6 Unusual Psoriasis Triggers

Amy Tudor | March 1, 2012

Reviewed by Robert Hurd, MD

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What better way to discover all of the unusual triggers for psoriasis than from the people who experience them first-hand? These six people with psoriasis share their triggers and stories they found most surprising about their condition.

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Illness

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I have a psoriasis outbreak every time I get sick–particularly if it’s a bad infection, like strep throat. Illness is inevitable, but now I spend more time taking care of my immune system before I get sick, more than I did before I realized the connection. -Irma

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Winter

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Winter is tough because I don’t get much sunlight, and the air is also really dry. Cold, dry skin means that I have psoriasis and eczema outbreaks off and on for months. My best tip? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Humidifiers help in the house, and lotions help keep my skin resilient. - Jo Ann

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Medication

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It took me a long time to figure out that my blood pressure medicine was causing my psoriasis to get worse. I had to change medications until I found one that I could live with! - Megan

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Pets

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I’m allergic to pet dander, but I always assumed my symptoms weren’t bad. After a while I noticed that animals don’t make me sneeze, but they can cause my psoriasis to flare. Now when I travel to visit friends or family I stay in a hotel so I have a pet-free place to sleep. - James

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Anxiety

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I dread public speaking, but a few years ago I had a job that required a lot of presentations. I noticed that my psoriasis got much worse when I was in that ‘anxious period’ before a big talk. By the day of the presentation, I had to wear a turtleneck to hide the worst my psoriasis, no matter how warm it was outside. I found that if I did smaller presentations with fewer people, I didn’t stress as much, and that has helped a bit. -Gabe

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Alcohol

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I avoid alcohol because it can be a trigger, but there are times when I’m having a hard time controlling symptoms when avoiding alcohol means even avoiding cold medicines or skin-care products that contain alcohol. - Airlia

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Reviewer’s Note:

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Another trigger scenario could be seen in a person with manic depressive illness whose symptoms worsen after taking lithium. Switching to another medication (with the approval of a health care provider) may make psoriasis easier to control.