Why Do I Have Psoriasis? 3 Common Causes
It’s estimated that more than 8 million Americans—and some 125 million people worldwide—have psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. If you’re one of them, you probably want to know: Why me? This is a natural question to ask when diagnosed with a chronic health condition. As human beings, we want answers.
But when it comes to psoriasis, unfortunately, the why isn’t always clear. “Despite several decades of research, the exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown,” says Nikki Hill, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Skin of Culture and Hair Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Still, science has shed some light on factors that can increase one’s likelihood of having the condition. Here’s what we know about what causes—and doesn’t cause—psoriasis.
To begin with, Hill says, “We do know that the immune system and genetics are key contributing factors.” This much becomes obvious when you look at the ethnic breakdown of psoriasis cases, with the vast majority (87 percent) occurring among Caucasian patients. African Americans make up only 2 percent; Asian Americans make up another 2 percent, and Native Americans comprise only 1 percent of psoriasis cases.