There is some research about the link between alcohol and psoriasis but a lot remains unknown.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition that causes plaques on the skin. Scientists still aren’t sure exactly what causes psoriasis. However, factors including weather changes, skin trauma or injury, infections, stress, and certain medications may impact disease severity.
If you live with psoriasis, you may have been told that drinking alcohol can trigger psoriasis flare-ups in some people. If you have been tracking your psoriasis symptoms, maybe you have noticed that your psoriasis flares after periods of more frequent drinking.
It’s important to remember that the research on psoriasis and alcohol remains limited. However, several studies have pointed to a link between alcohol intake and psoriasis.
A systematic review in 2013 looked at 23 studies on psoriasis and alcohol. In it, 18 of the studies found a connection between psoriasis disease activity and alcohol consumption.
Here is what current research says about the relationship between psoriasis and alcohol consumption.
Several studies suggest that those with psoriasis tend to consume more alcohol than people who do not live with psoriasis. Some people may turn to alcohol as a way to cope with their diagnosis and the impacts that living with psoriasis may have on their mental health and social life.
One study in 2017 found that people living with psoriasis have a 60 percent greater risk of death due to alcohol-related causes than those without psoriasis. The major causes of these deaths were fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic liver disease, and psychological and behavioral conditions associated with alcohol use.
People with psoriasis may also have an increased risk of liver disease, regardless of how much alcohol they consume.
There is not sufficient evidence to say that alcohol consumption is a cause of psoriasis. Still, several studies have suggested that alcohol may negatively affect people living with psoriasis.
Drinking alcohol may worsen inflammation by triggering pro-inflammatory cytokine activity. Alcohol consumption may also lead to an increased risk of infection and may reduce the efficacy of certain psoriasis treatments.
It’s also possible that the amount of alcohol consumed influences the effect alcohol has on psoriasis symptoms.
In one study, the amount of alcohol participants reporting drinking was correlated with a higher Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score. Participants who drank more tended to have higher PASI scores.
Another study of 82,869 women found that participants who consumed more than 2.3 alcoholic beverages per week had an increased risk of new-onset psoriasis. It also found that consuming non-light beer was a separate risk factor for developing psoriasis.
This suggests that certain types of alcohol may impact psoriasis severity differently.
Alcohol may act as a trigger for a psoriasis flare-up. It may also decrease your immune function, which can increase your risk of infections.
It’s important to consider how alcohol may affect your own psoriasis symptoms.
It is always a good idea to talk with your doctor about your drinking behaviors, your psoriasis symptoms, and your treatment plan. They may be able to help you find a way to enjoy a glass of wine from time to time without disrupting your psoriasis treatment regimen.
Medically reviewed on June 23, 2022
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