What Causes Psoriasis?

Find out more about this chronic skin condition and how to treat it.

If you notice red, thick and scaly patches of skin on your body or scalp, you may wonder what’s going on. Could you have psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes skin cells to build up rapidly on the skin's surface. Psoriasis flare-ups often occur on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back but can appear just about anywhere on the body. If you develop these signs of psoriasis, it’s essential that you turn to our West Lafayette and Kokomo, IN, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. John Randall and his provider team, for a diagnosis.

What Causes Psoriasis?

While there is still a lot we don’t know about psoriasis, we do know that it has a genetic component. So if you have a parent, grandparent or sibling with psoriasis, you are at an increased risk for developing psoriasis. Along with genetics, a person’s immune system also plays a role.

When someone has psoriasis, their immune system attacks the body’s skin cells, which causes the body to produce more skin cells than it can get rid of. This causes skin cells to build up on the skin’s surface, resulting in plaques. You cannot catch psoriasis; it is not contagious.

What Can Trigger a Flare-Up?

Your everyday environment and lifestyle could be contributing to your psoriasis flare-ups. Common triggers include,

  • Injury to the skin, including sunburns
  • Stress
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Smoke
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications (e.g., prednisone; lithium)
  • Infections

Not everyone will have the same triggers, so it’s important to understand what could be causing your flare-ups so you can avoid them whenever possible. Not sure what’s causing your psoriasis flare-ups? No problem! Our West Lafayette, IN, team can help you determine your triggers.

How Does Psoriasis Differ From Eczema or Other Common Skin Issues?

It can be challenging to tell psoriasis and eczema apart, as both of these skin conditions cause red, itchy rashes; however, psoriasis often produces a milder itch than eczema, which can be intense at times. Psoriasis flare-ups may also cause burning. Thicker, redder and raised rashes are more likely to be eczema, while silvery scaled patches are typically caused by psoriasis.

Randall Dermatology & MedSpa is your premiere dermatology clinic in West Lafayette and Kokomo, IN, providing comprehensive care and treatment for all of your psoriasis symptoms. To schedule an evaluation with our dermatologist, Dr. Randall, call (765) 463-6722 to reach the office in West Lafayette and (765) 452-8602 for Kokomo.

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