Cold, dry weather may trigger psoriasis flare-ups in some people. Moisturizing regularly, taking lukewarm showers, and speaking with a doctor about treatment can help to manage psoriasis that worsens in winter.

Colder weather may trigger psoriasis flares due to lower sunlight and humidity levels, illness, and increased stress.

A 2021 study involving 2,270 people with psoriasis indicated that 53.2% experienced worse symptoms in the fall and winter.

However, there are several steps people can take to manage psoriasis symptoms and reduce flare-up severity if their condition typically worsens during colder weather.

This article discusses tips for managing psoriasis in the cold and when to contact a doctor.

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Stress is a major trigger for psoriasis flares. Some people may feel more stressed around the holidays, which could worsen psoriasis symptoms.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, techniques to manage stress during the holidays include:

Learn more about stress and psoriasis.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that people with psoriasis use a moisturizer after they bathe, shower, or wash their hands.

Regular moisturizing can help seal skin moisture during drier conditions, such as in winter. Moisturizing may also help to reduce psoriasis symptoms, including lesions and itching.

Learn more about lotions, ointments, and creams for psoriasis.

People may have less exposure to natural sunlight during the winter months, which may lessen UVB exposure. UVB occurs in sunlight and may help slow down skin cell growth to treat psoriasis.

Phototherapy targets psoriasis with artificial UVB light. People may have regular treatments, either at a doctor’s office or using a phototherapy unit at home.

Learn about light therapy for psoriasis.

Bathing may irritate and dry out psoriasis further, so the AAD recommends that people with psoriasis take short, lukewarm showers or baths and limit them to once a day.

Using a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser and avoiding harsh scrubs or washcloths can help. After bathing, gently dab the skin dry and apply moisturizer onto slightly damp skin.

Learn more about the best soaps for psoriasis.

As well as cooler temperatures, winter months may bring lower humidity levels, which might trigger psoriasis for some people. Using a humidifier may help to manage psoriasis flares.

If the air inside a room feels dry, people can plug in a humidifier to add more moisture to the air.

Learn about the differences between a humidifier and a vaporizer.

It is important to stay warm and wear protective clothing in the cold. People can protect exposed skin with warm jackets, gloves, and waterproof boots.

People may have central heating or other heat sources to keep their homes warm when the weather is cold. However, sitting further away from these heat sources can help people with psoriasis protect their skin from heat damage and further dryness.

Learn some tips about managing psoriatic arthritis in cold weather.

An illness or infection may trigger psoriasis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get available seasonal vaccinations to reduce their risk of illness.

Some illnesses and infections that may trigger psoriasis include the following:

Learn about the safety and efficacy of the seasonal flu jab.

According to a 2021 study, the following lifestyle factors and health conditions are risk factors for severe psoriasis:

The study authors suggest that smoking correlates positively with psoriasis in fall or winter. They recommend making some lifestyle changes to help people manage psoriasis flares in the winter months. This may include:

Learn more about good health.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that people continue their current treatment plan, such as taking regular medication throughout winter flares.

Some psoriasis medications take time to start working. Therefore, a doctor might suggest that people do not change their medication regimen before the colder months to ensure they have good control over their condition.

Learn more about oral medications for psoriasis.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, some people may experience a flare of psoriatic arthritis during the winter months.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends green, white, and black tea for people with arthritis. Tea contains polyphenols, which are plant compounds with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

They also highlight that water can help to lubricate the joints and reduce inflammation by flushing out toxins in the body.

Learn about some other home remedies for treating psoriasis.

the National Psoriasis Foundation advises that people experiencing psoriasis flares with colder weather contact a healthcare professional.

A doctor may suggest new medications, treatments, or lifestyle changes that can help a person manage symptoms through the winter months better.

Some people may experience psoriasis flares in colder weather, while others may not experience any change in symptoms.

If cold weather triggers flares in people with psoriasis, they can take certain steps to manage symptoms. Steps include moisturizing regularly, using a humidifier, and managing triggers.

People can also talk with a doctor about additional medications or treatment strategies to prevent and manage psoriasis flares in winter.