The Causes of Psoriasis

March 31, 2012By

Psoriasis is a complicated and only half-understood disorder. Over the years, however, many causes of psoriasis have been identified, and can be useful both for predicting who may become psoriatic and for preventing outbreaks in those who suffer from the disorder.

The Onset of Psoriasis…


Psoriasis is passed down through families, but there is good news for psoriatics who wish to become parents: there is no guarantee that a parent with psoriasis will pass it on to his or her children. It only rarely affects multiple people in the same immediate family, and it may skip several generations.

The genetics are complex, as several different genes have been shown to be capable of causing psoriasis in those who carry them. They usually lead to different forms of psoriasis when combined with other genetic problems that affect the immune system or inflammatory responses.

Immune System and Skin Buildup

Photo of Psoriasis on LegsIt is commonly accepted that the cause of psoriasis is an immune dysfunction, with the immune system attacking healthy cells and causing the skin to replace itself at an abnormally fast rate. The body can’t shed the excess skin fast enough, often causing plaques and scaling. However, AIDS victims often suffer from psoriasis, meaning that it can take place even with no immune system to cause it. As a result, the exact details of how this disease really functions are not known.


This disorder often lies dormant until adolescence or adulthood. It usually first breaks out following a trigger event: common initial onset of this condition can be triggered by strep throat, injury, or high stress. Once it begins, it’s there to stay; although a specific outbreak or affected area can be cleared (sometimes leaving scars that can be treated with scar removal cream), psoriasis is incurable and will last for the remainder of the sufferer’s life.Fortunately, it is treatable, and the symptoms can be greatly reduced.

Outbreak Causes

There are many day-to-day psoriasis symptoms. It is very common for psoriasis to follow injuries; many people will get an outbreak on or around the area of a recent wound. It can become even worse if there’s an infection. Protecting the skin from trauma and taking good care of injuries are some of the best things psoriatics can do to prevent and ease outbreaks.

Stress, another of the possible initial triggers, is also a common cause of worsening symptoms. Many people who are highly stressed will notice their conditions worsening (which certainly does nothing to help). Stress management techniques, from therapy to massage to meditation, can often be used to good effect in reducing the severity of the resulting outbreaks.

Weight problems are also associated with more severe symptoms, and can also create more problematic surface areas. Losing weight often results in a noticeable improvement.

For many people, certain foods and medications can result in outbreaks. These vary depending on the individual. Those who believe a certain food or medication is worsening their conditions should talk to a doctor for help isolating the cause and removing it from their life.

Alcohol abuse may contribute to the problem as well, but the high rate of alcoholics with severe psoriasis is still a bit of a chicken-or-egg-first question. However, many believe that it is the alcohol causing the disease to become as bad as it is in these patients, and in any case it is certainly detrimental to health.

Smoking, on the other hand, is a definite problem. It not only worsens existing psoriasis: it can serve as a catalyst for the initial outbreak, and greatly increases the chances of someone developing it. Anyone with a family history of the disease should be particularly careful to avoid smoking in the first place, and do everything possible to quit if they already do smoke. Remember, there is no cure once psoriasis begins.

Weather is one of the less easy-to-dodge triggers of psoriasis. Dry conditions, particularly when combined with cold, can cause dry skin problems in anyone; for psoriatics, it can be a serious issue. Humidifiers can help indoor situations, while moisturizing skin cream can help with the outdoor conditions. Moving to warmer, moister climes can lead to a higher quality of life for some.

No two psoriatics are the same, and the disease needs to be managed on a case-by-case basis. Those suffering from the disorder should seek to identify their personal triggers of psoriasis outbreaks and do their best to eliminate their exposure to them.

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