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02 December 2016

Managing Psoriasis in the Winter

Some tips to help stave off a psoriasis flare this winter.

Winter can be a difficult time if you’re living with psoriasis. It's a challenge to keep warm enough to protect your skin from the effects of the colder weather, while also ensuring the central heating doesn’t dry it out, and that the extra layers of clothing don’t irritate. With this in mind, here are a few tips that might be helpful in staving off a psoriasis flare this winter:

  • Choose appropriate clothing and try to avoid fabrics that irritate your psoriasis. If you're going out in cold weather and are planning on wearing several layers, it might be useful to have a cotton layer next to your skin.
  • Keep your skin well moisturised – even more so than at other times of the year, as both the cold weather and central heating can cause it to dry out more than usual. If you're going out and about, it could be handy to keep a small pot of moisturiser with you so that you can top up wherever you are and whenever you need to.
  • Try to treat any psoriasis patches that appear quickly to reduce the severity of a flare up. Keep any topical treatments that you use handy and make an appointment with your GP when you notice new patches starting to appear. If moisturising or topical treatments don’t work, make a follow-up appointment with your GP.
  • If you are on an immunosuppressive treatment for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, you should ask your GP about an NHS flu jab. More details are provided in the following information sheet from the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD). The resource covers various immunisations (vaccinations) that may affect you when you are taking medicines that act by suppressing the immune system. Information about the flu jab specifically can be found on pages 3 and 4 of the document.
  • While it may be tempting to use sunbeds for your psoriasis during winter, there are some important things to remember. It’s important to be aware that sunbeds are NOT the same as UV light therapy given in a hospital. Hospital-based UV treatment uses only the specific part of the spectrum that is useful to treat skin conditions, whereas many sunbeds use mostly, or entirely, UVA light which is ineffective for treating psoriasis on its own. Using sunbeds means taking on the significant risks that come with UV exposure, without much of the benefit to psoriasis.

If you would like any further information, advice or support regarding psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis this winter, please contact our helpline, either by phone on 01604 251 620, or by email at

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