5 Tips To Help Manage Psoriasis During The Winter

5 Tips To Help Manage Psoriasis During The Winter

People who suffer from psoriasis tend to experience more symptoms and flare-ups during fall and winter. In addition to the stress people experience during the holidays, the colder temperatures and reduced daylight hours tend to trigger psoriasis symptoms. In fact, in a survey conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), 4 out of 10 people with psoriasis explained that they experienced more symptoms during the winter.

Psoriasis 101

Psoriasis is a condition that causes irregular immune function and involves a series of different symptoms. It’s best to consult a dermatologist to figure out the necessary steps to manage the condition, but each person deals with it in their own way. Some people only experience minor symptoms, while others develop a series of patches and deal with regular flare-ups. For the most part, though, people with psoriasis can experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Irritated or sensitive skin
  • Inflammation of skin and joints
  • Itching, burning, stinging, or painful sensation in affected areas
  • Overdevelopment of skin cells (resulting in plaques)
  • Joint pain (for people who have psoriatic arthritis)

The colder weather and holiday stress doesn’t mean that you have to suffer through flare-ups and frustrating symptoms. You can help manage symptoms and naturally improve the condition with the following tips. 

Add Moisture To The Air

In addition to the dry air outside, indoor air is often very dry as a result of heating. This can irritate sensitive skin and worsen flaking or itching. According to Mayo Clinic, the humidity in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent. One of the best ways to add more moisture to the air is by using a humidifier. Although it’s an expensive option, it’s best to incorporate a central humidifier to your home’s air-conditioning system. A portable humidifier in the bedroom or living room is the next best option. 

Try Light Therapy

It’s possible to receive a prescription from your health care provider for UV light therapy treatment. This can be beneficial during the winter months because there is less daylight. Exposing the skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) light on a regular basis may be an effective treatment for psoriasis. According to studies, UVB light exists in natural sunlight and it helps to penetrate the skin, slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells. It’s possible that other types of light therapy exist, but they may increase the risk of skin cancer. 

Avoid Wearing Wool

When it’s cold outside, staying warm is of the utmost importance. Naturally, many people opt for wool clothing items because it keeps the body incredibly warm. Wool is also itchy and it can be especially irritating for people with psoriasis or sensitive skin. If you already have symptoms, wearing wool may only increase their severity. If you absolutely have to wear your favorite wool sweater, it’s best to do so over cotton or silk undergarments that don’t allow itchy fibers to irritate the skin. It’s also best to wear breathable clothing because bundling up and overheating may lead to chafed skin that increases the risk of flare-ups.

Take Shorter Showers And Baths

Standing in a steamy shower or soaking in a hot bath is magical when it’s cold outside. Spending a lot of time in hot water, however, can easily dry out the skin. Taking a shower or bath helps you get clean, but it also strips the skin of its natural oils. You can help minimize flare-ups and prevent symptoms by only taking one shower or bath per day. Keep it short as well, only spending five minutes or so in the shower and no more than 15 minutes in a bath. If you do take a bath, it’s best to use lukewarm water and mix Epsom salt in to increase mineral absorption.

Avoid Trigger Foods

During the fall and winter months, it’s easy to abandon dietary rules and eat whatever’s in sight. Unfortunately, many of these temptations are often trigger foods that increase the risk of flare-ups. Common trigger foods include processed foods, gluten, high-fat dairy products, alcohol, and more. You can click here to learn more about trigger foods. Many indulgent holiday spreads tend to have these foods, so do your best to avoid them because consuming trigger foods during cold weather may result in severe symptoms or extreme irritation.

In addition to the above recommendations, resist the urge to scratch because that can worsen symptoms. The last thing you want is to accidentally open a lesion and develop an infection. 

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