If you have psoriasis, you’re probably already familiar with flare-ups. In addition to diet and stress, extreme weather conditions play a role in recurring episodes of psoriasis. People with psoriasis have sensitive skin and need to be cautious in extreme weather.
Here are some tips to help you prevent flare-ups in cold and hot weather.
Cold weather tips
A drop in temperature often means an increase in flare-ups. Along with the cold, reduced sunlight and loss of moisture also trigger flare-ups. Here are three things you can do to prevent flare-ups during the winter months:
1. Moisturize your skin
The top layer of the skin contains skin cells immersed in natural oils. The combination of cells and oils locks in water to help the skin stay hydrated.
Cold air can cause water particles to evaporate from the skin, though, which leads to drier skin. Using lotion in cold weather can lock in moisture and help keep psoriasis flare-ups at bay.
2. Keep air moist when indoors
Cranking up the thermostat is common during extremely cold temperatures. You may be warm, but your skin will be dry. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
When purchasing a humidifier, consider buying one that can read the humidity percentage. An optimal humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent.
3. Try hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is a group of supervised activities that involve immersing your joints and extremities in warm water. It’s a well-known method for adding moisture to skin during cold, dry conditions.
Apart from preventing flare-ups, hydrotherapy can help relieve psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Hot Weather Tips
If you have psoriasis, the sun can be both your friend and your foe. On one hand, sun exposure and natural sunlight can help treat psoriasis. UV radiation is the healing component of phototherapy treatment for psoriasis. On the other hand, too much sun exposure can trigger flare-ups.
Here are five things you can do to prevent flare-ups in hot weather:
1. Use sunscreen
Extreme sun exposure can irritate the skin and cause flare-ups. Sunscreen has protective characteristics against UVA and UVB rays. Your doctor may recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
2. Dress light
The body tries to counteract heat by producing sweat. Sweating can cause flare-ups in some people. To prevent flare-ups, wear light, loose-fitting clothing. You may also want to consider wearing sun protective clothing or hats and visors when outdoors.
3. Drink water
For the skin to stay hydrated, the body has to be hydrated. Drinking lots of water in hot weather can keep your skin hydrated and prevent flare-ups.
4. Schedule outdoor trips during cooler hours
The hottest hours during summer tend to be between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reducing your time outdoors during these hours or scheduling your trips during cooler hours can help prevent flare-ups.
5. Know your skin type
The sun has varying effects on different skin types. The Fitzpatrick scale was established to divide skin types according to color and corresponding reactions to sun exposure. The scale ranges from very fair (type 1) to very dark (type 6). Knowing your skin type can help you figure out how long you can stay out in the sun.
Having psoriasis doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors in the winter or summer months. Paying attention to your skin and using these tips can help protect you from future flare-ups.