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
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
"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.