How can I figure out what makes my psoriasis worse and help avoid a flare?

The cause of psoriasis flares is different for each person. Sometimes trying to figure out why your skin flares can seem like solving a puzzle. But psoriasis often worsens due to a cause that you may be able to identify and avoid over time.

Common causes of flares include:

  • Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections.
  • Skin injuries , such as cuts, bug bites or severe sunburn.
  • Stress.
  • Smoking.
  • Heavy alcohol use.
  • Too little vitamin D in the body.

Medicines that cause flares include:

  • Lithium, which is prescribed for bipolar disorder.
  • High blood pressure medications such as beta blockers.
  • Medicine that treats malaria.
  • Anti-tumor necrosis factor agents.

Track your symptoms

To help pinpoint what causes your flares:

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:

  • Medicines you're taking or stopping.
  • How much alcohol or tobacco you're using.
  • What the weather is like.

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 your psoriasis symptoms. For example:

  • Do you have flares during colder weather?
  • 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 the things you know cause flares. It may help to discuss your plan with your health care provider.

Feb. 15, 2023