Education and Development Lead, BDNG
Education Nurse, BDNG
Psoriasis is a visible autoimmune disease presenting as itchy, dry, scaly patches on your skin. It has detrimental effects due to the psychological, psychosocial and confidence issues that can arise when living with a chronic skin disease.
As winter approaches, cold weather is a common trigger for increased skin dryness. With psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions, increased dryness can lead to inflammation, excoriation and — if left untreated — infections of the skin.
Managing psoriasis during the winter
In summer, the ultraviolet rays can help suppress the overproduction of skin cells that cause visible plaques. Due to reduced sunlight in the winter, this effect will be limited. To combat winter effects — moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.
This makes the skin more comfortable by decreasing dryness, scaling, itching and pain. There are multiple emollients to choose from. The best one to use is the one that suits you.
Choosing the right moisturiser
The terms ‘emollient’ and ‘moisturiser’ are often used interchangeably. Emollients are available in different formulations, and some can be used as soap substitutes as they are fragrance-free and kinder to the skin.
Lotions are water-based and easy to apply but can be runny. They are best for maintenance therapy. They are not as effective for moisturising dry skin but are effective in cooling the skin.
To combat winter effects —
moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.
Creams are thicker and greasier than lotions. They’re a good daily option as they are also easy to apply.
Ointments are thick and greasy because they are oil-based. If your skin is very dry, they are the most effective option, but they don’t suit everyone. Top tip: Storing them in the fridge will create a cooling sensation once applied.
In winter, you may consider switching to a thicker ointment or emollient as they retain moisture longer. Combining emollients such as a lotion, cream or gel during the day and ointment at night is worth considering.
More tips for winter
Shower in warm water as hot water can cause dry skin. Use emollient soap substitutes as they are less irritant and will moisturise the skin further.
A good tip is to carry a small pot of emollient to reapply at any time. Increase water intake to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Wear comfortable clothes that don’t cause skin irritation. Stress triggers flares and with the festive season around the corner, stressors may be heightened. Adopt a technique that suits you such as mindfulness, meditation or even gentle exercise to take your mind off of life’s stressors.