Winter And Your Skin: 7 Tips to Helping Your Psoriasis

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As most Psoriasis patients know, winter can be the hardest month to bare. In the three years that I have had Psoriasis, I notice that the fall and winter season has not been kind to my skin. But why?

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation* “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. Discuss with your doctor possible treatments to control your psoriasis in the winter.”

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I DO suggest you consult your physician but here are some things that help me during the snowy months:

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1- Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.

Keep your skin moist to ease the pain, redness and scaling. 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. I use fragrance-free products like baby lotion or Aveeno.

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2- Choose soothing baths over hot showers.

I know, I know. I hate baths too but they really do help. Long showers in hot water remove moisture from your skin. If you are going to shower, shower in warm water just long enough to soap up and rinse off. (Use gentle soaps like baby soap or soaps with Tar in them- I love Grandpa Brand Soaps personally) If you choose a bath, Sprinkle finely ground oatmeal (they sell them in packets at the drug store), Epsom Salts or Dead Sea salts. Make sure the bath is WARM not hot and soak for about 15 minutes to slough off scales, soothe itching, and, most importantly, unwind. Apply moisturizing cream or lotion right after to lock the water in.

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3- Use a humidifier.

While a humidifier doesn’t work for me personally because my room is a hot box as it is, I do recommend it. To wake up with smooth skin, use a device to keep indoor air moist. Make sure you clean the humidifier or bacteria will build up and that helps no one.

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4- Wear soft layers.

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. When I put on creams before bed, I like to keep a pair or two of psoriasis- friendly pajamas so I don’t worry about stains.

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5- Drink water.

To pump up moisture, drink plenty of water. You’ll know if you’re getting enough because your urine will be a pale yellow. Drinking 8, 8oz cups of water is not only recommended for daily use in general but it also helps your skin. If your urine is bright yellow or dark-colored, you may need more water.

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6- Ease stress.

I know it’s hard, the winter holidays are full of cheer but also full of stress. Stress, in my experience, always makes my psoriasis worse. Plan time to relax. A massage wouldn’t hurt if you can afford it (or have a loving partner who is willing to exercise his or her hands). Exercise also helps. So get that workout in and grab a loving massage.

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7- Consult your doctor.

If nothing seems to be working, please consult your doctor. There are many options. I personally love UV Therapy but leave it to your doctor to decide what is best for you.

 

So grab that nice, soothing bath… lotion up… toss that humidifier on high and grab that massage you deserve. The holidays are for celebrating, not for skin flaking.

Table For 3!: My Date, My Psoriasis and Me.

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So I have a date the other night but my scalp had other plans. It was beginning to look A LOT like Christmas and I had a few hours to get ready! Is my dog sick and I need to cancel? Did I injure myself and need to reschedule? Do I wear a hat and cover some of my face on our first date? UGHHHHH.

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No, Brittany! You’re going to woman up and figure this out. O.K., so my first problem was that there was no way I could leave my hair down. It was obviously flaky and I DIDN’T want to flake on this date (literally – in both ways) so that was out. Ponytail? Meh, I can’t really pull it off, PLUS, it shows the terrible amount of flaky build-up all around the frame of my face. SIGH… Wouldn’t it be great if I had bangs? Eureka!!!

Faux bangs! They’re cute enough with a little, messy bun but can be sexy too. Done.

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First, I brushed out my hair and applied some hair oil to my scalp. You can use any. I have about ten varieties.

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Second, I starting curling sections of my hair, bit by bit.

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Third… I already have side bangs but they are long-ish. It doesn’t matter how long your hair is, just take a section of the front like you would see on someone who has bangs, make sure its even and push back the rest of your hair so it’s out of the way. I twisted the “bang” part and put a little clip on it to hold it in place.

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Fourth, after you twist the little section you want to be your bangs- pull them up towards the back of your head. Stop when the bottom of the bangs reaches the length you want. I left mine in my eyes a little so I could curl them just a tad and mess them up. Pin them back with bobby pins and try and get them as close to your scalp as possible so you don’t have an odd bump.

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Last but not least, I threw my hair up into a curly, messy bun with some pins. Tossed a little hairspray into it. Moved some pieces around for a messy, sexy look and voila! No Psoriasis in site. For tonight.

And while I know this is not a long term solution for your scalp psoriasis, it did get me to and through the date.

Mission Accomplished.