7 Psoriasis Triggers to Avoid
Must-Try Psoriasis Stoppers
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that manifests itself as a skin disorder. It affects around one to three percent of Americans, and is characterized by itchy, scaly patches of thickened skin. It can sometimes be simply annoying or in extreme cases, total torture for the sufferer. And it’s not something to be taken lightly; a 2012 study at the University of Pennsylvania found that those with psoriasis are at a much greater risk of depression, thoughts of suicide and anxiety. While sometimes the cause of psoriasis’ is unknown, here are seven common triggers psoriasis sufferers should avoid.
The same University of Pennsylvania study that found psoriasis patients are at increased risk for mental problems, also found that patients tend to drink more alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol is a trigger for many psoriasis sufferers. A study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital saw an increase in psoriasis in those that drank non-light beer specifically; and it didn’t take much to up the risk, just two to three drinks per week.
Everybody loves a little fun in the sun, but for psoriasis sufferers, too much sun can spell a major outbreak. Sun and psoriasis is tricky; while a moderate amount of sun can alleviate symptoms in some sufferers, a sunburn almost certainly means a flare-up. If you find a small amount of sun actually helps your symptoms, just remember to keep it to a minimum, lest you lose any benefit and burn yourself into a flare-up.
Cold, Dry Weather
On the opposite end of the weather spectrum is a cold, dry climate. This type of weather is generally the worst-case scenario for the psoriasis sufferer. The moisture is stripped from the skin in the bitter cold, and drying heating units only make matters worse. Try to minimize time spent in the elements during the coldest months, and invest in a good humidifier for your home.
Sadly, stress and psoriasis are often a package deal. Side effects of psoriasis such as drained finances from treatments, the social stigma, and a life of pain cause a tremendous amount of stress for the sufferer. Unfortunately, stress is a big trigger for outbreaks of psoriasis, so it’s important to attempt to reduce stress in your life as much as possible. Yoga and meditation practices have shown great success in relieving stress associated with many types of pain.
Some medications interfere with your body’s autoimmune response and can cause a severe psoriasis attack. These include beta-blockers, which are used for high blood pressure, steroidal medicines and pills taken to stop malaria. Always tell your doctor if you have psoriasis if any of these medications are being prescribed.
Some common infections, such as strep throat (Streptococcal pharyngitis), thrush (Candida albicans) and upper respiratory infections can trigger psoriasis outbreaks. If you suspect that you have been infected with any of these types of bacteria, get it treated promptly by your doctor.
Scratches, Bites and Skin Injury
If an insect has bitten you, you’ve been cut or scraped badly or experienced any kind of skin injury, you may notice new psoriasis lesions on the area where your skin was injured. These types of injuries can even occur in everyday activities such as shaving, acupuncture or pruning your garden. When performing any activity that may cause skin injury, be sure to take extra precautions, such as wearing long sleeves, gloves, and using bug spray.
Things to Remember
While it's not always possible to avoid every trigger for psoriasis, a little planning can go a long way toward preventing an outbreak. Carry a hat and sunscreen with you at all times; you never know when you might be sitting at a sunny table at a restaurant. Learn your individual triggers, and you can prevent and lessen most of your outbreaks.