7 Methods to Handle Psoriasis Flares Through the Winter


If your symptoms continue to worsen even after seeing a dermatologist, it’s important to continue using the treatments your dermatologist has prescribed for you while you contact them to re-evaluate your regimen.

2. Consider light therapy.

Light therapy is one of the most common and effective psoriasis treatments for people with mild to moderate psoriasis. There are many types of light therapy available, such as narrowband UVB therapy, broadband UVB therapy, and laser treatments. Depending on your symptoms and the type of psoriasis you have, your doctor may recommend that you try just one type of light therapy or a combination of them.

Exactly why light therapy effectively treats psoriasis isn’t fully understood, but researchers believe it suppresses skin cells linked to the immune response, ultimately calming inflammation. There are probably several complex processes going on in the body that create this effect.

If your doctor recommends light therapy, you’ll likely need to visit their office about three times a week, for 10 to 15 minutes per session, says Dr. Ferris. Over time, you probably won’t need to seek treatment as often. “I have patients who come in maybe once a week, and that really keeps them going,” says Dr. Ferris, adding that other people are doing well with only coming in once every two weeks.

3. Try to keep stress levels low.

« Managing stress as much as possible is always ideal, » says Dr. Burris. This is true for everyone, but especially for someone with psoriasis. « We don’t really know why stress causes [psoriasis and other] skin diseases to pop, but it really is,” says Dr. Ferris.2

If you don’t know how to relieve stress, consider yoga, meditation, journaling, exercising, sharing your feelings with a friend, or making an appointment with a therapist or other professional. of mental health. These stress relief activities and grounding exercises are also a good place to start.

4. Avoid hot showers.

A warm shower or bath in the winter may feel nice at the time, but in the long run, it does you a disservice. In fact, hot water can seriously dry out your skin and strip it of nourishing oils. The AAD recommends limiting showers and baths to 10 minutes or less and showering or bathing in lukewarm water rather than hot water.

5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Dry skin is rampant in the winter, and all the more so if you have psoriasis. The Mayo Clinic recommends people with psoriasis use moisturizer daily, or more than once a day if it helps your skin symptoms. Make a habit of moisturizing right after showering and reapply lotion during the day if your skin feels dry and uncomfortable. The AAD also recommends sticking to fragrance-free creams and ointments to avoid irritating sensitive skin.

Dr. Ferris says over-the-counter moisturizers containing salicylic acid can be helpful because they help get rid of dry skin and thin or soften psoriasis patches, making it easier for topical medications to get to the skin. , which could make them more effective. Dr. Ferris notes that most over-the-counter moisturizers and shampoos containing salicylic acid contain such low concentrations (2-6%) that they are generally not irritating, especially when in a cream or lotion. ointment.

6. Sleep with a humidifier.

A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can be helpful if your skin tends to be dry, cracked, or sore during the winter. Dr. Burris recommends using a humidifier at night during cold, dry winter months to reduce dryness and the urge to scratch, which only makes it worse. « Dry skin is itchy skin, and the less you scratch, the less likely it is to experience a flare-up of underlying psoriasis or even eczema, » she says.

7. Take precautions to avoid getting sick.

As we know, infections and illnesses can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. This becomes a much bigger risk during cold and flu (and COVID and RSV) season, when viral illnesses are more common, Dr. Burris says.

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