The Koebner Phenomenom

f96bf66e8c9e71bd63429d04036fbb0eTo say that I’m clumsy would be an understatement. I’m constantly knocking into things, tripping, dropping everything and getting hurt in the oddest of ways. Recently within 24 hours I got a welt on my shin from walking into the elliptical at the gym, got my watch stuck on the door at work giving me a deep cut on the wrist, then finished it off by slicing my finger opening a bottle of chateauneuf du pape.

The bruises are a pain in the booty, but luckily I’ve become a pro at applying leg makeup quickly on skirt days. But usually when the cuts heal they turn into psoriasis spots.

According to the NPF “minor skin traumas can trigger what’s called the Koebner’s phenomenon — psoriasis plaques that form at the site of a skin injury.” Koebner usually occurs within one to two weeks of injury to the dermis but can appear as early as three days or as late as three weeks from the trauma. Dr. Heinrich Koebner, a German dermatologist noticed the phenomenon in the 19th century when a patient developed new lesions in areas where his horse bit him. As I began researching this phenomenon, I learned that a lot of the research out there doesn’t explain why this happens. Phenomenon is a defined as a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen – so during the 19th century this name made a lot of sense.

Further reading explains that “It has been postulated that the local trauma may be exposing the surface receptors on the keratinocytes to activated T lymphocytes and other cytokines like TNF-α and triggering the immunological and inflammatory cascade resulting in psoriatic lesions in the injured skin.”

So between us, I have no idea what that means. It’s one of those sentences that I could read 157 times and still not get. I wish I could understand some of the things happening to my skin so that I could break it down and explain, but this is one of those things that I’m just going to accept just happens sometimes. I’ll take it as a phenomenon.

The common triggers that can cause the Koebner phenomenon include:

  • Bug Bites
  • Bruises and scrapes
  • Poison ivy or poison oak
  • Burns, including chemical burns and sunburn

Now that summer is here, be careful of those things. And in my case, I just need to be more careful walking around the office, my apartment and just in general.


Koebner Phenomenon in Psoriasis

Koebner Phenomenon


  1. I have heard that the sun is the best cure for psoriasis yet sunburn may cause it to come back again? Im off on holidays today for the simple fact the sun is said to cure it and I was thinking slightly burning would be a good thing ..

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. The sun is definitely a good thing for psoriasis, but burning can do more damage. Be sure to wear sunscreen and get out of the sun if you feel like you’re burning. Hope you’re having a fabulous time on vaca!

  2. I’ve suffered from this before, as I got sunburn (in Ireland?? hello??) one afternoon when I fell asleep in the back garden. It was horrendous, as from my bra strap to my ankles, my entire back was covered. It took months to heal up and the most important thing I learnt was that a Koebner Phenomenon has to be treated very very gently, with extremely mild steroid creams. If you apply full strength ointments, you are in danger of exacerbating and spreading the psoriasis . You have my full sympathies.
    On a lighter note, what make-up do you apply to your legs? I’m intrigued, as my legs are pretty bad … so much so,that I only ever wear trousers and this year I’m even avoiding sandals as my feet are badly affected. Would love to know if there’s a product out there that can camouflage well.

    1. Hi Helen, that sounds so painful. Right now the cut on my wrist has turned into a patch, which at least doesn’t make it look like I slit my wrists anymore, so that’s the positive note. I’ll definitely try a lighter steroid, right now I’ve just been using lotion. For my legs, right now I’m using Dermablend. I usually apply after moisturizing. It’s a bit heavy but works in an office with air conditioning.
      Once it gets hotter, I use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. It has a light formula and a nice glow. Give them a try, opens up the wardrobe possibilities!

  3. My husband has psoriasis and the sun helps to improve his condition. During summer his skin is always better, but too much sunlight can make it worse.

  4. Very late here but i just discovered your blog. Try Arnica gel, i use arnicare brand from Target, behind the counter but no prescription needed. It makes my bruises go away very fast and i too get random clumsy bruises.

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