Find the keys to your psoriasis flare ups

Common causes and triggers

While the exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown,1 genetic and environmental factors seem to play an importantrole in its development. Research suggests that the chances of inheriting psoriasis are 10% in an individual with one affected parent.1 However, not everyone who inherits genes for psoriasis will develop the condition. Internal or external factors, called psoriasis ‘triggers’, can also contribute to the development of psoriasis or a flare up of plaques.1

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

External factors

External factors include injuries to the skin, such as sunburn, vaccinations and scratches. This reaction to trauma is called the Koebner phenomenon, named after a doctor in the 19th century who recognized that he had developed new psoriasis plaques in areas where he was bitten by his horse. 2

Other skin injury and skin conditions known to trigger psoriasis include: cuts, bruises, burns, bumps, vaccinations, tattoos and other skin conditions. 2

Internal factors

Internal factors include emotional stress4 and certain medications – such as lithium, beta blockers, corticosteroids and anti-malarial medication. Some infections, particularly bacterial streptococcal infection – can also be a trigger of psoriasis.

Triggers are different for each person what causes a psoriasis flare up in one individual may not have an affect on another.3 To find out what is triggering your flare ups, the best thing to do is to talk your condition through with your doctor. He or she will be experienced in identifying potential psoriasis triggers and can help you narrow down what may be affecting you.


  1., p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  2., p. 1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  3.,p.1, Last accessed date: 11 Aug 2015
  4. Stress and quality of life in psoriasis: an update, Kabbur H. Basavaraj MD, Mysore Ashok Navya MSc, Ramesh Rashmi MSc, p.783. International Journal of Dermatology, Volume 50, Issue 7, pages 783–792, July 2011