Psoriatic arthritis: Cold weather skin care

7 ways to protect skin and prevent flares when the temperature drops.

Cold weather can make anyone's skin feel dry and itchy. But with psoriatic arthritis, dry skin can lead to painful skin flares. Keep skin and nails healthy with these do's and don'ts.

  • Don't take hot showers or baths. It might feel good when the weather is chilly, but hot water can make skin feel dry, tight and itchy. This can lead to a psoriasis flare. Instead, take a warm or cool shower or bath just once a day.

    Keep showers and baths short. Too much time in the water can dry skin. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests five minutes for a shower and 15 minutes for a bath.

  • Do use your hands instead of a washcloth, sponge or loofah in the shower or bath. Washcloths, sponges and loofahs can scratch and cause breaks in the skin that could lead to skin psoriasis symptoms.
  • Don't use deodorant soaps or scented soaps. What's in these products can bother skin. Choose soaps and cleansers that add moisture and are made for sensitive skin. Also, skip facial and body scrubs. They tend to be hard on skin.
  • Do dry gently. Gently blot water from the skin with a soft towel or cloth. Rubbing can hurt the skin. Leave skin a bit damp.
  • Do use moisturizer every day. To prevent dryness, gently put a thick ointment or cream on the skin right after the bath or shower. Moisturize often during the day and again before bedtime. Choose products with no smell made for sensitive skin.

    The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests using products made for psoriasis from CeraVe, Curel and Gold Bond, among others.

  • Don't forget hands and nails. Most people with psoriatic arthritis have nail symptoms. Keep nails short. Always moisturize your hands and nails, especially after washing hands. When doing dishes, wear cotton gloves under vinyl or nitrile ones.
  • Do use a machine that adds moisture to the air, known as a humidifier, when the heat's on. This can help keep skin from drying out.
March 21, 2023 See more In-depth