Skip to content

    Psoriasis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Summertime Solutions for Psoriasis

    Suffer from psoriasis? Summer can bring relief -- if you know how to protect against a few hidden hazards.
    By
    WebMD Feature

    One glance at the thermometer and there's no getting around it -- summer is here!

    And while scorching temperatures and high humidity can put a damper on summer fun for some, for psoriasis patients the hot, moist weather may be just what the doctor ordered!

    Recommended Related to Psoriasis

    Stress and Psoriasis

    Stress and psoriasis seem to go together. Stress can make psoriasis worse, and psoriasis can make you stressed. But there are ways to ease stress that may help your psoriasis, too. Learn techniques to relax. Try one of these stress-busters: Deep breathing Meditation Tai chi Yoga They can lower stress and may even help your treatment. One study found that people who listened to meditation tapes while they got light therapy did twice as well as those...

    Read the Stress and Psoriasis article > >

    "In general, people with psoriasis do better in summer for two main reasons -- No. 1, there's greater humidity, which helps keep the skin moist, and No. 2, there's more sunlight exposure," says Bruce Strober, MD, director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center at NYU Medical Center.

    According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis develops when the regular system of cell turnover goes awry.

    Normally, skin cells are shed every 28 to 30 days and immediately replaced by new ones. In psoriasis patients, however, this process is speeded up dramatically, with cell turnover occurring as quickly as every two to three days.

    This, say experts, causes a kind of biological "traffic jam," causing old, dry skin cells to literally pile up on one another, forming the characteristic plaques.

    When the air is humid, Strober tells WebMD, the skin is better able to retain moisture, which is key to easing those dry plaques. Moreover, he says, since UVA is a recommended treatment for psoriasis, the natural UVA rays of summer sun can be therapeutic.

    That said, experts also tell us there are some summer precautions psoriasis patients need to heed. Among them, a reminder not to overdo time in the sun no matter how much you think it can help.

    "You do not need excessive sun exposure to effectively treat psoriasis -- 30 minutes per day of natural sunlight is more than adequate -- and overdoing it could cause significant problems, not only increasing your risk of skin cancer, but sometimes making your psoriasis worse," says Strober.

    That's because even a slight sun burn, says Strober, can damage the skin. And that not only worsens psoriasis plaques but can also cause new ones to develop.

    "Essentially, sunburn can cause normal skin to turn into psoriasis skin because of the direct damage to skin cells," says Ellen Marmur, MD, chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

    Experts say a unique aspect of psoriasis known as the Koebner phenomenon also plays a role. In this instance, any break in the skin or damage to skin cells can exacerbate that rapid cell turnover, causing new plaques to develop at the site of the damage. Experts say excessive sun exposure, which can cause sunburn, can do that kind of damage.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    Today on WebMD

    Woman sitting in front of UV lights
    About 7.5 million people in the U.S. Get the facts.
    stress and psoriasis
    What might spark your psoriasis today?
     
    woman bathing
    Slideshow: Home Remedies For Psoriasis
    woman applying lotion
    It starts in the immune system. Read on.
     
    Top Psoriasis Treatments To Try At Home
    Article
    Woman sitting in front of UV lights
    Slideshow
     
    Beware Miracle Diets For Psoriasis
    Article
    Psoriasis Laser Therapy
    Video
     
    10 Questions About Psoriasis To Ask Your Doctor
    Article
    psoriasis on elbow
    Article
     
    Psoriasis (Moderate to Severe)
    Article
    Psoriatic Arthritis Do You Know The Symptoms
    Article