Managing Psoriasis in Winter

Managing psoriasis in winter can be especially difficult.

Managing psoriasis in winter can be especially difficult.  Cold, harsh, dry conditions create a perfect storm for flare-ups.  Not to mention all the hand washing we do to try and avoid all the illnesses going around.

Common factors leading to issues with psoriasis when the weather gets chilly:

  • Dry Air – Psoriasis is particularly susceptible to dry air and can become inflamed and itchy when skin dries out.  The cold air outside and warm, dry air from fireplaces or heating systems inside rob your skin of needed moisture.
  • Increased Risk of Illness – Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, catching any sort of cold or flu bug can increase the likelihood of a flare up.
  • Holiday Stress – Stress is a well-known trigger for psoriasis, and we all know just how stressful the holidays can be.
  • Decreased Exposure to Sunlight – Studies have shown that the ultraviolet (UV) rays delivered by the sun are one of the best natural treatments for psoriasis. But with shorter winter days and the need to bundle up, chances are slim that you’re actually soaking up any of those rays.

How you can prevent flare-ups:

  1. Consider Light Therapy – People undergoing light therapy expose their skin to artificial UV rays on a regular basis, usually at a doctor’s office.
  2. Use Moisturizers – It is important to replenish the moisture drawn from your skin during the winter months.  Look for one specifically for sensitive skin.  Apply a lotion during the day and a thicker cream at night.
  3. Avoid Long, Hot Showers – They feel great, especially when it’s cold outside, but hot water is extremely drying to skin. Try to take shorter showers with warm water instead.  You can even skip washing your hair every day – it’s better for your hair and shortens the time you’re in the shower!
  4. Boost Your Immune System – Now is the time to take extra vitamin C and drink your orange juice.  You want to avoid getting sick, so wash your hands frequently with a mild soap and get plenty of rest.
  5. Relax – Try to avoid holiday stress.  If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and refocus. Exercise is also a very effective stress reliever.

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