Imagine -- you’re at the gym, working up a sweat. You’ve just finished a good…
If you experience agonizing psoriasis flare-ups and painful psoriasis patches throughout the chilly winter months, it’s time to beat the cold this season by better managing your psoriasis with these top 10 tips.
Straight from our expert dermatologists, these key tips and tricks will hopefully alleviate the severity of your psoriasis symptoms, reduce the chances of future flare-ups, and help you have a more comfortable, psoriasis-free winter season.
10 Winter Psoriasis Tips from an Expert Dermatologist
1. An Oldie But a Goodie – Stay Hydrated
Did you know that when your body is dehydrated, your skin is dehydrated, too? Even if you might not feel thirsty, drinking plenty of water in the winter keeps your body happy and hydrated, which helps keep the skin moisturized.
In turn, this decreases inflammation and can help reduce psoriasis flare-ups, as this skin condition is characterized by dryness and cracking.
So fill up that water jug and keep it handy throughout the day to get your water in.
2. Add Moisture to the Air
Cold, dry air can make the skin itchy and irritated and, in turn, exacerbate underlying skin conditions like psoriasis. Adding moisture to the air in your home or workspace with a quality humidifier is a great way to replace lost moisture caused by heating units and colder weather.
3. Avoid Long, Hot Showers
As the chilly, arid air of winter sets in, it’s crucial to switch up your daily skincare routine to combat dry, cracked skin. This means avoiding long, hot showers, which can draw out moisture from your skin and strip its natural, protective oils.
Instead, opt for shorter, lukewarm showers and restorative oatmeal and Epsom salt baths that moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, and relieve symptoms.
4. Lather Up – Increase Daily Moisturizing
Combat skin dehydration by increasing daily moisturization this winter season with thicker creams, lotions, and hydrating oils. Psoriasis is characterized by thick scaly skin, so make sure to lock in hydration and properly moisturize on a daily basis to help improve irritated skin.
If OTC creams and lotions aren’t working for your psoriasis, it’s important to visit a board-certified dermatologist for topical creams with active ingredients such as salicylic acid, corticosteroids, coal tar, or prescription retinoids.
5. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
While you might want to indulge with a few beers or cocktails every now and then, especially during the holidays, increased alcohol consumption is associated with the worsening of psoriasis.
Additionally, alcohol may lessen the effects of psoriasis medication. Thus, it might be worth avoiding if your psoriasis symptoms are particularly worse during the winter season.
6. Let Your Skin Breathe – Wear Appropriate Clothing
Though this may be different for everyone suffering from psoriasis in the winter, wearing the wrong type of clothing can further irritate this skin condition. While you might want to bundle up in thick, heavy wool and protective denim to keep warm in the chilly weather, those fabrics can often bother the skin, increase itchiness, and aggravate psoriasis patches.
Instead, opt for gentle cotton and loose, lightweight layers to better manage the pain and discomfort.
7. Try UV Therapy to Reduce Psoriasis in the Winter
Otherwise known as light therapy or phototherapy, UV therapy can often improve the symptoms of psoriasis throughout every season but especially during the winter when natural sun exposure is limited.
Light therapy for psoriasis helps to reduce skin inflammation and decrease cell growth, which reduces psoriasis plaque formation.
8. Improve the Diet
An often overlooked but incredibly important step for managing psoriasis in the winter is eating a healthy, wholesome, and nutrient-dense diet. Just like with other areas of wellbeing and health, your diet may affect psoriasis and its severity.
While there’s no set diet for psoriasis, it’s important to choose foods that reduce inflammation and keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
9. Keep Stress in Check
Increased stress and anxiety tend to be a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups so it’s crucial to focus on activities and techniques that help you stay relaxed and stress-free.
Things like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, talking to a therapist, or even getting a relaxing spa treatment are all ways to keep your stress in check this winter season.
10. Reassess Your Psoriasis Treatment Plan
Do you find your psoriasis symptoms and flare-ups getting worse with every new winter and fall season that comes around? It may be time to visit a board-certified dermatologist.
Reassessing your current psoriasis treatment plan and making a few changes may be the key to improving your psoriasis this winter and helping you live a more comfortable life.
If your psoriasis symptoms are causing discomfort or pain in the skin or joints, or giving you concern about your appearance, it’s time to talk to an expert. Book an appointment online here or call (614) 847-4100 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists at the Center for Surgical Dermatology. Together we can develop a psoriasis treatment plan to reduce and manage flare ups.