Coping with the changing seasons
Some people find their psoriasis is better in the summer, others find it better in the winter. Whatever the weather when your symptoms start to show, find tips below to help you avoid seasonal flares.
Advice for fall and winter
Colder weather in the fall and winter usually means turning on the furnace, which can dry out the air in your home. If this makes your psoriasis symptoms worse, try:
- Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air
- Turning down the heat at night (cool air is less drying)
- Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Applying moisturizers while still wet from a bath or shower and re-applying throughout the day
- Using moisturizing soaps or shower gels and taking warm showers instead of soaking in hot baths
- Wearing a cream or lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on exposed areas to protect against sun, harsh wind, and cold
Catching a cold or the flu can also trigger flare-ups. Take care of yourself at this time of year by getting plenty of rest and eating a well-balanced diet.
Tips for spring and summer
While some people find that moderate exposure to sunlight helps their psoriasis symptoms, others find the warmer weather triggers symptoms. Here are some tips for dealing with psoriasis in warmer weather:
- Limit your sun exposure.Everyone can burn, but those with fair skin are at highest risk. Don’t forget: sunlight can penetrate glass, clouds, water, and thin clothing—even shade doesn’t provide complete protection.
- Use sunscreen. Apply a dermatologist-approved sunscreen with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. It should have a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. Re-apply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if you’ve been in the water or sweating. Your dermatologist can help you find a sunscreen that’s right for you.
- Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural supplements. Some medications may increase your sensitivity to sunlight.
- Limit the time you spend swimming, as chemicals in pools and the salt in sea water can irritate or dry out the skin. Take a shower as soon as you get out of the water.
- Wear loose, light, and comfortable clothing that allows the air to circulate and sweat to evaporate. (If you have psoriasis on your feet, be sure to wear comfortable shoes or sandals that are large enough to accommodate minor foot swelling in hot weather)