9 Things Which Could Worsen Psoriasis

by Alisha Bridges Patient Advocate

Psoriasis can be a tough battle and hard to control. These 9 things can also possibly worsen your psoriasis, so be sure to speak with your doctor about alternatives and living a healthier life with psoriasis.

Glass of beer.


Anytime I’ve indulged in alcohol, my skin itches tremendously, and I’ve heard others who’ve suffered as well. Alcohol leaves your body dehydrated, causing your kidneys to work overtime. It can also decrease the effectiveness of psoriasis meds. After talking with your doctor if you do have a cocktail, make sure water outweighs alcohol consumption.

Cigarette butt.


There have only been a few studies on cigarettes’ effect on psoriasis. While researchers can’t pinpoint exactly how it worsens psoriasis, the condition has been shown to worsen in those who smoke compared to those who don’t smoke. There are a number of other factors too, but generally, smoking is bad for your health overall.

Chewed pencil.


Psoriasis and stress go hand in hand. The National Psoriasis Foundation also reports that psoriasis is sometimes the body’s way of coping with stress - sending out false signals tricking your body into producing skin cells it doesn’t need. That’s why it’s critical you find ways to cope with stress when managing your psoriasis.

Bar of soap.

Hot showers

I love hot showers, but the hotter the water the more it dries out my skin. Hot water can be harsh on skin especially in the winter time when we’re already combating cold weather. Hot showers strip away natural oils the body produces - and with psoriasis, we need all the oil we can possibly receive. A nurse once suggested I take 5-10 minute lukewarm showers instead.

Man ice skates pulling little girl on sled.

Cold weather

Cold weather is BRUTAL for psoriasis sufferers. I’ve spent 18 months in Michigan combating snow and below freezing temps. I remember dauntingly moisturizing 3-4 times a day, and it not being enough for my dry, flaky skin. Some people I know have moved to sunnier states to escape the cold, but while relocating may be a bit extreme, these other tips may bring relief.

Woman experiences irritation from fragrance on her clothes hanging in closet.

Laundry with fragrance

I’ve been using fragrance-free detergent for the last 4 years, and I must say there is a difference in the itchiness of my skin. Detergent with fragrance can cause allergic reactions, hence triggering psoriasis. Although I still itch, it’s not as excessive as it used to be before I switched to scent-free.

Woman experience itchiness on her elbow.


The NPF reports that itching is one of the biggest complaints of psoriasis sufferers, with 70-90 percent experiencing this symptom. Sometimes we may scratch until the skin breaks and bleeds. Though scratching may feel good at the time, it can set you up for other infections and worsen your condition. At night I suggest wearing gloves so you won’t scratch in your sleep or harm skin.

Doctor performs an allergy test on a patient.


Allergies aren’t just red eyes and sneezing. I found out that they can also affect your skin and possibly be a cause for your psoriasis. Allergens cause the immune system to overreact which can trigger or worsen psoriasis. Take an allergy test, and if anything shows up positive, try eliminating it to see if it improves your psoriasis.

Fan blowing cool air inside.


When it’s cold outside the first thing we like to do is crank up the heat, but excessive heat can dry out the skin. If you are cold, try more blankets or comfortable layers, and place a humidifier in your room to keep the moisture in the air.

Alisha Bridges
Meet Our Writer
Alisha Bridges

Alisha Bridges has dealt with psoriasis since 7 years old after a bad case of chicken pox triggered her disease to spread on over 90% of her body. For years she hid in shame afraid of what people would think of such a visible disease. She has suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks due to psoriasis. Years ago Alisha wrote a letter entitled “My Suicide Letter.” The letter was not about actually killing herself but killing parts of her like low self-esteem, fear, and shame so she could truly live to her fullest potential. This proclamation catapulted her into psoriasis and patient advocacy. Following this letter she created a blog entitled Being Me In My Own Skin where she gives intimate details of what it’s like to live with psoriasis. Alisha is a community ambassador for the National Psoriasis Foundation and has served her community in countless ways to help give a better understanding of what’s it’s like to live with psoriasis. Her life motto is the following: “My purpose is to change the hearts of people by creating empathy and compassion for those the least understood through transparency of self, patient advocacy, and dermatology.” Alisha is also a Social Ambassador for the HealthCentral Skin Health Facebook page.