Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About MyPsoriasisTeam
Powered By
See answer

Can Plaque Psoriasis Get Worse in the Summer? Effects of Heat and Sweat

Medically reviewed by Manuel Penton, M.D.
Written by Anika Brahmbhatt
Updated on June 29, 2023

  • 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.

As the summer heat rises and you begin to sweat, you may wonder if your plaque psoriasis will get worse. 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.

Psoriasis symptoms tend to get worse 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 changes 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 Association, psoriasis flare-ups may occur from sunburns, spending time in air-conditioned spaces, sweat, and skin injuries.

Heat and Sweat

Heat, sun exposure, and sweat might trigger psoriasis flares in some people. One MyPsoriasisTeam member said, “The heat and sweat make it itch all the worse.” Another commented, “It has been really hot, and my skin seems to be worse when I sweat.”

When it’s hot out, we tend to spend more time in air-conditioned spaces for relief. However, air-conditioning dries out the skin, which could also aggravate psoriasis symptoms.

Skin Injuries

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, sunburn, 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.”

Your Plaque Psoriasis Might Improve in the Summertime

Luckily, there are a few ways summer weather may be helpful for managing your condition. 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 (or phototherapy) 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. Because 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 a hat 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

Try swimming in salt water. Salt water can help the look of plaque psoriasis and improve symptoms. However, because 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 repellent 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 118,000 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 your Activities page.

Updated on June 29, 2023

A MyPsoriasisTeam Member

My psoriasis flares up whenever the weather changes , almost always in May and diminishes in September. However I went to Florida in January and retuned to cold Chicago last year and I immediately… read more

posted September 10, 2023
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

Subscribe now to ask your question, get answers, and stay up to date on the latest articles.

Get updates directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
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

Clothes shopping can be tricky, especially when you have psoriasis. In addition to your personal ...

Clothing for Psoriasis: What To Know About Fabrics and Sleeves

Clothes shopping can be tricky, especially when you have psoriasis. In addition to your personal ...
Do you have psoriasis and an anxiety disorder? Does your anxiety trigger or worsen your psoriasis...

Can Anxiety Cause Psoriasis or Make It Worse?

Do you have psoriasis and an anxiety disorder? Does your anxiety trigger or worsen your psoriasis...
If you’re dealing with scalp psoriasis, a head lice infestation is the last thing you need. You’r...

Scalp Psoriasis and Head Lice: Does Psoriasis Shampoo Kill Lice?

If you’re dealing with scalp psoriasis, a head lice infestation is the last thing you need. You’r...
You may be surprised to learn that psoriasis is one of many medical conditions that can disqualif...

Can You Join the Military With Psoriasis?

You may be surprised to learn that psoriasis is one of many medical conditions that can disqualif...
Gloves can be useful accessories for anyone, but they’re particularly handy for those with psoria...

Gloves for Psoriasis: 3 Things To Consider

Gloves can be useful accessories for anyone, but they’re particularly handy for those with psoria...
Scalp psoriasis refers to psoriasis that affects the scalp, forehead, back of the neck, hairline,...

Scalp Psoriasis and Hair Dye: 8 Tips for Less Discomfort

Scalp psoriasis refers to psoriasis that affects the scalp, forehead, back of the neck, hairline,...

Recent Articles

There are now more effective treatments for psoriasis than ever before. Some treatments are appr...

6 Types of Treatment for Psoriasis: What’s Best for You?

There are now more effective treatments for psoriasis than ever before. Some treatments are appr...
Autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and thyroid eye disease (TED) occur when a person’s immune ...

Psoriasis and Thyroid Eye Disease: What You Should Know

Autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and thyroid eye disease (TED) occur when a person’s immune ...
MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...

Crisis Resources

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...
Dermatologists often prescribe steroid treatments — also called corticosteroids — for psoriasis b...

Fluocinonide for Psoriasis: Can It Help With Itching and Swelling?

Dermatologists often prescribe steroid treatments — also called corticosteroids — for psoriasis b...
4 Early Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis​​​​​1:21This video highlights some early signs of psoriatic...

Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms (VIDEO)

4 Early Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis​​​​​1:21This video highlights some early signs of psoriatic...
If your finger ever gets stuck in one position and you can’t move it, you might have a condition ...

Psoriatic Arthritis and Trigger Finger: Causes and Symptoms

If your finger ever gets stuck in one position and you can’t move it, you might have a condition ...
MyPsoriasisTeam My psoriasis Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close