Recently reality TV star Kim Kardashian recently announced that she had woken up with ‘morning psoriasis’. This is where psoriasis suddenly, sometimes overnight, appears on the face.
Kim has revealed in the past that she has psoriasis elsewhere on her body, namely on her legs and tummy, but she said it had never spread to her face until recently.
There can be many reasons why psoriasis suddenly appears on the face as flare ups of psoriasis or new areas of psoriasis can be triggered by a number of possible things.
One of the most common triggers can be mild skin reactions to chemicals in normal shampoos that can irritate and weaken the skin around the hair line and trigger a psoriasis outbreak.
Research shows that people who are prone to psoriasis tend to have more ‘reactive’ skin than normal skin, so skin reactions on the face and around the hairline to harsh detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate in normal shampoos are much more likely in people who suffer from psoriasis elsewhere on their body.
Psoriasis is a recurrent skin condition that affects around 2% of the UK population. It is caused by an acceleration of skin cell production. Normally a skin cell matures in 21-28 days.
Psoriatic cells, however, turn over in 2-3 days and in such profusion that the live cells reach the surface and accumulate with the dead cells still in visible layers (hence the plaques).
Seven possible triggers for ‘morning psoriasis’
Shampoo and hair products
Most ordinary shampoos contain chemical detergents in order to remove grease from hair. These detergents can be aggravating to reactive skin and over time may lead to contact skin reactions.
Often with facial psoriasis it will appear around the hairline and behind the ears and this can be a sign of psoriasis that might be triggered by a shampoo or hair care product.
Morning psoriasis sufferer Clare Reece says:
“In the morning the psoriasis on my scalp was always really bad; I would leave flakes of skin wherever I went. Since changing my hair care routine to Oregon products, I’ve noticed that it was actually the shampoo I was using that was a big cause of my facial and scalp psoriasis”
Skin Shop’s Oregon shampoo & conditioner are designed to both treat and prevent psoriasis and can be used daily like ordinary hair care products by people prone to psoriasis and can help prevent psoriasis spreading to the scalp and face.
Oregon hair care products contain the plant extract Oregon Grape Root.
A UK trial found that a natural hair and skincare range containing a Oregon Grape Root (OGR), was highly effective in reducing the symptoms associated with the skin condition psoriasis.
The two-month trail, carried out by a UK doctor on 50 people, found that the Oregon treatments improved psoriasis for 86% of the patients, with 75% of these experiencing a marked improvement after just four weeks.
OGR is a native plant of North America and has been extensively examined as a treatment for psoriasis in several published studies. These studies have found that compounds isolated from extracts of OGR possess inhibitory activity against Lipoxygenase (an enzyme involved in psoriatic skin cell production).
At the cellular level, OGR has been shown to guard against accelerated activity during the process of keratinocytes (skin cell production).
Research has made links between psoriasis and skin allergies such as eczema and dermatitis as well as hay fever. The immune system seems to play a key role in both.
Research shows that people with psoriasis are more likely to have a large number of inflammatory mast cells, which are the kind that trigger allergic reactions like swelling and itching.
So when skin allergies are triggered by things such as pollen or changes in weather, then its more like that psoriasis flare ups may occur.
Studies show that stress can make psoriasis worse.
Periods of heightened stress are likely to increase the risk of a sudden psoriasis outbreak.
Some medicines can also cause sudden psoriasis flare ups and cause it to appear in different places on the body.
Medications used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and mental health issues can trigger psoriasis flare ups.
Common drugs like ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and lithium can cause sudden flare-ups. In addition, medications such as malaria pills like Plaquenil and hydroxychloroquine, and NSAIDs for joint inflammation and arthritis can also cause sudden flares up.
Common infections can trigger a sudden flare up of psoriasis.
Yeast infections such as thrush, throat infections, cold, flu and stomach bugs are all known triggers for psoriasis flare ups.
Sunburn or skin trauma
While a bit of sun exposure can actually help reduce or prevent psoriasis, sunburn or any trauma to the skin that causes inflammation can trigger a sudden psoriasis flare up.
With trauma to the skin the psoriasis will often appear at the site of the trauma so a sun burnt face or any damage to the facial skin such as from facial waxing could trigger a psoriasis flare up even if psoriasis has never appeared on the face before.
Psoriasis can start at any age in both men and women. But it seems to peak in people between the ages of 20 and 30, as well as those between 50 and 60. Puberty and menopause appear to be trigger patches and hormones may be the link.
However anything that may cause a sudden hormonal change or spike, such as pregnancy or taking the contraceptive pill, HRT or hormone boosting fitness or health supplements could cause a sudden psoriasis flare up.