Skin disorder

Winter and psoriasis

Psoriasis occurs when the skin produces new cells too quickly, resulting in raised, reddened patches of the skin covered by silvery scales, most often found on the elbows, knees and scalp. This inflammatory disease tends to run in families, and triggers include stress, smoking, alcohol and illness. Psoriasis may improve with exposure to sunlight and vitamin D daily intake; stress management and a healthy diet may help to control this condition.

Why does psoriasis get worse in the winter?
A combination of dry air, decreased sunlight exposure, and colder temperatures can all contribute to winter psoriasis flares. Frequent moisturizing and use of a home humidifier can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Experts believe that ultraviolet light hinders the rapid growth of skin cells that is characteristic of psoriasis. So you may find that your psoriasis is more likely to flare and your plaques worsen when you spend less time in the sun. Discuss with your doctor possible treatments to control your psoriasis in the winter.

Vital facts about vitamin D and psoriasis
According to research, some people with psoriasis find that their symptoms improve when they increase their daily intake of vitamin D.

It’s other functions,
Helps to build healthy teeth, bones and improve skin health.
Controls calcium absorption
Prevents rickets

Food sources of vitamin D;
Cod liver oil, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, salmon, tuna, and cheddar cheese.
Recommended daily allowance for adults: 10 mcg

Important vitamins to consider for psoriasis:
Vitamin A- reduces scaling
Vitamin B6- essential for healthy skin and cell growth
Biotin- helps to make fatty acids, vital for healthy skin
Vitamin C-boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation
Vitamin E- improves healing
Vitamin D- Also known as “sunshine vitamin” is crucial for skin health
Important minerals to consider for psoriasis:
Selenium- may reduce the severity of the disease
Zinc- helps clear rashes

Other nutrients helps with the management of the disease;
Omega-3-fish oils boost the immune system
Omega-6-oils are anti-inflammatory

Foods to choose:
Salmon, mackerel and sardines
Flaxseed oil
Nuts and seeds
Whole grains
Green, leafy vegetables
Fresh fruit
Lean chicken

Foods to avoid:
Animal fats and fried foods block the formation of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
Foods that may cause allergies, such as wheat, dairy products, peanuts and shellfish.

Tips for winter psoriasis:
1. Smooth on moisture. Keep your skin moist to ease redness and itching, and heal psoriasis patches. The thicker the cream or ointment, the better it is at locking water into your skin. Use moisturizing soap and a creamy lotion after you shower, bathe, and wash your hands. Choose fragrance-free products to avoid allergic reactions.

2. Long showers in hot water remove moisture from your skin. Shower in warm water just long enough to soap up and rinse off. You can relax in the tub, though. Sprinkle oil, finely ground oatmeal, Epsom salts, or Dead Sea salts in a warm bath. Soak for about 15 minutes to slough off scales, soothe itching, and unwind. Apply moisturizing cream or lotion right after to lock the water in.

3. Cold weather and wind can irritate your skin and trigger flare-ups. They can also make psoriasis in your joints more painful. Bundle up in a soft scarf, hat, and gloves when you go outside to protect exposed areas of skin. Dress in layers you can peel off to avoid getting too hot -- sweating can make psoriasis worse. Choose cotton over wool, denim, and other fabrics that are more likely to bother your skin.

4. Make you drink enough water throughout the day

5. Ease stress. Try a massage or spa treatment to moisturize your skin and beat the winter blahs. Also, exercise relieves stress and may reduce flare-ups.


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