Psoriasis is a condition of the skin caused by excessive skin cell formation which leads to the emergence of plaques characterized by itching and painful sensations. As you know, this disease is very common and affects millions of people. Psoriasis is a chronic, lifelong disease. Many people cyclically experience:
periods of remission : the symptoms of psoriasis are significantly reduced or the skin becomes completely clean
Despite the fact that psoriasis can not be cured, there are many different treatments for it, allowing to minimize outbreaks and make the symptoms more manageable.
Can weather be a trigger of psoriasis?
If you have psoriasis, you are probably already familiar with its outbreaks. There are various factors that contribute to more frequent outbreaks of psoriasis, they are called triggers. Some of these factors can be controlled, for example, with dietary nutrition. However, there are other factors, such as weather that can affect psoriasis but at the same time are not controlled.
For many patients, certain weather conditions can trigger an exacerbation of psoriasis whereas other weather conditions can significantly reduce its symptoms. Understanding how weather affects psoriasis can help to cope with its symptoms.
Warm VS cold weather
You may notice that skin problems subside during spring and summer. There are some assumptions as to why this happens. Some doctors believe that if patients wear a small amount of clothing at higher temperatures, this reduces a chance of skin irritation. With outdoor summer clothes the skin is more exposed to the sun. It is known that ultraviolet radiation from sunlight often helps to reduce outbreaks of psoriasis. On the contrary, too much time under the direct influence of sunlight can worsen your condition. Therefore, it is best to experiment with different duration of sun exposure in order to find something that is perfect for you.
"It should be noted that people with a winter form of psoriasis respond well to sunlight and may experience improvements in the treatment of psoriasis during the summer. While people suffering from summer psoriasis, the symptoms worsen when the affected skin is exposed to sunlight”
In contrast to the benefits of warm weather and sunshine in spring and summer, fall and winter can negatively affect psoriasis. In addition to less access to sunlight, there are other factors. Basically, in the cold months the air is very dry which is the main cause of the symptoms of psoriasis. Dry skin can be easily irritated and makes the outbreaks of psoriasis more common. Besides, there is a high probability of catching a cold or the flu during months with colder weather. Such illnesses weaken your immune system which increases a chance of psoriasis exacerbation.
What has been shown by the current study on the connection between weather and psoriasis?
A recent American study examined the effects of weather conditions on people with psoriasis. Most people who participated in the study had symptoms of this disease which improved in the summer and worsened in the winter. After all, the humidity level decreases in winter, and it becomes more dry. The results of the study showed that rainy weather does not affect the course of psoriasis since throughout the whole experiment scientists did not discover the connection between discomfort and psoriasis outbreaks. Regarding the climatic conditions of the inner environment, scientists have found that for some people suffering from psoriasis indoor heating can adversely affect the symptoms of the disease, in particular, provoke itching and redness.
How to reduce the influence of cold and hot weather on psoriasis?
To avoid the negative effects of the weather as much as possible, try to identify your own psoriasis triggers that are associated with different weather conditions.
In addition, we have prepared a few tips for you to help prevent the exacerbation of psoriasis in cold and hot weather.
What to do in cold weather?
A decrease in temperature often means symptom deterioration. Along with the cold and dry air, the lack of sunlight and the loss of moisture can provoke exacerbation of psoriasis. But there are things you can do to prevent flashes in the winter:
1. Stay away from hot water
Although this seems illogical but water, especially hot, can dry out the skin. When you take a bath or shower, you do not just wash away the dirt, you also wash off your natural protective layer, in the form of sebum. To minimize this negative effect, it is recommended to take a shower (not a bath) with warm or cool water, no more than 10 minutes, once a day.
2. Maintain a normal level of humidity
Heating in a room is usually necessary at low temperatures, particularly in winter. Thus, the house will be warm, but your skin will be dry. Use an air humidifier and it will help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
3. Moisturize the skin
The top layer of the human skin contains glands that produce sebum. It performs a protective function and helps the skin maintain a natural level of hydration. Cold air reduces the production of sebum, which leads to a more dry skin. Using moisturizers in cold weather will help to retain moisture and prevent the outbreak of psoriasis. Therefore, your skin needs regular and thorough moistening.
4. Avoid wool clothing
Wool has the property of provoking an itch. If you suffer from psoriasis, from time to time you can also experience itching. Thus, when wearing woolen sweaters, the itch becomes even stronger. In order not to get cold during the cold season, you can wear such clothes over cotton long-sleeved cotton so that the wool fibers do not aggravate your psoriasis. In addition, it should be borne in mind that too warm clothes can cause excessive sweating, which can irritate the skin.
5. Consider phototherapy as a way of therapy and prevention
It was shown that sunlight has a positive, curative effect on outbreaks of psoriasis. Due to shorter days and a lot of clothes, the probability of getting it becomes much less. To compensate for this deficit, you can consider phototherapy, which directs the artificial ultraviolet rays to the affected areas of the body.
6. Take care of your body
In winter, not only your skin becomes drier and flakier, but you can also catch cold or catch the flu. This can adversely affect the condition of the whole body, as well as the treatment of psoriasis. Therefore, it is very important to strengthen immunity and do everything possible to prevent viral diseases in winter. Avoid stress and sleep well.
What to do in hot weather?
If you have psoriasis, the sun can be both your friend and your enemy. On the one hand, exposure to the sun and natural sunlight can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. On the other hand, too much ultraviolet radiation can cause damage to your skin and trigger a psoriasis exacerbation. Here are some tips to help prevent the worsening of psoriasis symptoms in the summer months:
1. Use sunscreen
Aggressive sun can irritate the skin, cause burns and trigger an outbreak of psoriasis. Sunscreen has protective characteristics against UVA and UVB rays. It is recommended to use sunscreen with SPF not less than 30, but it’s better if it has more.
2. Wear light clothes
In hot weather the body tries to counteract the heat by producing sweat. Sweating can cause outbreaks in some people. To prevent them, one should wear light, loose clothes made from natural fabrics. You should also put on headwear that can protect the head from sunstroke and skin from burning.
3. Drink more water
For the skin to remain moisturized, the body should be hydrated. Drinking plenty of water in hot weather can help moisturize your skin and prevent the outbreak of psoriasis.
4. Choose time for walks
The hottest hours during the summer are in the time interval from 10 am to 4 pm. Plan trips or walks in cooler hours, or shorten your time outdoors, during the greatest activity of the sun.
5. Know your skin type
The sun has different effects on different types of skin. The Fitzpatrick Scale was designed to classify skin types according to skin color and respective responses to sun exposure. The scale ranges from very light skin (type 1) to very dark skin (type 6). Knowing your skin type will help you understand how long you can stay in the sun.
Having psoriasis does not mean you can't enjoy the nature in any weather, in cold winter time as well as in hot summer months. Take care of your skin using these tips which will help you protect yourself from psoriasis outbreaks related to the weather and benefit from what nature gives you.
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