It’s time for a spring fever day—for everyone, but especially those with chronic skin conditions! Warmer temperatures and more sunshine help reduce stress and flare-ups. Spring fever days are good for the body, soul… and skin!
Have some fun in the sun. Higher humidity reduces dry skin and itching, and the UVB rays in sunshine can help calm psoriasis flare ups. Roll up your sleeves, even 5-10 minutes a day will have a beneficial effect for exposed areas. Just enjoy the sunshine, especially between 11 am – 2 pm. Be careful though, your skin may have paled after months of indoor living. Avoid excessive sun exposure.
Work up a sweat! Exercise tends to reduce stress (a common trigger for flare-ups) and increase your overall health. If you’re exercising and working up a sweat, wear fabric that wicks away the moisture, because exposure to sweat can exacerbate psoriasis. Most performance fabrics are made of nylon or polyester, or you can go for a name brand like CoolMax® polyester. When you’re done working out though, switch to natural fabric, like cotton, cashmere or linen. They’re generally less irritating to your skin.
Go outside. Spring is a great time to enjoy what nature has to offer. Enjoy a long walk, a bike ride or an outdoor yoga class. Be sure to wear sunscreen, though. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a liberal application of SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen. Look for a sunscreen that has active mineral ingredients, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These agents reflect the sun’s rays off of your skin, so they’re not absorbed by your skin. The active ingredients used in chemical sunscreens, like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone, can be very irritating. That’s why dermatologists almost universally recommend sunscreens that contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Create healthy habits. Do something new, that you enjoy. For example, gardening can be very therapeutic because you’re working with your hands and creating something. It’s a great way of relieving stress. Continuity increases effectiveness.
If you can’t spend time outdoors 3-4 times per week, phototherapy is a good option. Ultra-violet B rays mimic the effects of the sunshine. Be careful though, you can get too much of a good thing. The “B” in UVB refers to the wavelength, but in the skincare business, we know that the “B” in UVB also refers to “burning.” If, within the past 24 hours you treated your skin with phototherapy, either at home or in a clinic, don’t expose your skin to additional natural sunlight—because you’ll increase the risk of burning. When it comes to Ultra Violet rays, you can get too much of a good thing.
Use only phototherapy devices that are programmed to control the timing and dosage of the UV rays. Dermatologists who specialize in the care and treatment of psoriasis generally recommend phototherapy for mild, moderate and severe psoriasis, with or without topicals and medications.