Psoriasis - Is your psoriasis worse in winter?

  • By Team TDO

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that affects a person’s skin and joints. Although it is believed to be the result of an immune system malfunction, recent studies suggest that there have been a number of genes identified that have links to this condition. It is estimated that about 4.5 million people worldwide have this condition and that includes children.

Like most genetic conditions, psoriasis also has a unique, genetically determined time frame in which it gets triggered into action and it is different for every person that has it. Still, logic dictates that something has to act as an initial trigger. Studies now suggest that stress is the most common initial trigger.

Winter season usually begins with the hustle and bustle of social activities, and of course, the party season. Whether we intend or not, it leads to a lot of stress. While it may not reach such a significant level that it will trigger one’s psoriasis, it is always better to be on the safer side, and this is just an additional trigger.

The lack of humidity in winter makes it harder for our skin to retain moisture, and when that occurs, tiny cracks or fissures tend to develop on the surface of our skin.

Psoriasis most commonly appears on our elbows, knees, scalp, and torso. However, it develops much faster in areas where the skin is traumatized or damaged. Anything that can cause our skin damage is liable to intensify the condition.

According to leading medical researchers, this irritating skin condition comes in several different forms that have varying levels of intensity. Even in all these different forms though, the one thing that they all have in common is that the condition begins whenever the normal process of cell shedding and growth goes haywire. Under normal conditions, the top layer of our skin recreates itself over a period of 28 to 30 days. The old cells are shed and new cells take their place. In psoriasis, however, this natural process is sped up greatly.

Psoriasis can cause our cells to regenerate in as little as 2 to 3 days. When this happens, the old cells do not shed as quickly, but the new cells keep multiplying at a rapid pace. This causes the cells to stick together and form lesions or patches that are called plaques. In the most common form of psoriasis, the end result is a dry, scaly, inflamed, and sometimes, itchy patches of skin. The worst bit is that the drier your skin, the worse those patches are going to look and feel.

The good news is that smart and judicious use of moisturizers can make a huge difference, especially so in winter. Not only does moisturizing keep tiny cracks from forming in the skin, but it can also help the dry patches that are already present, feel and look better.

In addition to the cold and dry weather, winter brings with it a lack of sunshine. With regards to psoriasis, this can be a bad thing. Daily exposure to sunlight for a duration of about 15 to 20 minutes can be quite beneficial as it helps keep the breakouts under control.

In summary, while winter does cause psoriasis to flare, any weather condition that is dry enough to make it hard for our skin to retain moisture can bring about the onset of this condition. Your best bet is to moisturize regularly and try to get a little bit of the sun.