Psoriasis – known for it’s red, scaly patches on the skin – is one of the most common autoimmune diseases and although African Americans are less likely to get it, when we do get it, it’s often more severe and causes more psychological effects. There’s no cure for psoriasis, but thankfully, most people see improvements during the spring and summer. The increased humidity and time in the sun is a natural prescription for the skin, but the warmer months can also introduce some special challenges for managing your psoriasis. Enjoy your summer and avoid triggering a flare-up by following the tips below.
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1. Always use sunscreen.
Getting even mild sunburn can increase your risk of a psoriasis flare-up and new plaques forming. Dermatologists recommend using a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Use fragrant-free sunscreens, as fragrances can irritate your skin.
2. Go swimming.
Swimming can be good for your skin; it’s all about WHERE you swim. If you’re vacationing near the sea, the salt water can help remove dead skin. The chlorine in regular pool water and make your skin drier and cause a flare-up, but if you do take a dip in the pool, be sure to shower afterwards and pat yourself dry with a towel (instead of rubbing).
3. Monitor your time in the sun.
In most cases, sun helps reduce inflammation but it’s important to know that some medications used to treat psoriasis can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Talk with your doctor about how much exposure is right for you and your treatment plan. Increase your time in the sun gradually if allowed.
4. Limit alcohol.