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Making the Best Choices for Your Psoriasis

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6 Seasonal Psoriasis Triggers to Avoid

Medically Reviewed By Bukky Aremu, APRN

Seasonal triggers can cause psoriasis flare-ups. Understanding how your body reacts to specific environmental elements can help you prevent symptoms and find the right treatment.


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin. An immune system reaction causes skin cells to multiply too quickly. Those extra cells pile up and form scaly patches called plaques on the skin. 

Researchers do not know exactly what causes psoriasis. However, genetic factors may likely lead to people developing the condition, and elements in your environment trigger psoriasis flare-ups.

These itchy skin rashes may appear more often at specific times of the year. Each season comes with its own set of triggers. Once you know which of those triggers set off your psoriasis symptoms from month to month, you can take steps to avoid them.

1. Infections

The fall and winter months are prime times for respiratory infections, strep throat, and bronchitis. The activation of your immune system to fight off germs could launch a psoriasis flare-up.

Psoriasis plaques usually appear 2–6 weeks after an infection. Flares after an infection are especially common in kids. In fact, strep throat can cause the first episode of guttate psoriasis in children. To stay healthy, practice good hand hygiene and avoid sharing common spaces with people who may be sick. If you do become ill, treat it quickly to prevent a psoriasis flare-up. 

2. Cold and dry weather

In a 2021 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , more than half of the people with psoriasis reported worse symptoms in the fall and winter months. These seasonal symptom flares are likely caused by cold temperatures and low humidity, which dry out the skin. People in colder climates are also exposed to less sunlight during the winter. UV light from the sun helps clear up psoriasis plaques. Keeping showers short during the winter months and applying moisturizer can help relieve dryness and prevent flares.

3. Allergies

Seasonal allergies could make you sneeze and scratch at the same time. The same overactive immune response that causes psoriasis is also behind allergy symptoms.

If you have allergies, when you’re exposed to allergens like ragweed, pollen, and grass, your body releases inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that make psoriasis plaques severe. Avoiding your allergic triggers and taking allergy medications might also keep your skin clearer.

4. Sunburn

UV light is good for healing psoriasis plaques. However, too much sun can have the opposite effect because sunburn damages the skin.

Psoriasis plaques are more likely to appear in areas where there’s skin damage. It’s called the Koebner phenomenon, named after the German dermatologist who first described it in the 1800s. Covering exposed skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher will help protect your skin from the sun.

5. Heat

Sun and warm weather are usually good because they help prevent psoriasis flare-ups. That’s why more people have clearer skin in the summer than winter.

However, summertime has its downsides, too. Air conditioning can dry out your skin and cause more plaques. Sweating may be a trigger for people with inverse psoriasis. This type of psoriasis causes rashes in areas of skin folds, like the armpits, groin, and under the breasts. Sweating can trigger more skin eruptions in sensitive areas. Being sweaty can also worsen psoriasis on the scalp.

6. Bug bites

bite from a mosquito or other insect during the spring or summer months might not seem like a big deal. Because bug bites damage the skin, they could trigger the Koebner phenomenon and set off a psoriasis flare.

Spray yourself with insect repellant and wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to shield yourself against bug bites — especially at dusk when insects are active.


Because psoriasis is a chronic disease, you may be on treatment year round. During a seasonal flare-up, your dermatologist can adjust your medication to clear your skin faster. One way to manage flare-ups is by rubbing on a corticosteroid cream or taking a steroid by mouth.

Your doctor might add a disease modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) to calm your immune system and soothe flares caused by seasonal triggers. These medications reduce inflammation that contributes to skin plaques.

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Medical Reviewer: Bukky Aremu, APRN
Last Review Date: 2024 Jan 5
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