PsoriasisNet Article
How to Make Psoriasis Control More Effective this Summer 

While more sun exposure and higher humidity levels often help alleviate psoriasis, summertime also brings some unique challenges. These self-care tips can make it easier to manage psoriasis during the summer months.

  1. Avoid getting sunburned. While sun exposure helps many people with psoriasis, getting sunburned can cause psoriasis to flare. Even a mild sunburn can worsen existing psoriasis and cause new psoriasis plaques to form. A severe sunburn can cause psoriasis to form on all skin that gets burned.

    To protect the skin and still get the benefits of sun exposure, dermatologists recommend:

    • Wear sunscreen. Generously apply a sunscreen with these qualities:

      • Water-resistant

      • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30

      • Broad-spectrum — offers protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays

    • Avoid sunscreens that are heavily fragranced. These can irritate the skin of people living with psoriasis.

    Be sure to re-apply sunscreen approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

    Another good reason to liberally apply sunscreen before going outdoors is that some medications used to treat psoriasis can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. When treating with one of these medications, even minimal unprotected sun exposure can increase the risk of a psoriasis flare-up.

  2. Use moisturizer if spending hours in air conditioning. Air conditioning can strip skin of its natural moisture, which can cause psoriasis to flare. Applying moisturizer liberally after bathing can help.

  3. Go for a swim. Swimming is excellent exercise and good for psoriasis. If a dip in saltwater is possible, so much the better. Saltwater can help remove dead skin, which often makes the skin feel better and look healthier.

    After swimming, dermatologists recommend:

    • Shower or take a bath. Letting water dry on the skin can cause dryness and irritation. Chlorine and other chemicals used to maintain swimming pools can be especially irritating.

    • Apply sunscreen. This helps protect the skin from sunburn, which can trigger psoriasis.

  4. Try to avoid nicks, cuts, and bug bites. People with psoriasis often notice new psoriasis lesions 10 to 14 days after the skin is injured. This relationship between skin injury and developing new psoriatic lesions has been observed in many patients. It is called the called the “Koebner phenomenon.” Scratching and even vigorous rubbing can lead to psoriasis on previously unaffected skin.

    To protect the skin from insect bites, dermatologists recommend:

    • Use caution when applying insect repellent to the skin. If an insect repellent is needed, choose one that contains a low percentage of DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents.

    • Try other means to avoid insect bites. Use citronella candles or stay indoors when insects are most active such as at dusk.

  5. Keep cool. Perspiring can irritate the skin, especially when psoriasis develops on the face or scalp. If perspiration is irritating the skin, find ways to stay cool. Seek out air-conditioned places. When that is not possible, gently wipe the perspiration from the skin with a clean washcloth that has been moistened with cool water or gently remove perspiration with a clean, unscented wipe.

  6. Relax and enjoy the season. Research confirms that stress can worsen psoriasis and increase itching. When it comes to managing psoriasis during the summer, probably one of the most important tips is to find ways to relax and enjoy the season. Stress relief often brings psoriasis relief.

More Information
Tips from dermatologists to help manage psoriasis year round:

Minimizing Flare-ups

Psoriasis Triggers

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology






     © American Academy of Dermatology, 2011 All rights reserved.

Page last updated 11/6/09

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