While the link between psoriasis and body weight isn’t fully understood, experts think obesity is a risk factor for the condition. If you have psoriasis and obesity, losing weight might help.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition caused by the rapid buildup of dead cells on your skin’s surface. It can cause itchy, bumpy patches covered with scales.

There are many triggers and risk factors for psoriasis. Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 30, is one of them. Conversely, having psoriasis may contribute to weight gain.

Keep reading to learn about the connection between psoriasis and obesity and what lifestyle habits can help you manage both conditions.

The exact link between psoriasis and obesity isn’t clear, but obesity is a well-known risk factor for psoriasis. Moreover, gaining excess weight can make your psoriasis worse.

Your cells and tissues release signaling molecules called cytokines in order to communicate with each other.

Cytokines are similar to hormones, but they’re usually smaller. Your fat tissue releases a special type of cytokines called adipokines.

The more fat your body has, the more adipokines are released into your bloodstream. Some of these adipokines trigger inflammation. This can increase your risk of autoimmune conditions like psoriasis.

Another important link between obesity and psoriasis is your microbiome. This is made up of all the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live inside your body and on your skin.

As researchers learn more about the microbiome, they’ve found that weight gain can affect it. This matters because changes in your microbiome can play a role in psoriasis and autoimmune conditions.

It’s important to remember that obesity alone does not cause psoriasis. There are many other risk factors for psoriasis, such as genetics, medications, and tobacco.

If psoriasis runs in your family, paying attention to its risk factors can help you manage and sometimes even prevent the condition.

Some studies suggest that psoriasis can cause weight gain.

People with psoriasis often have more fat tissue than people without this condition. Although experts don’t know exactly why this is, one theory is that psoriasis can trigger depression.

Depression, in turn, can affect eating and exercise habits.

If you suspect you or a loved one may have depression, reach out to a doctor or other healthcare professional for support.

Losing weight can have a major positive effect on psoriasis.

A 2018 review of 14 studies suggests that weight loss through diet and exercise can make psoriasis patches smaller and less severe. Moreover, weight loss can make psoriasis medications more effective.

Experts don’t yet know whether weight loss can cure psoriasis, but changing your diet can help prevent psoriasis flare-ups.

Some foods may worsen psoriasis, so it’s a good idea to limit them as much as you can. Examples include:

Losing weight can be challenging. However, losing even a small amount of weight can have a positive effect on your psoriasis.

Here are some steps you can take to manage your weight.


Exercise works in two ways to manage psoriasis.

First, it helps you burn calories, which helps with weight management and weight loss. Second, it can increase anti-inflammatory adipokines in your blood.

Both these things may help with psoriasis symptoms and reduce associated health complications.

There aren’t any special routines you need to know when exercising to manage psoriasis. Your goal is to keep moving and have fun with it — it’s important to find an exercise you enjoy.

If you’re new to exercise, start slow and take one step at a time.

Read more about tips for exercising with psoriasis.

Balanced diet

Eating a nutritious diet can help manage and lower your symptoms. This means eating nutrient-dense foods from a variety of whole food sources.

Even if a balanced diet doesn’t result in weight loss, it’s still beneficial. Research shows that what you eat can affect your psoriasis, regardless of changes in your weight.

Read more about foods to avoid and diets to try if you have psoriasis.

Lifestyle changes

In addition to a balanced diet and regular exercise, there are other things you can do to ease psoriasis symptoms. They include:

If you find making certain lifestyle changes difficult, reach out to your doctor for help. They can help you come up with a plan that works for you.

There’s a strong link between psoriasis and obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for psoriasis, and psoriasis can cause weight gain.

Regular exercise, certain types of foods, and other lifestyle changes can help you feel better.