Psoriasis Psurvival Guide: Spring and Summer Edition
Spring is here and it’s also the gateway to summer! Time to shed those clothing layers and bathe in fresh air and warm sunlight. For people with psoriasis, this time of the year can be a double-edged sword. While sunlight helps to promote healthy skin and UV rays help to slow skin cell growth; indoor air conditioning producing dry air and chlorine from pool water can worsen your skin condition. To maximize the benefits of this warm weather while enjoying yourself in your own skin, here are some tips to taking advantage of this time of year.
Attack Spring Cleaning
To some people, spring cleaning may be a horrendous chore, to others, this is a symbol of new beginnings and a fresh start. Getting rid of junk and performing a full home sweep can help clear away irritants and allergens that have been lurking in your home. Be careful to not stir up piles of dust that may contain skin irritants. Vacuum corners and dust surfaces that have not been touched in a while. Be sure to wear a mask and protective clothing to reduce chances of flare-ups and allergy attacks. Organize the medicine drawer, clear away products that have expired, and replace with fresh products to give your skin and psoriasis their best. Not only will spring cleaning leave you with a refreshed home, you will have a refreshed, uplifted mentality.
Be Mindful of Weather Change
The humidity in warmer weather can soothe skin for some psoriasis sufferers, but can also cause issues that lead to flare-ups for others. Some people may be more sensitive than others to this seasonal change. Take precaution by monitoring your diet, wearing comfortable clothing, and applying moisturizer liberally to take extra care of your itchy inflamed skin and joints.
Sunbathe in Moderation and Wear Sunblock
The warm air can be friendly for psoriatic skin and joints. UV rays from the sun can help psoriasis sufferers with reducing scales and patches by slowing skin cell growth. Sunlight is also known to help your body produce vitamin D which is essential to skin health. Overexposure can cause damage as well and worsen symptoms. If you are also using products that contain salicylic acid, be sure to also wear sunblock. Choose sunblocks free of parabens, added scents and dyes, and other known irritants for psoriasis skin. Choose an SPF of 50 or above and labelled broad spectrum. Reapply as often as needed.
Spring and Summer are popular times we plan to have our vacations and make trips out to different areas. Though spring and summer are characterized by warm sun, weather and conditions are not consistent throughout regions. The sun can get intense in certain regions and air quality varies across the world. Be sure to travel with moisturizer and gentle cleansers on hand to address flare-ups on the go. Airplanes tend to have drier air so also carry a travel-size moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. If you are traveling far, jet lag can cause further stress on the body. Be sure to get enough sleep and don’t let travel plans get in the way of your treatment plan.
Exercise Outdoors With Proper Gear
Exercise is always a great way to reduce stress and get healthy. Natural sunlight can help with psoriasis symptoms. However, winds carrying dirt, pollen, and natural irritants can get in the way of your skin healing and cause irritation if you aren’t careful. When exercising outdoors, choose clothing that is loose to prevent chafing and friction against the skin. Wear moisture absorbing deodorants or powders to wick away sweat in areas such as the breast, abdominal folds, or armpits. If you are just starting to exercise again, start with a low impact and low intensity workout to avoid stressing out your joints. When you are done working out, shower with a gentle cleanser and apply moisturizer right after to lock moisture in.
Enjoy Water Activities
A fun and relaxing way to enjoy the great weather is dipping in the pool or ocean for a cool, refreshing swim. To keep skin from getting irritated by contaminants in the water, apply a thin layer of moisturizer or a heavier moisturizer if symptoms are severe. Seasalt water can be helpful for psoriasis sufferers, but make sure the salt doesn’t dry on the skin for too long since it can cause irritation. If you are swimming in a chlorine pool or salt water, make sure to rinse off with clean water to keep your skin from reacting and reapply moisturizer and sunblock to keep your skin happy.
As the lands fill with lush greenery and renewal of life, bugs and insects flourish as well. Not only can bug bites cause itchy, painful rashes, they can also trigger your immune system to cause allergies and flare ups all across the body. Protect yourself by using a DEET-free natural repellent containing eucalyptus or lemon essential oils. If you do have to use a chemical repellent, try to use one containing less than 20% DEET. Spray bug repellent directly onto clothing to avoid skin irritation by harsh chemicals. If you do get bitten by bugs, avoid scratching! I know, it’s hard. But it can cause your immune system to send signals to your skin and cause unwanted flare-ups. Instead, try to compress with an icepack or hot towel and take antihistamines to control the bite infection.
Cut Down on Alcohol
Though there is no direct correlation with how much alcohol you drink and the severity of psoriasis symptoms, we do know that there is a link between drinking alcohol and health regardless if you have psoriasis or not. Not only does it affect your health, it can affect the outcome of your treatment, including increasing side effects of medications you are taking. We recommend not drinking alcohol at all and enjoy some psoriasis friendly smoothies that contain, berries, avocados, spinach, ginger, honey, or turmeric. If you do choose to drink alcoholic drinks, try to avoid sugary drinks, drinks mixed with energy drinks, and be sure to drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to stay hydrated. For best skin results, say no to alcohol.
It’s Time to Enjoy Spring and Summer!
As you may know by now, stress is a common trigger for psoriasis. Nicer weather makes for more relaxing activities, so plan out how you will relax. To sum up this guide, SPF, moisturize, limit allergens, proper hygiene, and relaxing helps to keep the flare ups away. Remember to pace yourself and let go by unplugging from the rush of day to day life. Living in the moment is a challenge for a lot of us, but with spring here and summer around the corner, look for birds chirping, flowers blooming, and take in the moments around you. Open your windows, go for a drive, take a long walk, or maybe just buy yourself a new outfit. There are so many ways to enjoy this time of year. We’d love to hear from you and what your tips and tricks are. Feel free to share this guide with a loved one or a fellow psoriasis warrior to help make aware that psoriasis won’t hold you back in enjoying life.