Why do people get psoriasis?

Common causes and triggers

The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, but it is widely recognised that a combination of factors including your genetic make-up, immune system, as well as different environmental factors may all play some role in triggering the onset or recurrence of psoriasis.

Research suggests that the chances of developing psoriasis are 10% in a person with one affected parent, increasing to 50% in someone whose parents both have psoriasis. However, not everyone who inherits genes for psoriasis will develop the condition. Other factors that a person can be exposed to – also called 'triggers' – contribute to the development of psoriasis or a flare-up of the disease.

Psoriasis triggers are not universal. What may cause one person's psoriasis to flare up may not affect another.

Triggers are different for each person – what sets off psoriasis in one individual may not have any affect in another.

Potential triggers

The most common triggers include emotional stress and certain medications (lithium, quinidine, indomethacin, and others). Skin injury and skin conditions such as; shaving, bites, bruising, friction or chafing, acupuncture, chemical irritation or adhesive tape on the skin, tattoos, boils, dermatitis, blisters, vitiligo and scabies, have been known to cause psoriasis too. Weather, diet, allergies and infections can also be triggers.

The causes and triggers of psoriasis are different for each person. To find out what may have caused your psoriasis or is triggering your flare-ups, you may want to try and keep a record of your diet, any illnesses, injuries or emotional stress you might have had and talk about these possible causes with your doctor.Your doctor can help you identify your particular triggers, so you can minimise them in future and reduce the chances of any flare-ups.

UK/IE 2013b/00072, Date of prep: April 2015

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