Winter season comprises the months of December, January and February. North Indian winter is extremely cold and dry but south Indian winter is moderately cold. During winter season, Skin is the most affected part of the body. Skin becomes more dry during this season and dry skin conditions like psoriasis aggravated more.
Psoriasis is an immune mediated inflammatory disorder of skin and it comes with raised, red and scaly patches typically on back of elbow, front of lower leg, scalp and back. It is a chronic skin problem and worsens in winter season.
Winter and Skin
In winter, weather is cool, dry and low humidity. So the water will flow across a membrane to equalise on either side. Literally, the air is sucking the water from our skin. This water loss leads to the dryness of skin and finally cracks which reduces the barrier function of skin and it is the trigger factor for skin allergy, inflammation and other things.
This altered barrier function and extreme skin dryness are cause factor for winter pruritus, cracks and worsening the Eczema and Psoriasis.
Winter care tips:
- Diet should be balanced and easily digestible. Wear cotton clothes and it should be fully covered.
- Don’t use hot water because hot water quickly removes the skin oils and water. Warm water is best.
- Limit the bath time to 5-10 minutes. Spending more time in water often leads to dehydration of skin.
- A simple least alkaline and super fatted soaps are advisable for dry skin. Apply moisturizer immediately after bath which locks the moisture and apply towards the hair growth direction.
- Oil application nourishes the skin and makes it smooth. Coconut, mustard and olive oil are commonly used. To win over the north Indian winter, massage the oils or milk creams on the exposed parts of body before retiring the bed.
- A good substitute for oil is butter or ghee which is very useful in dry skin conditions. They give better results in Palmoplantar psoriasis. Butter is animal fat, rich in vitamins.
- Use right emollient creams frequently ideally twice daily especially at night to prevent skin cracks.
- In the case of Psoriasis patients, frequent sunbaths before onset of winter and regular visits to sulphur springs in winter are useful in bringing down the relapse rate. Natural sulphur baths should be taken during holidays especially in winter.
Protect the skin from worsening of Psoriasis in winter months by following the daily habits as discussed above and stay healthy skin.