Summertime Solutions for Psoriasis
Suffer from psoriasis? Summer can bring relief -- if you know how to protect against a few hidden hazards.
Bug Bites, Chlorine, and Other Summer Hazards
While the moist, humid air of summer is great for skin, it's also a happy atmosphere for an array of insects -- particularly skin nibbling mosquitoes and gnats. And that can be a problem for some psoriasis patients.
"Problems don't necessarily occur from the bite itself, but when you pick at it and scratch your skin you might start a plaque of psoriasis," Fox tells WebMD.
To help avoid problems, she suggests using an insect repellent -- as long as the percentage of the active ingredient DEET is moderately low.
"And use it only on the areas of skin that will be exposed -- and when you can, cover as much of your skin with clothing as possible, which is still the best protection," says Fox.
Marmur agrees and also suggests taking steps to control insects in your environment.
"Citronella candles or electronic bug zappers can be very helpful in keeping your direct environment clear of insects; if you still need an insect repellent always choose one for sensitive skin," says Marmur.
When it comes to fun in the sun, perhaps nothing is better than an invigorating healthy swim. Do it in ocean water and the salt content may provide some additional benefits, gently exfoliating those dead cells and helping psoriasis plaques to look and feel better.
But whether you swim in the ocean or a pool, experts say never head for the water without a moisturizer in tow.
"The single best thing you can do for psoriasis is to keep your skin moist -- winter or summer -- so if you are going to spend time in water, you must remember to add a layer of moisturizer as soon as you come out to ensure that your skin stays protected," says Marmur.
Fox says you can do double duty for your skin by finding a moisturizer with a built-in sunscreen.
"Apply it as soon as you come out of the water and you'll doubly protect your skin," says Fox.
If you've been swimming in chlorinated water, however, you might also want to consider rinsing your skin before applying the moisturizer. How can this help?