Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About MyPsoriasisTeam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About MyPsoriasisTeam

Can Plaque Psoriasis Get Worse in the Summer? How To Prepare

Posted on July 07, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Manuel Penton, M.D.
Article written by
Anika Brahmbhatt

  • Plaque psoriasis is usually worse in cold, dry weather, but some people notice their symptoms get worse when it’s hot and humid outside.
  • You may be exposed to plaque psoriasis triggers through summer activities — for example, sunburn or skin injuries from spending more time outdoors.
  • Taking care of your skin is essential during the summer.

If you have plaque psoriasis, you may have noticed differences in the frequency and severity of flare-ups as the weather changes. Temperature and humidity affect people in different ways, but research has found some common trends in their association with plaque psoriasis symptoms.

Typically, psoriasis symptoms tend to worsen when the weather is cold and dry. However, some people with plaque psoriasis find their symptoms flare up during the summer months.

“I’m very itchy in the extreme humid heat of Calcutta,” wrote one MyPsoriasisTeam member.

When the weather fluctuates often, it can make the effects on your plaque psoriasis even more pronounced. “It’s so humid today, and that just seems to make my psoriasis so much worse,” wrote one team member. “I have scalp psoriasis, and I don’t know if it's the humid, hot weather, but I’m having an awful time,” shared another.

Why Plaque Psoriasis Might Get Worse in the Summer

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, psoriasis flare-ups may occur if you get sunburned or if you spend a lot of time in air-conditioned spaces that dry out your skin. Heat and sweating might trigger plaque psoriasis for some people.

Alternatively, flare-ups might happen for indirect reasons. Summer activities like hiking in nature might increase the risk of skin injury, which can trigger a psoriasis flare-up. Cuts, scrapes, a poison ivy rash, and bugbites can lead to plaque psoriasis flares.

Plaque psoriasis might also act up during the summer because of the Koebner phenomenon. The Koebner phenomenon occurs in different skin conditions when new lesions related to the condition appear after the skin is damaged in some other way. In plaque psoriasis, new psoriasis lesions may appear in people affected by the Koebner phenomenon if the person has significant changes to the skin (like a burn or tattoo) or even after minor damage like a scratch.

One MyPsoriasisTeam member shared, “I have Koebner, and when I get a cut or one of my joints is hurting … bam, I get psoriasis in that spot every time.”

Plaque Psoriasis Might Improve in the Summertime

Luckily, there are a few ways summer weather may be helpful for managing your plaque psoriasis symptoms. Sun exposure and increased vitamin D levels might help improve plaque psoriasis symptoms. The body makes vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, which is why light therapy is a helpful treatment for some people with psoriasis.

“Summer has finally hit in Minnesota,” shared one MyPsoriasisTeam member. “Nice to be out in the sunshine, with sunscreen of course. Sun definitely helps.”

Some people with plaque psoriasis find an improvement in the appearance of their skin after swimming in chlorinated pools or salt water. However, these activities affect people in different ways. For some people, swimming makes their plaque psoriasis worse.

Protect Your Skin During Summer Activities

Despite the potential benefits of exposing your skin to the summer sun, it’s equally important to be aware of the risks involved. You’ll want to avoid sunburn and skin injuries to make sure you don’t unintentionally trigger psoriasis flare-ups.

You might already be familiar with how to take care of your skin and manage your plaque psoriasis. Since the summer months usually bring more sun, humidity, sweating, and time spent in nature and in air conditioning, you may need to adjust your plaque psoriasis treatment plan.

Moisturize

Apply moisturizer right after showering or washing your skin, especially if you spend a lot of time in air conditioning, to prevent your skin from getting too dry. Talk to your health care provider about what kinds of creams, lotions, or ointments may work best for you.

Use Sunscreen

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, with a high SPF, to protect your skin from sunburn and skin cancer. Exposure to natural sunlight can be great for people with psoriasis, but you have to stay vigilant about reapplying sunscreen often so you stay protected. Ask your dermatologist if they have any recommendations for a good sunscreen for your skin.

Choose Protective Clothing

Cover up your skin to reduce sun exposure and the potential for bugbites. Wear hats and sunglasses. Choose clothes made of breathable fabrics, like cotton, to stay cool and avoid skin irritation. Clothing in lighter colors absorbs less heat.

Try a Saltwater Dip

Go swimming in salt water. Salt water can help the look of plaque psoriasis and improve symptoms. However, since it can also dry out skin, be sure to rinse off and moisturize afterward.

Apply Insect Repellent Carefully

Be careful when applying bug repellents. Some products contain DEET, which can irritate your skin. You could test your skin’s sensitivity to a bug repellent by performing a patch test — testing the product on a small patch of your skin to see if it reacts before applying it to larger areas.

Ask Your Doctor for Advice

Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if your plaque psoriasis gets worse in the summer. They can provide medical advice and make adjustments to your treatment plan.

Summer can be a great time for people with skin conditions like psoriasis. You get the chance to go outside and enjoy some nicer weather, which might help with your symptoms. Continue to stay aware of the factors that may contribute to your flare-ups. Something as simple as getting a cut while outside or using a bug repellant could irritate your skin.

Talk With People Who Understand

On MyPsoriasisTeam, the social network and online support group for people with psoriasis and their loved ones, members discuss what it’s like to live with psoriasis. Here, more than 109,000 members from across the world come together to ask questions, offer advice and support, and share stories with others who understand life with psoriasis.

“It's nice to know that I can come here and get some type of advice from people who are going through or have gone through the same thing,” wrote one team member.

Have you noticed your plaque psoriasis symptoms change in the summertime? Do you have any tips for how you’ve managed these changes? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation on MyPsoriasisTeam.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Manuel Penton, M.D. is a medical editor at MyHealthTeam. Learn more about him here.
Anika Brahmbhatt is an undergraduate student at Boston University, where she is pursuing a dual degree in media science and psychology. Learn more about her here.

Related articles

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved updated boosters for messenger RNA...

New COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters for Omicron: What To Know if You Have Psoriasis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved updated boosters for messenger RNA...
Coal tar shampoo can provide symptom relief for some people with scalp psoriasis, a type of...

Coal Tar Shampoo for Psoriasis: Does It Help Your Symptoms?

Coal tar shampoo can provide symptom relief for some people with scalp psoriasis, a type of...
If you live with itching, scaling, or other skin symptoms of psoriasis, you’re probably looking...

Are CeraVe Products Good for Psoriasis?

If you live with itching, scaling, or other skin symptoms of psoriasis, you’re probably looking...
Psoriasis on the scalp is common for those with psoriasis. Discover whether products like Sea Breeze can help with scalp psoriasis.

Does Sea Breeze Help Scalp Psoriasis?

Psoriasis on the scalp is common for those with psoriasis. Discover whether products like Sea Breeze can help with scalp psoriasis.
If you’re living with psoriasis, you may wonder how your diet affects your skin. Chicken, a...

Is Chicken Good for Psoriasis, or Does It Trigger Flares?

If you’re living with psoriasis, you may wonder how your diet affects your skin. Chicken, a...
If you’re one of the 6.5 million Americans living with psoriasis, you may be considering natural...

Does Using a Coffee Scrub Work for Psoriasis?

If you’re one of the 6.5 million Americans living with psoriasis, you may be considering natural...

Recent articles

When people think of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), many immediately think of symptoms like joint...

6 Causes of Psoriatic Arthritis Fatigue — and 6 Ways To Manage It

When people think of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), many immediately think of symptoms like joint...
Some people with psoriasis seek out alternative or natural remedies to add to their treatment...

Hemp Oil for Psoriasis: Is It Helpful for Your Scalp?

Some people with psoriasis seek out alternative or natural remedies to add to their treatment...
Tonsils are lumps of tissue at the back of the throat. They trap and filter out germs that enter...

Your Tonsils and Psoriasis: What To Know

Tonsils are lumps of tissue at the back of the throat. They trap and filter out germs that enter...
Some people living with psoriasis are interested in trying at-home remedies to help ease symptoms...

Can Banana Peel Soothe Psoriasis Itching?

Some people living with psoriasis are interested in trying at-home remedies to help ease symptoms...
Though psoriasis is primarily a skin condition, it can cause a number of different symptoms and...

Does Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss? What To Know

Though psoriasis is primarily a skin condition, it can cause a number of different symptoms and...
If you have psoriasis, you may experience related conditions that also affect the skin — like...

Candida and Psoriasis: The Connection With Yeast Infections

If you have psoriasis, you may experience related conditions that also affect the skin — like...
MyPsoriasisTeam My psoriasis Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close