Psoriasis is a common chronic illness that affects two to three percent of the population. It is not contagious, but it can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and in some cases even dangerous. While it is not known exactly what causes psoriasis, it is thought to be a combination of genetics and other factors, such as triggers. Somehow, your body’s immune system gets the message to produce skin cells about five times faster than normal. The excess skin builds up, causing rough patches that may be flaky or itchy. The skin is usually red and may be covered with loose, silvery scales.

Causes

Triggers for psoriasis can be different for every person. However, there are a few common factors that tend to increase the risk of a flare-up.

– Skin Irritation

Bug bites, sunburns, or other abrasions can cause your immune system to focus on that area of skin and create a psoriasis outbreak. Cold, dry weather may also increase the risk.

– Infections

Some infections are known to increase the risk of a flare-up, including HIV, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and the flu. Strep throat in young children can sometimes trigger a particular kind of psoriasis known as guttate psoriasis, which presents as small red drops on the skin.

– Medications

Certain medicines such as Lithium, beta-blockers, and antimalarial drugs can cause an outbreak. Also, suddenly stopping a drug for one type of psoriasis can cause another, more dangerous type to emerge, so never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor.

– Hormonal Changes

Outbreaks may be more frequent at times of significant hormonal changes such as puberty, after pregnancy, and menopause.

– Lifestyle

Other risk factors include being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, or excess stress levels.

How to Prevent Flare-Ups

The best way to prevent a flare-up is to avoid the triggers that affect you the most. Discuss your condition with your dermatologist before taking any new medications. Avoid smoking and drinking, eat healthy, and try to minimize stress. Also, you may want to cover your skin with an extra layer of clothing to protect you from cuts and scratches.

When to Seek Help

Your dermatologist can help you treat your skin problems at any stage, whether it is just minor or very severe. However, if you develop pus-filled bumps over a large part of your body or general areas of skin that look like it has been burned, seek help immediately. These are more severe types of psoriasis that can be very dangerous.

Treatment Options

There are several different treatments for psoriasis ranging from very gentle to quite extreme. Mild cases of psoriasis are often treated with topical creams. UV light therapy may also be used. More severe cases might include oral or injectable medications.

If you are looking for an experienced, compassionate team of doctors to help you effectively manage your psoriasis, contact The Dermatology Clinic today at (225) 769-7546.