How can I figure out what triggers my psoriasis and help avoid a flare?
Psoriasis triggers are unique for everyone. Sometimes it can feel like solving a puzzle trying to figure out why your skin flares. But psoriasis often worsens because of a trigger that you may be able to identify and avoid over time.
Common triggers include:
- Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections
- Skin injuries , such as cuts, bug bites or a severe sunburn
- Heavy alcohol use
- Too little vitamin D in the body
Medication triggers include:
- Lithium, which is prescribed for bipolar disorder
- High blood pressure medications such as beta blockers
- Drugs that fight malaria
- Rarely, potassium iodide, which is prescribed for high thyroid levels
Track your symptoms
To help pinpoint your personal triggers:
Keep a diary or use a smartphone app. Log details about what's going on in your life when your psoriasis flares. For example, include:
- Medications you're taking
- How much alcohol or tobacco you're using
- What the weather is like
- Whether you're also experiencing seasonal allergies
Log how you're feeling. Note details such as:
- Serious stress
- Signs of an illness
Review your diary for patterns. Over time, look for patterns in your lifestyle and when your psoriasis symptoms flare. For example:
- Does your skin flare in the fall when allergies are common?
- Do you experience more symptoms when you're stressed?
With a little detective work, you can uncover what seems to affect your psoriasis symptoms. Then, take action to avoid those triggers. It may help to discuss your plan with your doctor, especially if you need advice on how best to avoid your triggers.
July 03, 2018
See more Expert Answers
- Causes and triggers. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/causes. Accessed Nov. 20, 2017.
- Hodge B. The use of symptom diaries in outpatient care. Family Practice Management. 2013;20:24.
- The world's best apps for psoriatic disease. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/worlds-best-apps-psoriatic-disease. Accessed Nov. 20, 2017.
- Feldman S. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis of psoriasis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Nov. 22, 2017.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 5, 2018.