortable their skin condition can be. We specialize in treating psoriasis by understanding its many forms and providing effective treatment and prevention options. Although there is no cure for psoriasis, it can be expertly managed, and flare-ups can be avoided. We educate our patients comprehensively on how to avoid psoriasis triggers, and we create personalized care and management plans based on each patient’s unique case.

Understanding Known Psoriasis Triggers

Each person may experience psoriasis triggers that are unique to them, but there are several known psoriasis triggers that every psoriasis patient should avoid. Stress is a major contributor to psoriasis flares, and many patients find this is among the hardest triggers to avoid. Getting plenty of sleep, healthy sun exposure, exercise and prioritizing a nutrient-rich diet are the most important avenues toward reducing stress. Excessive sun exposure can also lead to psoriasis flares, as can extreme temperatures. If you must be in cold, dry weather, protect your skin from exposure as much as possible and moisturize your skin often.

Illness, Injury and Weight as Contributors to Psoriasis

As previously stated, stress is a major contributor to psoriasis flares. Considering how stressful illnesses, injuries and obesity can be to the body, it is easy to understand how these issues can be contributors to psoriasis flares. Although certain illnesses and injuries can be unavoidable, it is important for psoriasis patients to live healthy lifestyles. Psoriasis patients should consider avoiding tomatoes, eggplant and white potatoes (nightshade plants), as well as gluten, white flour, dairy and foods that are high in sugar and fat, as these are known to exacerbate psoriasis. Additionally, there is a 2017 research study that found that alcohol misuse affects almost one-third of people with psoriasis. The study also found that psoriasis patients are more likely to die of alcohol-related diseases than people without psoriasis.

Medications that Exacerbate Psoriasis 

Certain medications can interfere with the body’s autoimmune response and cause severe psoriasis outbreaks. Medications to avoid include

  • Beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that are used to treat high blood pressure
  • Antimalarial medications
  • Lithium
  • Interferon-alpha, which is used to treat hepatitis C

Your board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting will review your entire medication list to ensure your medications will not contribute to psoriasis outbreaks.

Tattoo-Related Psoriasis Risks

Unique challenges are posed for people with psoriasis who wish to have tattoos. Not only are tattoos a risk for infection and allergy, but people with psoriasis are also at increased risk of developing skin lesions following a tattoo. This issue, called the Koebner phenomenon, can result from a simple scratch, but it can also be a response to tattooing. Another consideration for people with psoriasis is that it is not possible to effectively apply a tattoo in an area that currently has psoriasis scales. If a flare occurs after getting the tattoo, it may spoil the effect.

Our Approach to Psoriasis Treatment

Since no two cases of psoriasis are the same, every treatment protocol we prescribe for psoriasis is highly personalized to each patient. For some patients, topical medications such as cortisone creams, retinoids, ointments and lotions are enough to control psoriasis. For other patients, we may recommend light therapies that have been shown to slow the rapid growth of skin cells that leads to psoriasis. Oral medications such as methotrexate and cyclosporine are sometimes recommended when other treatments have failed.

Are you ready to get your psoriasis under control? Call us today at 610.947.4322 to schedule your appointment with our medical dermatology team, who will review your unique case and prescribe an effective treatment regimen.