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Alcoholism: A Trigger Factor for Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin. It is characterized by the appearance of scales and red patches on various areas of the body. Certain factors are suggested to promote the onset of psoriasis, such as alcohol consumption. Is this really the case? The answer is in this article.

Published September 21, 2023, updated on February 20, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 3 min read

What are the causes of the onset of psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a systemic and chronic inflammatory skin eruption. It presents as thick, red plaques that shed. Psoriasis is characterized by an excessive renewal and accumulation of epidermal cells, leading to local inflammation. This disease primarily affects adults, with a peak onset typically between 20 and 40 years of age. Approximately 30% of cases are considered familial and appear during adolescence. When psoriasis appears after the age of 40, it is referred to as isolated or sporadic forms. However, it affects both sexes equally.

Skin inflammation is caused by a failure of the immune system. T lymphocytes produce inflammatory cytokines (IL-17, IL-22, TNF-α, among others). These cytokines stimulate the proliferation of keratinocytes. When the renewal period of skin cells, which is normally about three weeks, is accelerated to just three days, it leads to an accumulation of immature keratinocytes on the skin's surface. The consequences are an increase in the thickness of the outer layer of the skin, known as the horny layer, and is referred to as hyperkeratosis.

What is the connection between psoriasis and alcohol?

Currently, there is no scientific link between alcohol consumption and the onset of psoriasis. However, alcohol could potentially exacerbate psoriasis. Indeed, it may worsen skin inflammation by affecting both innate and adaptive immunity. Alcohol is thought to stimulate the proliferation of lymphocytes and keratinocytes, as well as the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Some clinical studies have shown a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and the extent of psoriasis. A study involving 1,203 hospitalized patients with various subtypes of psoriasis revealed a relationship between the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and the level of alcohol consumed. The higher the level of alcohol consumed, the higher the severity of psoriasis was found to be.

In addition to harming health, alcoholism could potentially exacerbate psoriasis, particularly by increasing systemic inflammation in the body. However, it's important to note that no study has definitively established a link between alcohol and psoriasis due to a limited number of volunteer patients. Therefore, it is advised to limit alcohol consumption as much as possible in cases of psoriasis.


  • RICHEUX V. Alcool et tabac : le risque de l'engrenage. Association France Psoriasis (2011).

  • SVANSTRÖM C. & al. Psoriasis and alcohol. Psoriasis: Targets and Therapy (2019).


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