The skin conditions caused by psoriasis are better understood than psoriasis itself, but research suggests that the root cause of the disorder can be traced to the immune system. With psoriasis, the immune system sends incorrect signals to the body, acting as if the area affected by the psoriasis were injured. This stimulates skin cells to grow faster to heal the area. The buildup of excess skin cells leads to skin inflammation and the characteristic psoriatic “scaling.”
Heredity plays a role in the development of psoriasis, although people with no apparent familial histories of skin conditions also develop psoriasis. If one of your parents suffers from psoriasis, you have a 10% chance of inheriting the condition. The risk may be as high as 50% if both parents suffer from psoriasis.
Psoriasis and Age
Psoriasis is one of the many skin conditions that can strike at any stage in a person’s life, but certain age groups are more likely to develop the disorder. For unclear reasons, the 30’s and 60’s are the age groups must likely to develop psoriasis.
Skin Inflammation Triggers: Drug Reactions, Injury and Infections
The root cause of psoriasis may not be well understood, but the circumstances that trigger psoriasis flare-ups are well documented. Adverse drug reactions often cause the skin inflammation associated with psoriasis. Drug reactions themselves do not cause psoriasis, but do trigger existing conditions.
Injuries such as burns, cuts, and bruises can also trigger psoriasis. As psoriasis is a product of a faulty immune system, it isn’t surprising that events that stimulate the immune system trigger the disorder. Infections, particularly strep infections, also activate the body’s natural defenses, and psoriasis often develops just after an infection.
Stress and Psoriasis
Many people with psoriasis report a direct link between the severity of their skin inflammation and their stress levels. This often leads to a self-perpetuating problem: psoriasis itself causes stress, especially severe psoriasis. And stress makes psoriasis symptoms all the more severe.