6 tricks with psoriasis skin care in winter?

Expert Answers
akasha124 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Last winter I had a psoriasis flare up myself, and here are two things I did to help reduce it under my doctor's advice:

1. In the winter there is less sunlight, which means you get less vitamin D which helps the treatment of psoriasis.  My doctor said even though I take a multi-vitamin, it wasn't enough vitamin D.  She suggested I add a vitamin D supplement as well, which really helped me.

2. Stress level.  I was going through a lot of stressful things in my life last winter, which definitely contributed to my psoriasis.  The stress of the holidays, the loss of sunlight, personal problems, all of these things can make your psoriasis worse.  Try out some things to reduce your stress level such as journaling, doing some exercise such as yoga, or doing a meditation exercise.

Here are some other recommended tricks to deal with psoriasis:

3. Hot showers can irritate skin.  Try to keep your shower as short as possible and with luke warm water.  Don't give in to the urge to looah and exfoliate, instead use products that are meant for sensitive skin.  Don't shower more than once a day.

4. Moisturizing really helps.  If you moisturize after the shower, it helps seal in moisture, relieving itchy skin.  Slathering on petroleum jelly is best, but it can be a bit greasy and messy.  If you are uncomfortable with using petroleum jelly, a good compromise may be to use a petroleum based lotion, such as Vaseline's Intensive Rescue lotions.

5. If you are taking any medication for your psorasis, check with your doctor to make sure that they are sufficient for the winter time.

6. Consider phototherapy to give you the extra sunlight you need.  It can be done in a doctor's office or even in the comfort of your own home.  Have some extra money?  A vacation in the middle of the winter in a sunny, tropical locale can do your skin wonders!

And remember, it's always best to consult with your doctor first before trying any suggested treatments.

jkirkwoo eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hot showers can dry your skin out and make it more prone to outbreaks so taking shorter kind of lukewarm water will help.  Pat yourself dry instead of rubbing after your bath or shower since rubbing can just irritate psoriasis.

As soon as you get out of the bath or shower put on some lotion to keep your skin moisturized.

Also try and keep your stress level down.

If your psoriasis normally gets worse in the winter it also would be a good idea to check in with your doctor to see if your psoriasis medications need to be adjusted slightly to get you through the winter time.

If you have the time and money you could also look into photo (light) therapy which can help clear about dry patchy skin but can be a hassle since you will normally need several sessions before seeing a benefit.

Getting a humidifier for your house can keep your enviroment in a better condition that will help you skins overall moisture.

Also for winter avoid wool or other scratchy type fabrics common in sweaters.  If you are going to wear a sweater that may contain wool put something cotton or silky underneath it to protect your skin from this irritation.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Trick 1: do not do long showers with hot water

Experts recommend that showers to be  short and with warm water, although hot water provides a pleasant feeling at the moment, it leads to increased itching.

During winter it is recommended to reduce the number of showers, especially if the house has dry air. Experts advise us to make only one daily, and this without exfoliating creams as they can be irritating and along with skin irritation, psoriasis becomes worse, moreover, they recommend us to choose the ranges for sensitive skin soaps.

Trick 2: emollients use after shower

Use of rich emollient after shower! Doctors dermatologists recommend to patients with psoriasis to use large amounts of emollient. One of the best time to do this is immediately after bath or shower.It is advisable to apply a moisturizing cream for 3 to 5 minutes after the skin was dried thoroughly with a towel, for an optimal effect of moisture, so skin stores greater amounts of water.

What type of emollient is recommended?Lotions are easier to apply, say experts, but creams and ointments, with a high consistency, have a better hydration.

Trick 3: phototherapy

Using ultraviolet treatment is favorable for patients with psoriasis, although take longer and require repeated sessions, phototherapy (light therapy using) is a standard treatment for psoriasis for a long time.The mechanism is one at all complicated: light containing ultraviolet rays slow down skin cell growth that is accelerated in patients with psoriasis, and thus lead to the disappearance of manifestations of psoriasis for relatively large periods of time (while the skin cell replacement occur in persons healthy about a month, in patients with psoriasis cell growthis also increased, skin being replaced every 3 or 4 days!).

Trick 4: Adjusting therapy

If the psoriasis gets worse during the winter it's time to ask the doctor to adjust the dose of medication, you should not do alone this change: the doctor is able to determine if the treatment is adequate or needs adjustment.There will be preparations issued without prescription , such as products containing salicylic acid and tar, as well as  preparations issued only with prescription drugs, such as creams based on vitamin D analogues and corticosteroids.

Trick 5: Reduce stress levels

Stress plays a role in exacerbation of psoriasis. Stress can be emotional one, but we talk also about physical stress (such as that caused by surgery).

 Trick 6: Alternative Therapies

Since stress can trigger or exacerbate psoriasis, experts recommend cognitive therapy to relax and reduce stress - meditation and yoga-to lower the general level of neuropsychological tension.Even if there are currently few studies to support alternative methods of psoriasis therapy, this does not mean they are not useful. Looks like yoga, pressopuncture and even acupuncture eases psoriasis