Winter weather poses some challenges for those living with psoriasis. Cold wind and dry indoor heat can dry out your skin, worsening psoriasis. On top of that, heavier clothes and more layers make itchy psoriasis even more uncomfortable. The following are some tips to help you cope with psoriasis during the winter months:
Use thick, creamy moisturizer. Make sure to look for fragrance-free moisturizers that are heavy and use it every time you shower or bathe. In the summer you may switch to a lighter moisturizer, but during the cold winter months, the thicker the moisturizer, the better. Keeping your skin moist can help reduce redness and itching.
Lower the temperature of your shower. While long, hot showers may be relaxing, the hot water actually strips your skin of moisture, leaving you with dry skin. Take warm, rather than hot, showers. If you prefer, add some moisturizing oils to bath water and soak in the tub to help get rid of dead skin cells. Be sure to use moisturizer after.
Practice relaxation techniques everyday. The winter months, especially during the holidays, can be stressful and stress can worsen psoriasis. To head off stress, practice meditation or yoga on a daily basis. Daily exercise has also been shown to reduce stress levels.
Take steps to stay healthy. Catching a cold or getting the flu can cause your psoriasis to flare up. Take extra precautions, such as frequent had washing, getting plenty of rest and eating right can help you stay healthy. Get your flu shot (the killed version), as long as your dermatologist approves. You can’t get the flu shot if you are having a psoriasis flare up, so make sure you tell the medical professional if you are and reschedule your flu shot for another day.
Use a humidifier at home. Using a humidifier can counteract the effects of dry indoor heat and help keep your skin moist.
Drink plenty of water. During the warm summer months, you may drink more water but even when its cold out, your body needs water to stay moisturized.
Choose your clothes carefully. Rough fabrics, such as wool, can keep you warm but may also aggravate your psoriasis. Staying bundled up and sweating can also aggravate psoriasis. Choose soft clothing and use layers so you can remove clothing as you get warm.
Talk to your doctor about light therapy. During the summer months, even a few minutes outdoors (with sun protection of course) can help to control psoriasis flare-ups, but during the cold months being outside in direct sunlight isn’t always possible. Talk to your doctor about UV light therapy to help provide you the healing effects of the sun, without the sun.
Keep up with your psoriasis treatment. Make sure you talk with your dermatologist about flare-ups or worsening of your psoriasis. During the winter months, your doctor may want to fine-tune your treatment regimen. Make sure to follow through with any treatment your doctor recommends.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.