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Living with Psoriasis can be challenging, especially dealing with the ever changing symptom severity and flare-ups. You may have noticed how seasons can impact your Psoriasis symptoms. Many people find that Psoriasis symptoms worsen during the cold winters but improve during the summer months.[1][2] One could infer that it’s the warmth and sunlight that make a difference.

In fact, sunlight has been known to benefit Psoriasis. The sun gives off 2 types of ultraviolet rays - Ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA alone does not improve Psoriasis skin condition, but UVB exposure is known to slow the rapid growth of skin cells, which helps ease inflammation and reduce scaling.[1][2]

So sunlight may be good for you, but it is important to know how much of it is good for your lesions.[2]

Here are a few essential facts you should know before going out to enjoy the warm summer sunshine:

Duration of sun exposure:
You can start by exposing affected areas to the sun for 5-10 mins at the same time each day, and slowly increase the duration by 30 seconds to 1 minute each day.[2][3] It is important to gradually increase the exposure and set limits to avoid any damage to your skin.
It is important to talk to your Dermatologist before embarking on a sun-filled outing and understand the right amount of sunlight for your condition.[1]

Risks with sun exposure:
Some food items and certain medications and supplements can make you more sensitive to sunlight and in turn more likely to get sunburns.[1][4] Ask your Dermatologist about the Fitzpatrick phototyping scale to determine your sensitivity to sunlight. It is a tool that classifies the response of different skin types to sun.
Remember, if you are receiving any other form of light therapy as part of your treatment regimen, you should avoid exposure to sunlight.[2]

Precautions before being out in sun:
Although you may benefit from sunlight, it is advisable to protect your skin from sunburns.[3]
Consider the following tips for better results.[3][4] 

  • Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen on unaffected areas. Ask your Dermatologist for a sunscreen that is best suited for your condition.
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat.

Exposure to sunlight has been known to benefit Psoriasis symptoms. However, it is important that you discuss the pros and cons of sun exposure with your Dermatologist before venturing out into the sun.

Talk to your Dermatologist
about biologics for clear* skin

*No plaque elevation, erythema or
scaling, hyperpigmentation maybe present.

References

  1. Psoriasis and Sun Risks. WebMD. Available [online] at URL: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/psoriasis-sun-risks. As accessed on 26 October, 2020.

  2. Is the sun good or bad for Psoriasis. Available [online] at URL: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320231. As accessed on 26 October, 2020.

  3. Sun and Psoriasis: Benefits and Risks. Healthline. Available [online] at URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/benefits-and-risks-of-sunlight. As accessed on 27 October, 2020.

  4. Psoriasis and Sun. papaa.org. Available [online] at URL: https://www.papaa.org/learn-about-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis/further-resources/psoriasis-and-the-sun/. As accessed on 27 October, 2020.