Psoriasis: Why sufferers might be experiencing a flare-up at this time of year

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Psoriasis isn't always better during the summer – for some sufferers it's the opposite. [Photo: Getty]

Psoriasis is a skin condition affecting around 2% of the UK population, according to the NHS.

It is characterised by “red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales”.

High profile sufferers of the condition include Cara Delevingne and Kim Kardashian.

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian shares psoriasis selfie

Typically, psoriasis sufferers rejoice during summer because the weather improves their condition.

“Many patients find that their psoriasis improves in the summer months due to increased sun exposure,” explains Dr Thivi Maruthappu, consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation.

“In fact, UV light therapy (phototherapy) is one treatment option we use to treat psoriasis in the clinic,” he adds.

However, for some patients, the opposite effect is true.

“Psoriasis varies between individuals, warns Maruthappu. “Although patients often notice that their psoriasis improves with sun exposure, over-exposure and burning can actually trigger flare-ups.”

Consult the British Skin Foundation website for further information on sun safety and how to avoid over-exposure – which can also increase skin cancer risk.

Excessive sweating can also be detrimental to the condition – “in some patients this can actually be very irritating and cause exacerbations”.

Dry conditions can also be a trigger for psoriasis symptoms – which is bad news if you are sitting in an air-conditioned office all day.

READ MORE: Woman with psoriasis learns to love her 'cheetah spots'

“Avoid sitting close to the air vent and consider using a rich emollient several times a day to minimise these effects,” advises Maruthappu.

Finally, dry heat can be a trigger for psoriasis sufferers – so if you struggle with managing your symptoms, it may be that a holiday to Dubai or South Africa is off the cards.

“Generally, dry heat is considered more likely to flare psoriasis as there is increased water loss from the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) which in turn promotes scaling and itching,” explains Maruthappu.

Consult the NHS website for further information on how to treat your psoriasis.