Many people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) notice that their symptoms get better or worse based on the weather. But it affects everyone differently.

If this happens with you, tell your doctor. The more they know about your PsA, the better they can help you.

Changes in Air Pressure

When a cold or warm front is headed your way, the barometric pressure (pressure caused by the weight of the air) changes. This can make tissues throughout your body bigger or smaller, and that can put painful pressure on your muscles and nerves. Even a small change in air pressure can trigger an arthritis flare-up.

But it doesn’t last. Once new weather arrives, your pain should ease up.


It’s not an old wives’ tale that people with arthritis “feel the cold coming on.” Cold weather may make it feel as if the fluid in your joints is thicker. This makes them stiffer than normal and more painful to move. One study found that for every 10 degrees the temperature drops outside, the more joint pain and stiffness you’re likely to feel.

Most of your body heat is lost through your head, hands, and feet, so keep those body parts covered up when you’re outside. Wear a scarf, gloves, hat, and thick socks under your boots or shoes.

While you might not want to work out when it’s chilly, it’s best to keep active. (Indoor workouts may be just the ticket.) Exercise keeps your joints stretchy so they’re less likely to hurt.


Some people think their psoriasis gets better when they’re out in the sun. This may well be the case, because ultraviolet (UV) light has been shown to tamp down your immune system and the effects it has on your skin.

Start with short amounts of time in the sunshine to see if that helps, and always wear sunscreen on areas that aren’t affected. Use one that’s 30 SPF or higher. And be careful not to stay out in the sun too long. Even a slight sunburn could have the opposite effect and make your psoriasis worse. Too much UV light can also lead to other health problems like skin cancer.

Dry Air

This makes your skin dry, which can bring on a psoriasis flare. Dry air often goes hand in hand with lower temps and less sunlight, but air conditioning can parch your skin, too.

A humidifier in your home or office can help, and it’s a good idea to limit showers to no more than 10 minutes with warm, not hot, water. Use a gentle cleanser rather than soap. Once you get out, pat your skin dry and use a thick cream to lock in moisture.


Rainy or muggy weather can make your skin symptoms worse, though many people just notice that it makes their joints stiff and achy. Some people with PsA feel humid weather affects them as much as very dry air, but more research is need to back that up. Humid, cold weather may be the worst combo for your joints.

Stay up on the forecast so you can be prepared. Try not to let any soreness keep you from your normal workout -- cutting back on exercise will only make your pain worse. Yoga or even easy stretches at home are good ways to stay limber.

WebMD Medical Reference


WebMD Voices

Chad V., 42
I've been on several different medications, all with their pros and cons, but thanks to trial and error, my skin is now clear and I can move. It’s worth pushing through until you find the treatment you need.
Rich W., 57
South Brunswick, NJ
When trying something new, tell your doctor about anything that comes up. Do blood tests on a regular basis. And give treatments time to work -- it can sometimes take months to see a change.
Amie R., 33
Maricopa, AZ
I’ve been able to connect with so many people going through what I’m going through because of social media. It’s so helpful to talk to others who understand not only the physical toll, but the emotional toll this condition can take.
Jaime Lyn M., 42
Living with psoriatic arthritis is like playing Pac-Man. You gobble up dots (do your daily activities) before the ghosts (psoriatic arthritis symptoms) get you. Cherries are like medicine -- they turn the ghosts invisible for a little while.
Cynthia C., 50
Moreno Valley, CA
I thought that exercising would increase the pain in my hips, but movement has actually decreased the inflammation and has increased my mobility. Now I take two walks daily.
Michele S., 68
Cornville, AZ
While others may not be able to understand fully the pain and challenges you face, it doesn’t mean they can’t care. Talk openly and share your struggles and strengths with those who ask.
Cynthia C., 50
Moreno Valley, CA
Don't let pain keep you from moving your body. Start slow by doing what you can, even just 5-minute walks. Then make it a daily habit and increase as your body allows.
Josh B., 39
Tampa, FL
My chronic pain got so bad that I couldn't hold a pencil. My wife and I decided as a team that the potential benefit to my quality of life was worth the risk of trying a biologic. Two weeks later, I was able to resume my normal work routine.
Jaime Lyn M., 42
Psoriatic arthritis is the hidden component of the psoriasis that people can't see. I try and educate everyone I can on the chronic pain so they understand what I deal with, often daily.

From WebMD

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