Psoriasis Home > Psoriasis Causes

Psoriasis is a skin disorder caused by a malfunction in the immune system -- specifically, a type of white blood cell called a T cell. T cells normally protect the body against infection and disease, but in psoriasis, T cells are put into action by mistake and become so active that it leads to inflammation and rapid turnover of skin cells. Other causes of psoriasis are linked to genetics.

Psoriasis Causes: Immune System Malfunction

Psoriasis is a skin disorder caused by a malfunctioning immune system. The malfunction involves a type of white blood cell called a T cell.
 
Normally, T cells help protect the body against infection and disease. In the case of psoriasis, T cells are put into action by mistake and become so active that they trigger other immune responses, which lead to inflammation and to rapid turnover of skin cells.
 
Scientists are not sure why psoriasis causes the immune system to malfunction.
 

Do Genetics Cause Psoriasis?

In about one-third of the cases, there is a family history of psoriasis. Psoriasis research scientists have studied a large number of families affected by psoriasis and identified genes that cause psoriasis (genes govern every bodily function and determine the inherited traits passed from parent to child).
 

Causes of Flare-ups

People with psoriasis may notice that there are times when their skin worsens, then improves. These are called flare-ups.
 
Conditions that may cause psoriasis flare-ups include infections, stress, and changes in climate that dry the skin. Also, certain medicines, including lithium and beta blockers, which are prescribed for high blood pressure, may trigger an outbreak or worsen a patient's psoriasis.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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