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Just because you have psoriasis, you don't have to spend all winter wishing summertime would arrive early. You just need to take extra care to conquer winter challenges to skin, like indoor heating, cold, wind, and heavy clothing.

Look at winter as a chance to pamper yourself and control psoriasis at the same time.

Smooth on Moisture: Keep your skin moist to ease redness and itching and heal psoriasis patches. The thicker the cream or ointment, the better it is at locking water into your skin. Use moisture-adding soap and a creamy lotion after you shower, bathe, or wash your hands. Choose fragrance-free products to avoid allergic reactions.

Choose Soothing Baths Over Hot Showers: Long showers in hot water remove moisture from your skin. Shower in warm water just long enough to soap up and rinse off. You can relax in the tub, however. Sprinkle oil, oilated oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts in a warm bath. Soak for about 15 minutes to slough off scales, soothe itching, and unwind. Apply moisturizing cream or lotion right after to lock the water in.

Use a Humidifier: To wake up with moist and smooth skin, use a device to keep indoor air moist. Run it in your bedroom at night to counter the drying effects of indoor heating. Be sure to follow the directions for cleaning the humidifier to avoid a buildup of bacteria.

Wear Soft Layers: Cold weather and wind can irritate your skin and trigger a flare-up of your psoriasis. They can also make psoriasis in your joints more painful. Bundle up in a soft scarf, hat, and gloves when you go outside to protect exposed areas of skin. Dress in layers you can peel off to avoid getting too hot -- sweating can make psoriasis worse. Choose cotton over wool, denim, and other fabrics that are more likely to bother your skin.

Drink Water: To pump up moisture, drink plenty of water. You'll know if you're getting enough because your urine will be a pale yellow. If your urine is bright yellow or dark-colored, you may need more water. 

Ease Stress: The winter holidays are full of cheer, but they also bring stress, which can make psoriasis flare up. Plan time to relax. Try a massage or get a spa treatment to moisturize your skin and beat winter blahs. Don't forget that exercise relieves stress and may help protect you from flare-ups.

Lighten Your Mood: Psoriasis can make you more likely to get depressed. If you also have seasonal affective disorder -- depression linked to less sunlight in winter and fall -- these months are an extra challenge. If you are sad or depressed often, talk to your doctor. Light therapy or a drug for depression may lift your mood. 

Improve Your Treatment Plan: If your psoriasis always gets worse in winter, talk with your doctor. You may only need to adjust your psoriasis drugs a little or get some light therapy.

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