If you suffer from psoriasis and allergies, you may be wondering if your allergy flares are making your skin condition worse.
No need to guess: Doctors and researchers haven’t found any links between the two problems. Here, four experts break down the two conditions and explain what can trigger them.
Although psoriasis and allergies both involve your immune system, their causes are unrelated.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. This means that your body’s immune system is mistakenly attacking some of its own healthy cells.
An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts badly to something that most people don’t have a problem with, such as pollen, pet dander, or certain foods.
Some people mistake psoriasis for allergies before seeing a doctor, as both conditions can cause itchy and reddening of the skin.
“A lot of people think they have allergic skin problems and when I see them they have psoriasis,” says Clifford Bassett, MD, allergist and immunologist in New York City. “If you think it’s one thing, it could be something else.”
So get yourself checked out by a dermatologist if your skin is itchy or flaking, he says.
If you have psoriasis, part of the stress may be to blame when the disease first appears and when it breaks out. Stress can also make your allergies worse.
“When you have an allergic reaction, your body works hard,” says Julie Pena, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Nashville. “It’s trying to fight something. When your body goes through stressful events, it alters the immune system. We know stress can cause psoriasis to flare up, [even] the internal stress of what your body is going through.
Drugs can have an impact
Doctors have noticed that medicines used to treat allergies can make psoriasis worse or worse, although this does not happen often.
Sometimes doctors treat allergies with steroids like prednisone, says San Diego-based dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio, MD. “We know that when prednisone stops, psoriasis can flare up.”
The reverse can also happen.
Some people’s psoriasis would improve once they are treated for their hay fever, says Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, director of the Psoriasis Treatment and Phototherapy Center at University of Hospital Hospital. Pennsylvania. “It’s hard to know, was it just a coincidence?” “
Plus, people who take psoriasis medications that weaken the immune system might find that they have fewer allergies, “but that’s not proven,” Pena says.
Blowing in the wind?
Some doctors say that people with psoriasis and allergies can sometimes have flare-ups of both at similar times of the year. But they let their patients know that the seasons or the weather, not the health conditions themselves, are to blame.
Winter temperatures or dry air can make some people’s allergies worse, and that kind of weather can also cause psoriasis to flare up, Benabio says.
Tips for avoiding flares
Psoriasis cannot make allergies worse and vice versa. But you can lower your chances of having a flare of either if you avoid issues that impact both:
- Relieve stress. This can impact both conditions, Bassett says. Try to relax or avoid drama at home or at work.
- Manage itchy skin. Psoriasis can flare up in places where your skin is damaged. If you have hives or an allergic reaction and scratch this area too much, the damage to your nails can make your psoriasis worse. Try an over-the-counter cortisone cream or ask your doctor for a stronger version.
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