Psoriasis can cause symptoms at any time of year, but different seasons may affect the condition in different ways.
You might notice that your psoriasis symptoms get worse or better at certain times of the year and during different types of weather. Some of your psoriasis triggers may even be more common in specific months.
Read on to learn how you can limit psoriasis symptoms in the spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Seasonal allergies tend to be worse during the spring and fall than other times of the year. In spring, tree pollen levels are particularly high.
If you have spring allergies, they may cause a variety of symptoms. In some cases, these may include skin symptoms, such as an itchy rash or hives.
Rubbing or scratching your skin can cause a flare in your psoriasis symptoms.
To help limit your exposure to spring allergy triggers, try these tips:
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Keep your windows closed at home, at work, and in your car.
- Take a shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside.
- Ask someone else to complete yard work or wear a mask when completing outdoor tasks, such as pulling weeds or mowing the lawn.
- Invest in an air conditioner, air heater, and vacuum cleaner that have high-efficiency filters.
You can also reduce allergy symptoms by taking over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, as recommended by your doctor.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend a type of immunotherapy for seasonal allergies called allergy shots. As a note, antihistamines can cause
In many people with psoriasis, exposure to UV radiation can help reduce symptoms of the condition.
That might be why some people notice improvements in their symptoms in the summer when their skin gets more exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
If you choose to treat your psoriasis with natural sunlight, you should still wear sunscreen and stay outside for only 10 minutes at a time to reduce the risk of sun damage.
As long as your skin can tolerate the exposure, you can slowly increase your sun exposure by 30 seconds to 1 minute each day.
However, too much UV radiation exposure can cause sunburn. In turn, this may trigger a flare in psoriasis symptoms.
To reduce your risk of sunburn, here are some recommendations:
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing.
- Limit the amount of the time you spend in the sun during the hottest times of day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
To learn more about potential benefits and risks of sun exposure, talk to your doctor. They can help you learn how much time you should spend in the sun.
Chlorine and saltwater exposure
The chlorine in pools and hot tubs may irritate and dry out your skin. Saltwater may have similar effects.
This can worsen some symptoms of psoriasis. For example, it may leave your skin feeling drier and itchier.
On the other hand, some people with psoriasis find that going for a swim or having a soak helps to soften and clear psoriasis plaques.
If exposure to chlorine or saltwater seems to make your symptoms worse, consider limiting the amount of time you spend in pools, hot tubs, or the ocean.
It may also help to take a shower right after you get out of a pool, hot tub, or the ocean. Chlorine-removing soaps and shampoos are available to help cleanse your skin.
Moisturizing your skin after swimming, soaking, or showering is also important.
Bug bites, bug stings, and poisonous plants
Any injury to your skin, including bug bites or stings, may trigger a flare in psoriasis symptoms. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
To help prevent bug bites and stings, follow these tips:
- Limit the time you spend outside at dusk and dawn when bugs tend to be most active.
- Avoid outdoor garbage cans and other areas where wasps congregate.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks, and shoes in buggy areas.
- Apply insect repellent.
- Burn citronella candles.
Oils from certain plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy, can also cause skin irritation, which may trigger psoriasis symptoms.
If you’re walking in areas where poisonous plants might be growing, try to stay on well-cleared pathways. Wearing long pants and socks can also help protect your skin from poisonous plants, as well as bugs.
Reduced sun exposure
People tend to get less sunlight exposure during the fall and winter months, compared with the summer.
Even if you spend a lot of time outside in cool seasons, clothing likely covers most of your skin.
As a result, your skin will get less exposure to UV rays. This may raise your risk of psoriasis flares, since UV radiation helps to limit symptoms in many people with this condition.
To help manage your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe phototherapy. This is also known as light therapy. In this treatment approach, your skin is exposed to UV rays using a sun lamp or other light device.
Cold temperatures and dry air
Cold, dry air can irritate and dry out your skin. This might aggravate your psoriasis symptoms.
To help keep your skin hydrated, you may need to apply moisturizer more often during the winter months. Consider using a thick, fragrance-free cream or ointment to help hydrate your skin and lock moisture in.
It may also help to:
- use a moisturizing cleanser, rather than regular soap
- take short lukewarm showers, rather than long hot showers
- use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home or workplace
When you go outside, dress in warm layers to protect your skin from cold air. You may find that cotton clothing is less itchy and irritating than wool or synthetic fabrics, such as polyester.
Many viral infections are more common during fall and winter months, which are often known collectively as “flu season.”
Infections affect your immune system and may make your psoriasis worse.
To help lower your risk of infection:
- get your recommended vaccinations, including the flu shot
- limit the amount of time you spend with people who are sick
- wash your hands often, including before you prepare or eat food and after you use the bathroom, touch animals, touch human or animal waste or spend time with someone who’s sick
- follow an overall healthful lifestyle, by exercising regularly, eating a nutrient-rich diet, getting enough sleep, and taking steps to limit stress
Talk to your doctor to learn which vaccines you should get and when you should receive them.
If you’re taking biologic medications to treat psoriasis, your doctor might recommend some adjustments to your medication regimen or vaccine schedule.
You should also let your doctor know if you develop any signs or symptoms of an infection. They can help you determine the cause of the infection and recommend treatment.
As the seasons change, you may notice that your psoriasis symptoms change as well.
For example, maybe your symptoms improve during warmer times of the year when you get more sunlight exposure.
Maybe your symptoms get worse in the fall or winter, as the temperatures drop, the air gets drier, and you spend less time outdoors.
Making small adjustments to your daily habits and treatment plan may help you manage seasonal changes in your condition.
Let your doctor know if you develop new or worsened symptoms. They can help you develop strategies to manage them.