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01 December 2021

Tips for manging psoriasis in cold weather

Our top tips for managing psoriasis this winter.

Holding Mug News PodMany people with psoriasis note that their symptoms are affected by weather change, with some experiencing worsening symptoms during the colder months. This is likely caused by lower levels of sunlight and the combination of colder and drier air. So, we thought we would revisit our top tips for taking care of your psoriasis this winter.

  1. The golden rule of caring for psoriasis is to moisturise, and this is even more important when trying to combat the effects of the cold weather. Apply generous amounts of moisturiser often to help reduce itching and redness, and make sure you use fragrance free products to avoid skin irritation. You may also want to consider switching to a thicker emollient or ointment for a while, which can lock in moisture for longer. You can find more information on emollients here.
  2. Shower in warm water rather than hot, as hot water can dry out the skin and may irritate your psoriasis further. It may also help to swap to emollient wash products rather than soaps, as these are more moisturising and would likely be fragrance free.
  3. Wear soft materials such as cotton or silk that will not rub or cause skin irritation. If you want to wear wool or knitted jumpers make sure you have a comfortable, soft layer between the wool and your skin.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to stay healthy and keep the skin hydrated and this is just as important during the winter as it is in hot weather.
  5. The drying effects of central heating can be unpleasant for psoriasis, so you may find it helps to have a humidifier in the bedroom while you sleep to add moisture back into the air. Alternatively, placing a bowl of water near radiators can help with this too.
  6. Finally, if your psoriasis gets considerably worse during the winter and you are finding it difficult to manage, then you should talk to your doctor as you may be able to come up with a more effective treatment plan to control your psoriasis. This may include upping medication doses, or moving you onto a slightly stronger treatment for a little while. You can see more information on treatments available for psoriasis here.
  7. Other important steps to keep yourself safe this winter

    1. If you are taking an immunosuppressive treatment for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, you should ask your GP about an NHS flu jab. More details are provided in the following information sheet from the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD). The resource covers various immunisations (vaccinations) that you may need when taking medicines that act by suppressing the immune system. Information about the flu jab specifically can be found on pages 3 and 4 of the document.
    2. Ensure you receive your COVID-19 vaccination doses or booster when you are eligible. More information about the COVID-19 vaccines for people with psoriasis can be found here. The NHS or your GP surgery will contact you when it is your turn to receive the vaccine or you can find out who is currently eligible and book online with the NHS here.

Please remember that while it may be tempting to use sunbeds for your psoriasis during winter, there are some important things to remember. It’s important to be aware that sunbeds are NOT the same as UV light therapy given in a hospital. Hospital-based UV treatment uses only the specific part of the spectrum that is useful to treat psoriasis, whereas many sunbeds use mostly, or entirely, UVA light which is ineffective for treating psoriasis on its own. Using sunbeds means taking on the significant risks that come with UV exposure, without much of the benefit to psoriasis.

If you would like any further information, advice or support regarding psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis this winter, please contact our helpline, either by phone on 01604 251 620, email at mail@psoriasis-association.org.uk or WhatsApp on 07387 716 439.

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