As many as 7.5 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide have psoriasis. This chronic skin condition causes a buildup of old, dead cells on the outer layer of your skin that can be not only unsightly but incredibly uncomfortable.
Psoriasis can affect any part of your body but is most common in areas like your elbows, knees, scalp, and torso. When it develops, it can look like a small scaly rash or a large, inflamed patch of silvery skin called plaques. In some cases, you can also experience red spots and pustules that can crust or ooze.
Summer can be a difficult time for people with psoriasis. Environmental factors like air conditioning can make symptoms worse, and many people feel self-conscious about exposing their skin when they’re suffering from flare-ups.
Dr. Megan Brelsford at Verum Curtis Dermatology is an experienced dermatologist who helps people manage their psoriasis symptoms year-round. Because August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, she’s offering some smart tips to help you keep your skin looking and feeling great when the mercury is at its highest.
Humidity can be a good thing
Humidity may cause your hair to frizz out of control, but it can do wonders for your skin. As moisture in the air increases, it can reduce skin inflammation and itchiness while also making psoriasis patches less prone to cracking.
Don’t be afraid of the sun
While there can be too much of a good thing, controlled amounts of sun exposure can soothe your psoriasis symptoms. Before heading out, talk to Dr. Brelsford about how much time you can spend in the sun and the best sunscreens to guard your skin against damage.
Protect your skin from burns and bites
Keep in mind that a little bit of sun can relieve your psoriasis symptoms, but too much can stimulate your immune system and lead to flare-ups. When you’re spending long periods outside, avoid sunburn and bug bites by protecting your scalp with a hat and your skin with loose, breezy clothing. When you reach for the bug spray, choose a chemical-free repellent and apply it to your clothes instead of directly on your skin.
Remember not to skimp on the moisturizer
Don’t rely on humidity alone to moisturize your skin. Make up for the overly drying effects of air conditioning by using more moisturizer. Before hitting the drugstore, talk to Dr. Brelsford for recommendations on moisturizers that are gentle on your skin. To maximize its moisturizing power, apply within three minutes of showering.
Watch what you eat and drink
External factors aren’t the only psoriasis triggers: The foods and beverages you consume can increase your flare-ups as well. Even when you’re on summer vacation, watch the amount of alcohol you consume, and stick to a healthy diet low in dairy, processed flour, gluten, caffeine, and sugar.
Revisit your medications
No matter the season, it’s important to stick to your medication regimen, including any topical or oral therapies designed to slow skin-cell formation, boost your immune system, or control your psoriasis symptoms, like itching. Some psoriasis medications can increase your skin’s sensitivity, so talk to Dr. Brelsford to make sure your medication regimen is summer-ready.
For additional help managing your psoriasis, call Verum Curtis Dermatology or request an appointment online today using the convenient tool on this page.