It looks like you are using an older version of Internet Explorer which is not supported. We advise that you update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or consider using other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Ever wake up after a crazy busy few days and find you’re suffering a skin flare up, painful joints or swelling?

Chances are that this isn’t just a random coincidence. Psoriatic symptoms can often be directly triggered by stress.1

But before we make you stressed out just by reading this, take a deep breath. Sometimes when you can understand why something is happening to your body, it can help you be more conscious of how you can prevent it. So dust off your old proverbial science books and let’s take a look at what’s actually happening inside your body when you get stressed out.

Why it’s not just emotional

Believe it or not, stress and anxiety aren’t just emotions. In order for our bodies to deal with these feelings, actual physical reactions are triggered.2 Ever been so stressed out that your hands shake? Gotten those dreaded butterflies in your stomach? What about a racing heartbeat? Those are all physical manifestations of your stress.

But for people with PsA, the reaction in the body goes far beyond the standard jelly legs,and could actually cause a real flare-up3.

Ok, let’s take a break for a second. We know what you’re thinking. I have psoriasis. And I have arthritis. And now you’re telling me that a typical period of stress also causes more of a physical reaction for me than everyone else? I’m stressed out just reading that!

We certainly don’t blame you, but stay with us. The science behind what’s happening here is actually pretty interesting.

You are now in the midst of a stress-induced flare-up.

It might sound complicated to us, but for our bodies, it’s actually pretty straightforward. And we all know when our bodies take control, we have no choice but to listen. So while we may not like it, the takeaway is simple: stress could cause your PsA to get worse. And no one wants that.

How best to deal with stress?

Life can be hectic, and sometimes stress is unavoidable. But although it’s easier said than done, now that you know the impact it can have on your PsA, maybe it’s time to find your inner namaste and make the best effort to de-stress your life!


1Stress as an influencing factor in psoriasis. Heller MM, Lee ES, Koo JY. Skin Therapy Lett. 2011 May;16(5):1-4.

2National Institute of Mental Health: Fact sheet on stress. Available from: [last accessed: April 2016]

3Acute mobilization stress triggers skin mast cell degranulation via corticotropin releasing hormone, neurotensin, and substance P: A link to neurogenic skin disorders. Theoharides, T C et al. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, vol. 13 September 1999.


Join the conversation

We'd love to continue the conversation with you! Join the 'Ask Alia' community on Facebook.

Facebook Messenger Customer Chat