How Does Stress Affect Psoriasis?

Psoriasis, a chronic condition marked by itchy, red, scaly patches on the skin, affects more than 125 million people worldwide. While there's no cure for psoriasis, you can manage your outbreaks somewhat through lifestyle changes, including stress reduction. How is that possible? Because not only will psoriasis likely cause you stress, but it may also be the biggest trigger for your condition — keeping you in a constant cycle of outbreaks.

At Naaman Clinic of Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, experienced dermatologist Dr. Evans Bailey encourages patients with psoriasis to manage their stress levels. Finding ways to deal better with the stresses of your day-to-day life can resolve your outbreaks and significantly improve your skin’s overall appearance. Discover more about the connection between stress and psoriasis, and how you can take control.

How stress triggers psoriasis

The itchy, scaly patches of skin that form during psoriasis outbreaks result from a sped-up skin cell life cycle. We don't know exactly what causes psoriasis, but it seems to be connected to your immune system through your T cells and other white blood cells. If you have psoriasis, your T cells attack your healthy skin cells the same way they would bacteria, causing damage and discomfort.

When your body experiences stress, it responds with inflammation. Your immune system then kicks into high gear, sending out extra T cells and engaging all of your healing factors. For patients with psoriasis, this response is bad news, leading to thickened skin tissue that’s itchy and red. Your psoriasis doesn't distinguish between physical and emotional stress, either. In both scenarios, flare-ups result from increased immune system activity.

Relaxation techniques to help you break the cycle

To break the psoriasis cycle of stress and outbreaks, find other ways to deal with, reduce, or release tension. Exercise or physical activities like kickboxing or dance can help to lower your stress levels. Alternatively, yoga, tai chi, or just meditating for 15 minutes regularly can also help you work through stress. When you find a way to relax, you'll be able to take control of your psoriasis and escape from the inflammation/stress cycle.

Explore therapeutic options, as well. Talking to someone about your chronic condition can give you an outlet for negative feelings such as frustration, shame, and grief. Meeting with a counselor or support group reminds you that you are not alone as you struggle with an uncomfortable and occasionally embarrassing health issue. Take time to re-balance your mental and emotional health as you begin to successfully manage your psoriasis.

As you learn how to manage your stress, starting over with fresh, clear skin can also boost your outlook. Naaman Clinic offers a range of cutting-edge treatment options to resolve psoriasis outbreaks. Dr. Bailey provides clinical-grade topical treatments and laser skin-resurfacing therapies to resolve the symptoms of your current psoriasis flare-ups. 

To schedule an appointment with a member of our care team and get started taking control of your psoriasis, call our office, or use the online booking tool.

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