Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Psoriasis Health Center

Font Size

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 continued...

"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?

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, all water pulls moisture from the skin -- and water that has been heavily chlorinated or doused with other sanitizing chemicals can pull even more moisture from your cells. If left to dry on the skin's surface, say experts, drying and irritation can develop.

"A quick shower can help rinse the chemicals from your skin, but don't forget to moisturize afterwards and, if you're going back out, put on the sunscreen," says Fox.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

While most folks with psoriasis actually see a sharp improvement in warmer temperatures, this is not always the case. For those who suffer with a specific type of psoriasis known as seborrhea - affecting the scalp and face -- summer can actually exacerbate problems.

The reason, says Fox, has to do with sweat, which can irritate the skin and sometimes increase symptoms.

"In people who have facial psoriasis -- in the creases of the nose, in the eyebrows, or on the scalp -- the heat can provoke problems, so it's important to remain cool and to get into air conditioning if your body starts to overheat," says Fox.

Marmur agrees and adds that if you do start to perspire heavily, gently wipe the sweat from your skin using a washcloth rinsed in cool water, or a fragrance-free baby wipe used on newborns.

Most of all, our experts say using common sense in summer by being certain to protect your skin against overexposure to the sun and guarding against extreme dryness and irritation, you can enjoy the warmer weather and the health benefits of the season, without fear or worry.

"My best advice is to get outside and enjoy the summer -- don't let your psoriasis stop you!" Fox exclaims.

Reviewed on May 01, 2007

Today on WebMD

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