Most Importantly Be Patient With Yourself
Dont worry if you still havent found your flare-up silver bulletpsoriasis symptoms and triggers can vary immensely from person to person, so different treatments will work better for different people.
That said, if you find that your flares are becoming more frequent or increasingly difficult to treat, Dr. Newsom says its probably time to check in with your dermatologist for guidance around how best to treat your condition.
Your Medication May No Longer Be Up To Par
Psoriasis can be mild, moderate, or severe. The treatment your doctor recommends will be based on the severity of your condition. Also, since psoriasis can change over time, you may need to switch to a new therapy at some point even if its working for you now.
Topical treatments are typically used first in mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. These include corticosteroids, retinoids, or calcineurin inhibitors. Prescription moisturizers or those containing coal tar or salicylic acid may also be recommended to promote skin cell turnover.
If topical treatments arent doing enough for your symptoms, your doctor may suggest oral or injectable medications. These include biologics, retinoids, and immunosuppressants.
How Do You Prevent Flare
There are some ways to help prevent flare-ups by managing triggers, such as:
- Treat psoriasis
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Avoid Medications That Cause Flare
Let your doctor know about all the medications you take, even over-the-counter ones. Ask if they could affect your psoriasis. Drugs that are known to make things worse include:
- Lithium, used to treat psychiatric disorders
- Propranololand possibly other beta-blockers, which are prescribed for heart conditions
- Quinidine, medication for irregular heart beat
If you’re using any of these medications, ask your doctor about substitutes. Know about these and other drugs that can trigger psoriasis flares.
Things That Can Trigger An Outbreak Of Psoriasis
Does it often feel like your psoriasis flares up for no reason? One or more triggers could be to blame. In fact, everyday things like a cold, a bug bite, or even stress can trigger psoriasis.
Triggers can vary from person to person, but discovering what they are and learning how to deal with them can help you gain control of your psoriasis and endure fewer flare-ups.
At Valerius Medical Group & Research Center, we want you to live happy and healthy, so weve put together seven common triggers to look out for.
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These 12 Medications Can Worsen Your Psoriasis
Here, well review the main medications that have been associated with worsening psoriasis. Most of these drugs can make existing psoriasis worse and cause you to develop new psoriasis lesions.
Well start with the more common medications and then discuss some of the newer, less common ones. One class of medications called corticosteroids is discussed at the end. Unlike the others, it can trigger psoriasis when you stop rather than start taking it.
Keep in mind that these medications dont cause psoriasis in everyone, and there are other medications that can trigger psoriasis not included on this list.
You May Need Phototherapy
You may find that being outside in warm weather helps with your psoriasis symptoms. This is because of the exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
To mimic these positive effects, your doctor might recommend phototherapy from UV treatment via sun lamps. Its important to note that these lamps are different from the ones used in tanning beds. Theyre specialized lamps that dont contain any harmful UV rays. Phototherapy is especially helpful for more severe forms of psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis.
Your doctor might also recommend adding psoralens, or PUVA therapy, to your treatment regime. Psoralens are plant-based compounds that help absorb UV rays and are thought to help aid skin absorption during psoriasis treatment.
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What Causes Psoriasis To Flare
Most psoriasis sufferers know that the condition can flare and improve, sometimes seemingly for no reason. The unexpected nature of the flares can be particularly frustrating, you can be doing well one minute and then poorly the next. Certainly, not all flares can be predicted. Controlling the known triggers of psoriasis in your life, however, can help prevent some of them.
Knowing Your Risk For Psoriasis
For those genetically predisposed to the disease, Dr. Cohen says that there are certain risk factors that can increase the odds of developing it.
“Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, certain medications are environmental factors that might bring out psoriasis in someone who’s genetically susceptible,” says Dr. Cohen. And while genes or environmental factors can play a role in causing some people to develop the disease, the “exact mechanism” of why people get it remains a mystery, he adds.
As sufferers know, flare-ups can come and go with little-to-no warning, but any number of possible triggers are thought to contribute to bouts with the disease. “When flares of psoriasis occur, the first thing that needs to be done is to identify the cause and rule out an infection as the triggering event,” says Dr. Gelfand.
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What Are The Symptoms
Different types of psoriasis have different symptoms. Read our psoriasis post to learn more about different types of psoriasis. Even people with the same type of psoriasis may experience different symptoms. This may also depend on the severity. Most often, symptoms are found on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp and include:
- Itchy, red, scaly patches on skin
- Thick or ridged nails
- Joint pain
Triggers Of Psoriatic Arthritis Flares
Every person has their own unique experience with psoriatic arthritis flare-ups. Something may cause a flare-up in one person but not in another. Thats why its important to track and log the triggers that set off your symptoms. Show the log to your doctor. Finding a link or pattern between certain activities and your psoriasis flare-ups can help control your outbreaks.
Common psoriatic arthritis triggers include the following.
Skin trauma or injury: This might include cuts, bumps, bruises, scratches, scrapes, or infections. Prevent injuries by being careful when cooking, gardening, nail trimming, and shaving. Wear gloves and long sleeves when doing an activity that could potentially cause injury.
Dry skin: Dry skin can cause a flare-up. Aim to keep skin hydrated with moisturizing lotions and creams.
Sunburn: While sunshine is good for psoriasis, getting sunburned is not. Always carry a hat and sunscreen.
Stress: Relaxation and stress reduction tactics such as yoga and meditation can alleviate stress and anxiety. Consider joining a psoriasis support group.
Alcohol: In addition to potentially causing flare-ups, alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications.
Excess weight: Extra pounds can stress joints. Additionally, psoriasis plaques can develop in skin folds. People with psoriasis are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, which can be triggered by an unhealthy weight. Talk with your doctor about a diet and exercise plan.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
The signs and symptoms usually depend on the type of psoriasis you have.
- Plaque type: This is the most common and mildest type of psoriasis. Plaques are reddened patches covered with silver-colored scales. Your knees, elbows, scalp, stomach, and back are usually affected. You may also have nail changes, such as pitting, thickening, or lifting of the nails off the nail bed.
- Guttate type: This type is the most common among children and young adults. It usually happens after a sore throat or other infections. This type looks like red, raised, pea-sized drops on your skin.
- Inverse type: The plaques appear as smooth red patches and are often found in the moist areas of your body. It affects skin in the armpits, groin, under breasts, and around the genitals.
- Erythrodermic type: This is a rare and severe type of psoriasis in which plaques cover large areas of the skin. These areas itch and are painful.
- Pustular type: Pustules or pimple-like lesions may appear on large red areas of the skin. Sometimes this type is limited to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
- Psoriatic arthritis: Some people who have psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis makes your joints swollen and painful. You may also have nail changes, such as pitting, thickening, or lifting of the nails off the nail bed.
What Triggers Psoriasis Flare
While the underlying cause of psoriasis stems from your body’s immune system, certain triggers can make symptoms worse or cause flare-ups. These psoriasis triggers include:
- Cold and dry weather. Such weather can dry out your skin, which makes the chances of having a flare-up worse. In contrast, hot, sunny weather appears to help control the symptoms of psoriasis in most people.
- Stress. Having psoriasis can itself cause stress, and patients often report that outbreaks of symptoms come during particularly stressful times.
- Some medications. Certain drugs, such as lithium , drugs for malaria, and some beta-blockers , can cause flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms.
- Infections. Certain infections, such as strep throat or tonsillitis, can result in guttate or other types of psoriasis two to three weeks after the infection. Psoriasis symptoms may worsen in people who have HIV.
- Trauma to the skin. In some people with psoriasis, trauma to the skin — including cuts, bruises, burns, bumps, vaccinations, tattoos, and other skin conditions — can cause a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms at the site of the injury. This condition is called “Koebner phenomenon.”
- Alcohol. Using alcohol may increase the chances of psoriasis flare-ups.
- Smoking. Some experts think that smoking can worsen psoriasis symptoms.
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Is There A Treatment For Psoriasis
Sadly, there is no known cure for psoriasis however, you can take action to help reduce inflammation and scales, remove plaques and slow down the growth of skin cells.
To help reduce mild to moderate psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe a cream or ointment for you to use. Topical treatments are most commonly used for those with mild to moderate cases.
If you have moderate to severe psoriasis, or your body hasnt responded well to other forms of treatment, your doctor may recommend an oral or injected medication. These medications are usually only used for a short period of time since they can often have severe side effects.
Because sunlight kills the overactive white blood cells that cause the cells to grow so quickly, many people opt to use ultraviolet or natural light to treat their psoriasis. Light therapy can be used for all types of psoriasis, although it is recommended that those with moderate to severe psoriasis use a combination of treatments.
What Is The Treatment For Psoriasis Flare
There is no cure for psoriasis, but treatments can relieve the symptoms. Treatment for psoriasis includes:
- Topical treatments, such as creams and ointments
- Prescription topical treatments
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There Are Ways To Shorten Flare
Psoriasis is a big star on TV drug ads, but this autoimmune skin disease is something most people try to keep well hidden.
“Psoriasis is among the most common skin conditions, affecting about 2% of the U.S. population, and while the condition doesn’t affect everyone the same way, the approach to treatment and prevention is often similar,” says Dr. Gideon Smith, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
What To Do If Your Medication Triggers Your Psoriasis
Psoriasis that is caused or worsened by a medication can look similar to regular psoriasis, so it can be hard to know if a medication is to blame for your flare. Its important to keep in mind that other things like stress or an illness can also trigger psoriasis.
If you think a medication is making your psoriasis worse, the first step is to talk to your provider. Its important that you dont stop any medications on your own. Your provider will help you come up with a plan to stop the medication and start a new one if needed.
In some situations, just stopping the medication will improve or reverse the psoriasis flare. In other situations, you will need to treat the psoriasis even after stopping the medication. If this happens, your provider will help you come up with the best treatment plan for you.
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Problems With The Immune System
Your immune system is your body’s defence against disease and it helps fight infection. One of the main types of cell used by the immune system is called a T-cell.
T-cells normally travel through the body to detect and fight invading germs, such as bacteria. But in people with psoriasis, they start to attack healthy skin cells by mistake.
This causes the deepest layer of skin to produce new skin cells more quickly than usual, triggering the immune system to produce more T-cells.
It’s not known what exactly causes this problem with the immune system, although certain genes and environmental triggers may play a role.
What Causes Psoriasis To Flare Up
- Stress As with other common skin problems such as eczema and rosacea, stress may bring on psoriasis or make existing breakouts worse.
- Infection When ones immune system is compromised, it can lead to a psoriasis flare-up. Strep throat, bronchitis and respiratory infections have all been linked to the development of new or worsening psoriasis patches.
- Injury In what is known as the Koebner phenomenon, psoriasis patches may form in response to skin injury or trauma. Sunburn, vaccinations and cuts can all potentially trigger an outbreak.
- Medications A variety of medications have been shown to cause psoriasis flare-ups in some patients. Just to name a few: Inderal , Indomethacin and Quinidine .
- Weather The severity and timing of psoriasis outbreaks can also be related to weather conditions. For instance, flare-ups are more likely to occur in the winter when the air is dry and skin tends to be, too.
Ultimately, the answer to what causes psoriasis to flare up? will vary from patient to patient. However, any individual with psoriasis should be aware of these common triggers, as this information can help them manage their condition.
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Be Mindful Of Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol and Psoriasis
Some studies show a link between heavy drinking and psoriasis flares. It seems that men who drink heavily are more likely to suffer from psoriasis than men who do not drink alcohol. Alcohol consumption negatively impacts treatment and reduces the likelihood of remission. Alcohol may interact with certain psoriasis medications. Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to consume alcohol if you have psoriasis.
Tips to Stop Drinking
If you’re trying to cut back or stop drinking all together, managing triggers can help you reach your goal. In general, avoid high-risk situations where you anticipate it will be difficult to avoid temptation. If you can’t avoid a situation where you are concerned you might be triggered, have some strategies in place to help you stay on track and cope.
- Distract yourself by calling or texting a friend or watching a funny video online. Go for a walk or take a few minutes to practice deep breathing or meditation.
- Review your reasons for not wanting to drink. Write the reasons on a card that you keep in your purse or wallet to revisit when you need to.
- Talk to a trusted friend when you’re tempted to drink and discuss the reasons you’re trying to abstain.
Tips For Preventing A Psoriasis Flare
Knowing that psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects more than 8 million Americans and about 125 million people around the world isn’t much comfort when youre dealing with constant symptoms or a flare-up.
The classic signs of red patches, flaking and silvery scales, burning, tenderness, thickening, and cracking are not only uncomfortable, they can be embarrassing as well.
While theres no cure for psoriasis, there are ways to help manage your symptoms and try to keep flare-ups to a minimum. Dr. Matthew Mittelbronn at Lakeview Dermatology in Lake Worth, Texas, treats a wide range of skin conditions, including psoriasis, and can help you find the right treatment for yours.
One of the most important aspects of any psoriasis treatment involves your participation. The better you are consistent with using recommended treatments and avoiding those things that can worsen or trigger your psoriasis, the better youll be able to keep your psoriasis under control and help prevent flare-ups.
Here are some tips:
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