Summer Tips for Psoriasis

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on April 14, 2021

Warm weather often spells relief from psoriasis. Sunlight helps reduce skin patches, and higher humidity relieves dry skin.

Yet spring and summer can also make you anxious about showing more bare skin when you have psoriasis. Use these tips to make the most of balmy days.

Get Some Sun

Sunlight is the top reason psoriasis symptoms improve during summer. Sun smartly to reap the benefits:

  • Sunbathe for about 5 minutes a day. Gradually increase the time up to 15 minutes. Put sunscreen on all parts of your body except on your psoriasis patches.
  • Getting burned can trigger flares, so never sunbathe for more than 15 minutes.
  • If you're going to be in the sun for longer than 15 minutes, put broad spectrum sunscreen on your psoriasis patches. Choose brands made for sensitive skin. They're less likely to irritate your condition.

Go for a Swim

Swimming, especially in salt water, sloughs off dead skin and improves the appearance of psoriasis.

Still, both salt water and chlorinated water can leave skin dry and flaky. After swimming, rinse off well and put on a gentle moisturizer.

Chill Out

Heat and sweat can make your psoriasis worse, especially on your face and scalp.

Air conditioning can spare you from sweating, but it also tends to dry out your skin. If you spend a lot of time in air conditioning, moisturize with a heavy cream or ointment once or twice a day.

Wear Loose, Breathable Clothing

If you want to hide a flare-up or you recently had a treatment called phototherapy, cover up. (Phototherapy may make your psoriasis look worse for a short time. Your skin might become red and itchy.)

Wear loose-fitting, sun-protective cotton clothing. White’s a great color if you have scalp psoriasis because it hides flakes.

Prevent Insect Bites

Bites from mosquitos and other insects can aggravate psoriasis -- so can insect repellents that have DEET.

To protect yourself, wear long-sleeve shirts with long pants, and stay indoors at dusk, when insects are most active.

Citronella candles can help keep mosquitoes away. If you need a repellent, try a newer brand that has little or no DEET. Ask your dermatologist for a recommendation.

Take a Vacation From Stress

Anxiety worsens symptoms. Take advantage of things that can relieve stress. Go on a vacation and leave work and its pressures behind. At home, do things that help you relax -- maybe go for a hike or work in the garden. Both you and your psoriasis will have a good summer.

Show Sources


Lakshi M. Aldredge, MSN, Portland Veterans Affairs Hospital, Ore.

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Spring, summer, fall, winter,” “Over-the-counter treatments.”

Psoriasis Connections: “Weather and psoriasis.”

American Academy of Dermatology, PsoriasisNet.

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