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What to Expect

The red, scaly patches that come with psoriasis can hurt and itch. The good news is that many people find these spots get better as the weather warms up in the summer. There’s also a lot you can do to help avoid a summertime flare-up.

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Enjoy the Sunshine

One reason psoriasis often gets better in the summer is likely thanks to the sun. For most people with this condition, ultraviolet light seems to help. That’s why doctors sometimes prescribe light therapy. You should still wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

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Get (a Little) Sun Exposure

Sunbathing may help, but don’t overdo it. Start with just a few minutes in the sun and work your way up, depending on your dermatologist’s advice. Use sunscreen on areas of your skin without psoriasis to protect you from skin damage and burning.

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Don’t Burn!

While sunshine helps many people with psoriasis, sunburn can make matters worse. If your skin tends to burn more easily, you’ll need to take extra precautions. Keep in mind that certain medications can make you more sensitive to the sun.

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Swim or Soak

Unless you have open sores, it’s OK to go swimming. It’s great exercise and a way to ease stress. You also can enjoy a relaxing soak in a hot tub. Some people find time in the water helps to soften and clear hard or crusty skin patches.

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Shower, Then Moisturize

After a dip in the pool or hot tub, it’s a good idea to take a shower to rinse off chlorine or other chemicals that may irritate and dry your skin. Consider washing with chlorine-removing soap and shampoo. After drying off, use lotion to help moisturize your skin.

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Take Care When Shaving

Warm weather often means shorts and bathing suits. For many women especially, that also means more time shaving. Be aware that when you have psoriasis, it’s important to take extra time and care to avoid nicks and cuts that may cause your condition to flare. Use moisturizers and shaving gels to lower the chance you’ll cut yourself.

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Turn Down the A/C

If you spend a lot of time in air conditioning, it may dry out your skin and make the psoriasis worse. Consider turning the temperature on your thermostat up. Spend more time outdoors, and don’t forget to moisturize.

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Tune In to Your Climate

In many places, summertime means hot and humid weather. The extra humidity can keep your skin from drying out. But if you live in a place that’s hot and dry in the summer, use a good moisturizer just like you would in the winter. Plug in a humidifier to add extra moisture to the air.  

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Keep Bugs at Bay

Warm weather means mosquitos and other bugs, and that means bug bites. Itchy bites aren’t fun for anyone, but they’re even worse when you have psoriasis. You might get a red, itchy patch right in the same spot as a bite a couple of weeks later. To keep this from happening, use insect repellent sprays, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay indoors at times of day when the biting bugs are most active.

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Steer Clear of Poison Plants

Poison ivy and poison oak are a downside of warm weather in many places. The itchy rash caused by oils from these plants can trigger your psoriasis to flare. To avoid this, make sure you know what these plants look like so that you can make sure not to touch them. If you do come into contact, wash your skin right away.

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Dress to Stay Cool

Another reason psoriasis gets better in warmer weather is because people tend to wear fewer layers of clothing. As a result, their skin gets more exposure to the sun and fresh air. So it’s a good idea to get those shorts and T-shirts out of winter storage early. Start to enjoy the nice weather as soon as those temperatures start to rise.

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Take a Vacation

Summer is a great time to visit the beach, the mountains, or another favorite spot. Many people find their psoriasis gets worse with stress, so it’s a good idea to take this time to kick back and unwind. Or stay local and enjoy some fun without the stress of travel. You may find that your break helps your mood as well as your psoriasis.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 11/18/2019 Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on November 18, 2019

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SOURCES:

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Psoriasis in spring, summer, fall and winter,” “Phototherapy.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “What are common triggers for psoriasis?”

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: “Psoriasis and the sun.”

FDA: “The sun and your medicine.”

Mayo Clinic: “Poison ivy rash.”

American Psychological Association: “Four reasons to take a vacation.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on November 18, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.