Do you suffer from psoriasis? Are you worried about how to look after your skin this summer? Then this is the guide for you!
For the two million people in the UK who have psoriasis, summer can be a challenging time.
While sunlight and humidity can keep the worst of their symptoms at bay, there are other aspects of summer than can cause psoriasis to flare up. We've teamed up with our smart network of doctors to help you manage your symptoms effectively.
1. Soak up the sun - carefully!
You're the best person to know how your skin reacts to sunlight. Many people find it actually helps their psoriasis symptoms, while others find the opposite is true.
Psoriasis occurs because your boy produces new skin cells at a much faster rate than normal. The UVB rays from sunlight are associated with slowing down the rate of skin cell growth.
If this works for you, spend some time outside and let the sun do its thing. It's important that you continue to use sunscreen on any skin that's not affected by psoriasis, while you shouldn't stay out for too long.
Sunburn will only make your symptoms worse and could even cause new skin plaques to develop. It's also bad for the long-term health of your skin and increases your risk of skin cancer in later life.
Be aware that some medications used to treat psoriasis can make you sensitive to light and affect how long you can stay out in the sun without burning,
2. Stay cool
Sweating can aggravate psoriasis symptoms, especially on your scalp and face. The dry, cold air produced by air conditioners can also be a trigger.
It's obviously not practical to avoid sweating when it's hot, so your best bet is to mop up sweat before it has chance to irritate your skin, Wet wipes can be your saviour here, so make sure you keep a pack handy if you're heading our for the day.
At home, a humidifier can be an effective form of treatment. Air conditioning will make the air dry, whereas a humidifier provides a cooling effect without this unwanted side effect.
Of course, this won't come cheap, but some brands offer specialist products designed for people with psoriasis.
3. Go for a swim
Swimming can be really refreshing in the hot weather. If you have psoriasis, the water can also help soften skin plaques and get rid of flaky skin.
Of course, it's not quite as simple as that. The chlorine in swimming pools can sometimes irritate the skin and make psoriasis worse. If this applies to you, consider taking a dip in the sea instead.
Even if swimming pools don't normally cause any problems, make sure you towel yourself off thoroughly after you get out, to remove any excess chlorine. You should also apply a moisturiser to prevent your skin from getting too dry.
You should also avoid spending too long in warm water, such as a hot tub, which may cause itching and irritation later.
4. Beware of insect bites
Psoriasis sufferers are vulnerable to suffering from the Koebner phenomenon, where symptoms get worse after the skin is damaged.
An insect bite will break the skin and could set this reaction off, so it’s well worth taking care during the warmer months.
If you're worried, it's a good idea to cover up with long-sleeved tops and long trousers to prevent insects from getting close to your skin.
You should also invest in an effective insect repellent. However, bear in mind that one of the key ingredients in these products, DEET (diethyltoluamide), can react badly with your psoriasis and cause plaques to get worse.
Choose a product with low levels of DEET and never spray insect repellent directly on patches of irritated skin or open sores.
It’s long been known that anxiety, stress and other psychological issues can cause skin conditions to flare up. So take the time to relax, have a nice holiday or just chill out in your garden.
If you’re suffering with any kind of psychological issue, or you think worries about your psoriasis could be contributing to flare-ups – don’t suffer in silence. Speak to one of our online doctors and get the help and advice you need.
Get psoriasis advice today
Everyone’s experience with psoriasis is different, so if you’ve got any tips to share or questions to ask us, please leave a comment below. We always love to hear from you.
And if you’re looking for professional medical advice on dealing with psoriasis this summer, hit the button below to connect with a UK-based GP at a time and place to suit you.See a Doctor