- Be Sure to Moisturize and Humidify
Without a doubt, this tip to moisturize is the one most dermatologists recommend first. Dr Emanual Maverakis of the University of California, Davis Health System noted that using heaters in the winter dries out the skin, so more moisturizing is needed. One college professor used the analogy of two different-sized buckets to explain relative humidity. If you have a small bucket, and it’s 80 percent full of water, then you would say it’s quite full. But if you put that same amount of water in a big bucket, it might only be 20 percent full. Cold air is like the small bucket, and hot air is like the large bucket. When cold air is heated up, as it often is indoors in the winter, the relative humidity drops. Unless water is added back into the air, such as with a humidifier, the dry air will dry out your skin.
Quite often, people can tell when their skin is dry and needs more moisturizer. Dry skin will easily become itchy and irritated. In the winter, it seems to dry out even faster than usual. When moisturizing, you should start with a layer of a lotion with ceramides (mainly for eczema) to add moisture, then lock in the moisture with a thicker, petroleum-based cream. When moisturizing after a bath or shower, you can apply lotion within a couple of minutes of getting out to trap the moisture in the skin. It can take some time experimenting with different moisturizers and talking with your doctors before settling on a regimen that works for you.
Having a humidifier in the living room, bedroom, and the office helps too — especially during those cold and dry times. Dr. Tatyana Petukhova also recommended using humidifiers, noting the need to “clean them regularly” and use a humidity level “that feels comfortable.”
- Avoid Long Hot Baths or Showers
Simply put, hot water dries out your skin, and that’s generally not good for psoriasis or eczema. Many dermatologists note this tip as second important after moisturizing. Although a hot bath in the winter can be quite relaxing, it may be helpful to lower the temperature of your shower and cut down the time. Another option is 10- to 15-minute soothing baths. Sprinkle an over-the-counter oatmeal bath packet into the water as the bath is being drawn, then add some moisturizing oil. After getting out of the tub, put on an extra layer of moisturizer.
- Don’t Get Sick
Staying healthy is a key strategy for winter psoriasis care. Many immune-suppression drugs for psoriasis can cause one to more easily catch viruses or get bacterial infections. Illnesses such as the flu can cause your skin to explode with psoriasis and eczema. To make matters worse, you many not be able to take psoriasis medications since they can affect your immune system. In such a case, it could take weeks to get your skin back under control.
It is important to focus on prevention. Get your flu shot early. When you feel like you may be catching a cold, go to bed early, stay hydrated, and minimize your workload. Wash your hands regularly, especially after shaking someone’s hand. Prevention is an extremely vital part of staying healthy.
- Take Time to Relax and Exercise
Often times, tasks around the home, projects, family time, and other interests and hobbies can make it hard to relax and rest. However, if you don’t take the time to relax, the stress builds and can show up on your skin.
One important way to find relaxation is through exercise. It is quite common to not feel like moving in the winter, much less getting out to exercise in the cold or windy weather. The fully-equipped health club and spa at Southgate at Shrewsbury makes exercising in inclement weather much more enjoyable. The wide variety of classes offered allow our residents to stay fit in a fun, social environment, leading to less stress and more peace of mind. By keeping your body in good shape, your skin will typically follow suit.
- Manage Your Moods
Each winter brings its challenges. Whether health, family, or weather-related, it’s quite normal for these challenges to bring about increased infections, eczema rashes, psoriasis flares, and general break-outs. Addressing your feelings in a positive way and sharing with others can give you strength when feeling overwhelmed. The skin-emotion connection is still being researched, but it’s clear they are related.
It often takes experimentation and consultation with medical professionals to find out how to best manage winter psoriasis and other skin conditions. Southgate at Shrewsbury offers our residents unsurpassed health care both on campus and nearby, making it easy to get quick and informed medical opinions from experts in the field. We are committed to the health and wellness of the seniors in our community, and that’s just one more reason Southgate at Shrewsbury is the premiere destination for senior living.