Why Alcohol and Psoriasis Are Not the Best Match

If you have psoriasis, you may have heard you should limit your alcohol consumption. What effect does drinking have on psoriasis? Let’s take a look.

Psoriasis Flares

Many people with psoriasis find that drinking alcohol, particularly in large quantities, will cause their psoriasis to flare. This seems to happen more often for men than women who have psoriasis. While we’re not certain why the connection exists between psoriasis flares and alcohol consumption, there is evidence to support this relationship.

Additionally, drinking alcohol can dry out the body and the skin, which can in turn cause the dry plaques of psoriasis to flare up. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding heavy or binge drinking can help you avoid this problem.


Prescription Drug Interactions

Many medications used to treat psoriasis, such as acitretin and methotrexate, are processed through the liver. Alcohol is toxic to the liver, which means drinking alcoholic beverages while taking medications can result in a higher risk of side effects, some of which can become dangerous. Your doctor will monitor routine blood tests to check your liver while taking medications like these. If you drink too much, not only could you risk harming your liver but you also may have to stop taking a medication that is helping your skin if the blood tests start to show a problem.

We have also seen alcohol lower psoriasis patients’ response to treatments, even to the point at which the drugs prescribed no longer work at all.


Effects on the Body and Mind

Alcohol has many effects on the body which can influence your skin. Excess drinking with its empty calories can lead to being overweight or obese. We know that patients who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop psoriasis and have a harder time treating it with medications.

Alcohol abuse and addiction is also more common in people with psoriasis, possibly because some of them try to deal with the frustrations of this chronic and painful disease by drinking too much. It is important to limit your drinking and see your doctor if you feel you cannot control it. Healthy ways to deal with stress, like exercise, meditation, and yoga, may help you avoid the urge to drink.


People with psoriasis are at increased risk of depression, it is estimated that about 1 in 4 patients with psoriasis is depressed. Drinking can worsen depression. To combat depression, consider seeing your family doctor or psychiatrist, many treatments are now available for this condition. Seeing your dermatologist may help as well, evidence suggests that if your psoriasis improves, so does your mood.


So, does this mean you can’t enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner?

Fortunately, having one alcoholic beverage a day won’t have a significant negative impact on most people’s psoriasis.

But drinking more than that, more often than that, and binge drinking can have the most serious impact not only on psoriasis but overall physical and mental well being. Moderation is key, don’t binge drink, and if you find that alcohol worsens your psoriasis significantly, avoid it altogether.

Talk to your doctor about whether you should avoid alcohol completely or may consume it in moderation. Be sure to talk to him/her if you feel you are drinking too much or cannot control your drinking.

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