Winter weather may make it harder to care for your psoriasis. In Canada, our winters are long. We receive fewer hours of sunlight and the rays of the sun are weaker, providing less of the benefit of ultraviolet light B (UVB) to those with psoriasis. As well, the winter air is drier, making it more difficult to maintain moisture in your skin.
Follow these tips to help you through the winter months.
Keep your skin well hydrated. During the winter, the humidity level in the air (inside as well as outside) often decreases significantly, so it's harder to keep skin well moisturized. Apply heavier layers of creams and ointments over areas affected by psoriasis and, if possible, run a humidifier in your home and office.
Ask your doctor about artificial light therapy. This type of treatment can help slow the excessive skin cell growth present in psoriasis and can clear flare-ups for months at a time. However, there are side effects and possible risks involved, so make sure to check with your health-care professional about whether this treatment is right for you.
Avoid hot baths. It may be tempting to jump into a hot bath while the cold wind rages outside, but keep in mind that hot baths or showers can irritate your psoriasis symptoms. Before hopping into the bathtub or shower, make sure that the water is at a moderate temperature.
If planning a vacation to a sunny climate, pack clothes and shoes that fit comfortably and will not irritate your skin. Tight-fitting clothes and clothing made from certain fabrics can irritate your skin and worsen symptoms. While hot and humid weather can benefit some people with psoriasis, it can also cause other people's symptoms to worsen. Before going away on vacation, do some background research on the vacation spot and pick a suitable time to go. But protect your skin from the sun! Bring a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 coverage. Sunburns can worsen your psoriasis – and increase your risk of skin cancer.
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