How to Control Psoriasis This Winter

Psoriasis sufferers have many things in common—and it's a safe bet to say that one of them is a dislike of the winter months. Painful, itchy plaques and scales that go into remission during summer rebound during the winter for many psoriasis sufferers.

Researchers aren't exactly sure why psoriasis symptoms come back so frequently during this time of year, but there are some logical assumptions. Less exposure to the sun is one potential culprit—the ultraviolet light in sunshine can be an effective means of managing psoriasis, so a lack of sunlight during the shorter days of winter might trigger a flare-up.

Winter's cold temperatures and dry air—both indoors and outside—can also contribute to worsening psoriasis symptoms. Chapped or cracked skin can actually worsen inflammation and trigger flares; and a reduced amount of moisture in the air makes it more difficult for your skin to keep up its best defenses.

To address these issues:

  • Limit the time you take to wash up; don't use water that is very hot.
  • Apply a good-quality skin moisturizer throughout the day, especially right after you bathe.
  • Use a humidifier at home.

Some people with psoriasis also find relief through regular sessions of light therapy (also known phototherapy). Your dermatologist can recommend other strategies to prevent winter flare-ups and alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis.

Source: NPF: Frequently Asked Questions: Psoriasis in spring, summer, fall and winter

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 16 Dec 2010

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015