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Psoriasis Causes

Psoriasis is commonly understood as excessive shedding of skin. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the skin. This triggers an abnormal response because of which the skin cells grow rapidly. This rapid build-up creates silvery scales of thickened skin resulting in excessive shedding.

Psoriasis usually occurs on the scalp (scalp psoriasis), elbows, knees, lower back, and genitals. Psoriasis is not contagious, and, in most cases, the rash is limited to a few patches of skin. In severe cases, it can cover large areas of the body.

The psoriasis triggers of autoimmunity are not known, however; it tends to run in families. A genetic background or connection has been verified in many cases. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 40% of people with psoriasis disease have family members suffering from skin problems.

Causes Of Psoriasis Disease

Some of the other causes of psoriasis that are believed to be psoriasis triggers are:

  1. Extreme stress

    : Mental stress is a major reason for psoriasis as it causes the body to release chemicals that boost the inflammatory response. This results in a rapid build-up of skin cells, causing a stress-induced flare-up.
  2. Infections

    : Infections like strep throat (a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat) in particular are linked with guttate psoriasis. Earaches, bronchitis, tonsillitis, or respiratory infections such as a cold or the flu may also be psoriasis triggers or causes of psoriasis.
  3. Cold and dry weather

    : Dry air defused natural sunlight, and cold temperatures are causes of psoriasis skin disease. Most people with psoriasis notice an increase in their symptoms of psoriasis in cold weather. They often complain of more dry skin in the winter.
  4. Friction and injuries to the skin

    : A cut, scrape, bug bite, infection, or excessive scratching can also be psoriasis triggers. Parts of the body that are subject to friction such as elbows, and knees are more prone to developing psoriasis. Children with psoriasis are more prone to friction-related aggravation as they are far more mobile and playful than adults.
  5. Excessive intake of alcohol and smoking

    : This can be a major reason for psoriasis as it triggers a flare-up and decreases the likelihood of psoriasis remission. It also reduces immunity and alters the immune system resulting in an increased risk of infection.
  6. Red Meat

    : Red meat is known to make psoriasis worse as it contains arachidonic acid which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. These fats create by-products that could worsen Psoriasis. People with moderate to severe psoriasis are often advised to avoid red meat as part of the treatment plan.

Who can get psoriasis?

Psoriasis can arise at any age, but between the ages of 15 and 25, it most frequently emerges. One in three persons with psoriasis has a relative who also has the condition, which leads researchers to conclude that the condition has a strong genetic component. Additionally, if both parents have psoriasis, there is a 50% probability that their child will also have it.

Psoriasis is more likely to develop in people with HIV or weakened immune systems. Children who experience recurrent viral and bacterial infections, especially strep throat, may be more susceptible. Chronic stress may raise the risk of acquiring psoriasis as well since it has a detrimental effect on the immune system. Smoking may not only make psoriasis more severe, but it may also contribute to the condition's early onset.

Medically Reviewed

Experience: 18+ years


  • B.H.M.S (Maharashtra University of Health Sciences)

  • FCHD (Fellowship in Homeopathic Dermatologist - Mumbai)


What is the main cause of psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is uncertain, scientists believe that there may be several contributing causes however, genetics and the immune system both have a significant impact. Psoriasis commonly runs in families, even though it can skip generations. For instance, the impact may only be felt by a grandfather and his grandson, not the child's mother.

What are the medical conditions psoriasis is associated with?

Psoriasis has also been linked to a higher risk of psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and eye conditions like conjunctivitis. It is, therefore, necessary to undergo an effective and timely treatment to understand the exact cause of psoriasis and evaluate its symptoms. This will help in avoiding further complications.

Can emotional stress be a cause of psoriasis?

Stress serves as the primary catalyst for psoriasis. Excessive mental stress can lead to the body's release of chemicals that promote an inflammatory response. This results in a stress-induced psoriasis flare-up.

Why do I suddenly have psoriasis?

The exact cause of psoriasis is uncertain, but it is believed that genetics and immunity play an important role. Psoriasis can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or color.
The most frequent causes of psoriasis include injuries, changes in temperature (cold and dry conditions), infections like strep throat or skin infections, infections of the nails, etc. Additional factors that contribute to psoriasis include excessive stress, beta-blockers, lithium, and certain medications.

Do treatment options differ based on the types of psoriasis?

While medicated shampoos are used for scalp psoriasis, home remedies, and topical treatments such as salicylic acid ointments are used for psoriasis that is not very widespread, and light therapy is used for widespread psoriasis, none of these address the root cause. Homeopathy medicines not only treat the root cause but also take into account your type of psoriasis and your specific causative factors, thereby giving you the best results.

Is Psoriasis Hereditary?

Psoriasis does have a genetic link, meaning if someone in your family has it, you're more likely to develop it too. Think of it like inheriting a predisposition, not a guarantee. The exact genes involved are still being studied, but it's estimated 60-90% of people with psoriasis have these genes. However, other factors like stress, infections, or certain medications can trigger the condition, even without a family history. So, while genetics play a role, they're not the whole story.

Is psoriasis communicable?

Psoriasis is absolutely not communicable. It doesn't spread through touch, sharing objects, or even close contact. Unlike a cold or the flu, it's not caused by a germ or virus. Instead, it's an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system mistakenly targets healthy skin cells, causing the characteristic red, scaly patches.

Does Psoriasis cause hair loss?

Psoriasis itself doesn't directly cause hair loss. However, scalp psoriasis can lead to temporary hair thinning in a few ways:

  1. Intense itching: Scratching the itchy scalp can damage hair follicles and lead to temporary hair loss.
  2. Inflammation: The inflammation associated with psoriasis can affect hair growth.
  3. Harsh treatments: Some treatments for scalp psoriasis can be harsh on the scalp and hair, leading to thinning.

The good news is, hair usually grows back once the psoriasis is controlled and the scalp heals. If you're concerned about hair loss, talk to doctor about gentle treatment options and ways to manage itching.

What does the beginning of psoriasis look like?

Psoriasis signs and symptoms can vary from person to person and can include:

  • Red patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales of skin cells
  • Dry, cracked skin that may sometimes bleed or itch
  • Burning or soreness on the affected skin
  • Thickened, pitted nails

Psoriasis has also been linked to a higher risk of psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and eye conditions like conjunctivitis. It is, therefore, necessary to undergo an effective and timely treatment to understand the exact cause of psoriasis and evaluate its symptoms. This will help in avoiding further complications.

What triggers scalp psoriasis or What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?

Scalp psoriasis causes raised, reddish, and frequently scaly patches on the scalp. The condition may result as a single spot or can take over the entire scalp. Psoriasis is an auto-immune illness that is brought on by an aberrant immune system reaction, even though the precise origin of psoriasis on the scalp is unknown. Other reasons or triggers of scalp psoriasis include a person's lifestyle, genes, infections, heavy smoking, and alcohol consumption.

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