Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the skin becomes irritated and produces red rashes with white, flaky skin. This gives the rash a scaly appearance, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “scales”. So what causes Psoriasis? This is a question that those who are affected by this condition would love to know the answer to. Unfortunately, Psoriasis causes are not simple and clear-cut like other diseases.
The exact cause of Psoriasis is still a mystery to dermatologists. Originally, it was thought to be a matter of an overactive production of skin cells. Our skin cells die and flake off daily, and are constantly being replenished. It was believed that Psoriasis was simply a case of more skin cells being made than needed to be replaced. It was soon found out; however, that this was not exactly the case. Further research into the causes of Psoriasis revealed it to be a problem regarding the immune system. Basically, it is a defect in the immune system that causes an overproduction of T cells, which are a type of white blood cell that fights infections. Upon microscopic examination of infected areas, dermatologists found that an abnormal amount of T cells were found at the area of infection in nearly every case. This reaction is essentially a case of cell miscommunication, as the T cells get the message from the immune system to keep reproducing in the area, which is what causes the thickening and swelling of the skin.
It is also believed that genetics play a large role in causing Psoriasis. The problem is that it is not a purely genetic disease, so it is nearly impossible to predict whether or not an individual will be susceptible to this condition. Researchers hypothesize that it is actually a combination of different genes that cause an individual to develop Psoriasis; however, the exact combination is still unknown.
With that being said, there are certain triggers that seem to cause Psoriasis flare-ups. The first trigger is stress. This can come in two forms, with the first being a physical stress such as a cut or a scar. Sometimes during the healing process, Psoriasis will develop near the spot of the injury. Mental stress can also cause a Psoriasis outbreak, much in the way that stress can cause Acne outbreaks. Another trigger can be certain types of medication, such as blood pressure medication or lithium. Medications for malaria and some anti-inflammatory medications, such as indomethacin, have been reported to trigger Psoriasis outbreaks. Things like allergies and a poor diet can also be triggers, as well as abusing things like alcohol or tobacco. The fact that there are so many different triggers for Psoriasis is what makes it so hard to figure out the exact cause of this condition.
For those who suffer from this condition, figuring out Psoriasis causes can be frustrating to say the least. The important thing to realize is that it is a complex condition that has several triggers, and only a professional dermatologist can determine the root of the problem.