How to deal with a psoriasis flare-up in winter?

Psoriasis, an auto-immune disease happens when skin cells multiply 10 times faster than normal. Learn how to deal with psoriasis in winter with these tips!
Psoriasis may end up getting worse in winter. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Published: 6 Jan 2024, 18:00 pm IST

In the chilly season, most winter woes amplify due to slow healing in those months. One of the many skin woes that can aggravate in winter is psoriasis. If summer can be painful in dealing with this skin issue due to sweat, winter months can also cause delays in healing because of the slow effect of medications and other remedies. If you are struggling to deal with psoriasis in winter, read on.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which skin cells multiply 10 times faster than normal. This results in patches on the skin which can be red with white scales. It is an autoimmune condition that causes thick and scaly plaques on the skin. A normal skin cell grows and falls off within 28 to 30 days. However in psoriasis, skin cells grow in 3 to 4 days and the cells, rather than falling, pile up on the skin, cosmetologist and trichologist Dr Priti Mahire tells Health Shots.

What are the common symptoms of psoriasis?

1. Patches on skin which may be red surrounded by white or silvery plaques.
2. Dry, cracked and scaly skin
3. Itching on the lesions
4. Soreness around the patches

Psoriasis is a common skin condition. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What causes psoriasis?

While the exact cause of psoriasis is not exactly known, it is known that the immune system and genetics play an important role. The white blood cells known as the T cells mistakenly attack your skin cells resulting in speeding up of the skin cell production. This way, new skin cells develop to quickly piling up on the skin surface. It can be seen on hands, feet, neck, scalp, back, elbows and knees.

To know more details about psoriasis, click here. 

Why does psoriasis flare up in winter?

Psoriasis flares most in winter because of the dry air. Dry air causes the skin to lose moisture, resulting in dry and flaky skin. Also, less exposure to sunlight in winter triggers the flares. People tend to take longer and hotter showers in winter which dries out the skin. In winters humidity level decreases which also results in dry skin,” says Dr Mahire.

Also read: Know how psoriasis is linked to your mental health!

How to manage psoriasis in winter?

While it’s difficult to manage this skin condition, there are some easy remedies or rituals you can follow to prevent psoriasis from getting worse in winter.

1. Moisturise

“Regular and frequent moisturizing helps to seal the moisture of the skin. You can use moisturizers containing ceramides, hyaluronic acid, butters, glycerin, or Vitamin E etc,” says Dr Priti Mahire.

2. Say no to products with fragrance

Fragrance or scents can cause harm to the skin and can lead to aggravation of the existing skin conditions. Use fragrance-free and moisturizing cleansers and body wash to keep skin issues like psoriasis under control.

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Psoriasis can cause a lot of physical discomfort. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Follow some post-bathing rituals

A moisturizer gets better absorbed and more easily in damp skin. After bathing, dab the skin dry and apply moisturizer immediately on damp skin to allow for better absorption in the skin.

4. Use humidifiers in the room

A dry environment can trigger psoriasis, so you can maintain a humid environment even in your room by using humidifiers.

5. Wear protective clothing

Cotton as a natural fabric is less likely to cause chemical reactions to psoriasis. Cotton can absorb more sweat than other fabrics. More insulating fabrics like synthetics, nylon, or polyester can make you sweat more, thus aggravating psoriasis.

6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Drinking plenty of water helps maintain moisture levels in the skin which can alleviate psoriasis symptoms. Drinking more water can also aid in relieving inflammation in the body by flushing out all toxins.

Alongside, keep a check on your diet, and be mindful of what you eat. Watch your caffeine intake as it can be a trigger for your psoriasis.

7. Manage stress

Stress is also a major reason that can flare up this skin condition. Try to keep stress at bay by living a healthy lifestyle, practising daily meditation, or deep breathing techniques that help you deal with everyday challenges without ruining your sanity or psoriasis for that matter.

Stress management techniques can take away the stress and attention from psoriasis symptoms like constant itchiness.

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