Five Psoriasis Triggers to Avoid and How to Manage Flare-ups

woman with itchy skin

Psoriasis affects millions of people worldwide. While the exact cause of this chronic autoimmune condition is unknown, specific triggers can worsen the condition and lead to flare-ups.

Triggers to Avoid

You can reduce your risk of psoriasis flare-ups by identifying and avoiding triggers. Here are five psoriasis triggers to avoid:


Stress is a well-known trigger for psoriasis. When you are under stress, your body produces extra cortisol, a hormone that can lead to inflammation. Try relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing or meditation to manage stress. Exercise can also help reduce stress levels.

Cold Weather

Cold weather can cause psoriasis to flare up. This is because cold weather can dry out your skin, leading to irritation and inflammation. To manage psoriasis in cold weather, moisturize your skin frequently and avoid taking hot showers, as this can further dry out your skin. In addition, wear warm clothing to protect your skin from the cold, and use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.


Infections such as skin infections or strep throat can trigger psoriasis. To avoid infections, practice good hygiene habits, like washing your hands often and avoiding contact with sick individuals. If you get an infection, see your doctor immediately to receive treatment.


Alcohol can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. It is best to avoid alcohol or limit your intake. If you choose to drink alcohol, opt for low-alcohol drinks such as beer or wine and avoid hard liquor. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages.


Smoking can worsen psoriasis and increase your risk of developing the condition. Quitting smoking can help improve your psoriasis symptoms and overall health. Speak with your doctor for help with smoking cessation.

Managing Flare-Ups

While it is important to avoid triggers, psoriasis flare-ups can still occur. When this happens, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms, including:

  • Keep your skin moisturized by using a fragrance-free moisturizer.
  • Avoid scratching or picking at your skin, which can worsen your symptoms.
  • If you have an itchy scalp, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner and avoid using hair products that contain alcohol or fragrance.
  • See your doctor if your symptoms worsen or you develop joint pain or swelling.

Psoriasis Treatment Options

Avoiding psoriasis triggers and managing flare-ups can help improve your quality of life. Managing stress, protecting your skin from the cold, avoiding infections, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking are just a few ways to reduce your risk of psoriasis flare-ups. Feel free to contact us at Medical Dermatology Specialists today to schedule an appointment and discuss treatment options or to learn more about what triggers psoriasis flare-ups.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.