While each new season brings its own delights, the change in weather can also bring challenges to people who suffer from a skin condition, such as psoriasis. Weather can have a huge effect on our skin. A combination of dry air, decreased sunlight exposure, and colder temperatures can all contribute to psoriasis flares. Learn about some wintertime strategies for getting UV light and protecting your skin from the harsh climate.
Dry air, decreased UVB light and cold weather can worsen psoriasis
Weather changes can also affect your skin quite a lot. When the air is dry and cold, your skin needs more moisture. The winter months bring cold winds and dry conditions that can irritate the delicate skin and strip skin of its natural moisture. All of these changes are determined to wreak havoc on skin.
With winter also comes a decrease amount of UVB light. UVB are the rays responsible for your body making vitamin D. Experts believe that ultraviolet light hinders the rapid growth of skin cells that is characteristic of psoriasis. So psoriasis is more likely to flare when you spend less time in the sun, which is usually the case in winter.
Tips for coping with psoriasis in winter
Regularly moisturize your skin.
Use natural organic skincare products or nourish skin with pure oils, such as almond, avocado, coconut or jojoba oil. Moisturizing your skin immediately after you shower or bathe may help lock water into your skin.
Use a humidifier.
A humidifier may help in your home and at work to combat the dry air that blasts from heaters. Try to avoid using your heater at night. The warm air can leave your skin dry.
The form of light known as ultraviolet light B (UVB) seems to be the most beneficial for treating psoriasis. Your doctor may prescribe a certain amount of UVB exposure depending on symptoms. Another option is to plan a sunny vacation in the middle of winter!
Avoid super hot showers.
Hot water removes the skin’s natural oils more quickly than warm or cold water. This is why showers should be limited to five minutes, using warm water rather than hot. A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda can help relieve skin that is so dry that it has become itchy.
Keep your body well-hydrated.
Don’t forget to drink several glasses of water or herbal tea a day. It is best to avoid alcohol, caffeine and all kinds of diuretics to keep the body well-hydrated.
Increase your intake of Vitamin D and omega 3.
- Omega 3: This healthy fat helps retain natural oils in your cells and keep skin well hydrated. Omega-3 can be found in cold-water fish as well as in poly-unsatured and unrefined vegetable oils such as flax oil. Because of unsafe levels of mercury and toxicity in some kinds of fish (especially the big ones such as salmon), it is advisable to supplement diet with high quality oils or seeds instead (like chia or hemp seeds).
- Vitamin D: Few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D naturally. The best sources are wild-caught salmon and mackerel. Indeed, it may be worth supplementing your diet with vitamin D in the winter.
Do symptoms usually get better in the spring and summer?
The humidity of summer helps soften skin and bring back the moisture lost in winter. Some people attribute their improved complexions to increased sun exposure. Hot, damp, sunny weather helps relieve the problem in most psoriasis sufferers. However, this is not the case for everyone. Some people have photosensitive psoriasis, which actually improves in winter and worsens in summer when skin is exposed to sunlight. Extreme heat and humidity can also facilitate bacterial and fungal infections, and as a result worsen skin conditions. Sunburns can also aggravate psoriasis signs and symptoms.
Regardless of which season wreaks the most havoc on your psoriasis, therapies, diet and lifestyle modifications have helped lots of people to reduce psoriasis symptoms. Please discuss with your doctor possible treatments to control your skin condition.