Many people with psoriasis find that the weather has an affect on their psoriasis symptoms. Some people find that in the spring and summer - the warmer months - their psoriasis symptoms lessen; in the cold winter months, they might** experience more flares** and worsening symptoms.
So what can you do to keep your skin balanced throughout the year?
The warmer weatherIt is possible that psoriasis symptoms lessen during the warmer months because your psoriasis is** responding positively to the natural ultraviolet light.** The sun still shines during the winter, but the rays aren’t as strong and when you shed some of the winter clothes, you also leave more skin exposed, allowing your arms and legs to be exposed to the ultraviolet light. It is also possible that the heavier clothes were more irritating to your skin, causing your psoriasis to flare.
Even though your psoriasis symptoms might like the sunlight during the summer, it is still important to protect your skin. Talk to your doctor about how long you should have your skin exposed. If you are going to be outdoors between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, it is still important to use sunscreen. You should protect your skin wherever you don’t have psoriasis plaques or symptoms. Overexposure to the sun can irritate the skin and cause your psoriasis to flare.
You should also check your medications. Some medications can cause you to be more sensitive to sunlight and require you to take precautions anytime you are outside. In addition, if you are currently receiving phototherapy, talk to your doctor about how much sun exposure is safe.
The colder monthsMany people notice that their psoriasis worsens, both in intensity of symptoms and the number of flare-ups throughout the cold weather months. This can be caused by a number of things: decreased sun exposure, cold temperatures, dry air and heavier clothes that irritate the skin. During the colder months, colds, the flu and other infections are also more common.** Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, anything that causes your immune system to activate can increase symptoms.**
During the cold, winter months, make sure to use a thick moisturizer and apply it throughout the day. You can also look for cotton clothing to avoid irritation and be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when outdoors. Try turning the heat down in your house, especially at night and use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. When showering, take warm showers and use a moisturizing shower gel rather than soap, which can dry out your skin.
If you notice that your psoriasis symptoms lessen during the summer months, you can also talk to your doctor about adjusting your treatments with the changing of the seasons, for example, you might find that adding phototherapy during the winter months is helpful.
Psoriasis can affect people differently. While many people find their psoriasis symptoms lessen during the summer months, some find the heat and humidity are triggers for a flare-up.
It is best to track your own symptoms to discover what might trigger your psoriasis so you can work with your doctor to be proactive and adjust your treatment accordingly.
For more information on managing psoriasis during different seasons:
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.