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Can the cold have an impact on psoriasis?

Individuals suffering from psoriasis do not particularly enjoy winter, or the cold in general. During this period, the factors that promote the appearance of red patches increase tenfold and can exacerbate the condition. More information in this article.

Published September 21, 2023, updated on January 22, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

Can cold weather impact psoriasis?

Psoriasis can be triggered or exacerbated by various factors, including climate changes. For many people suffering from this skin condition, winter and cold temperatures can worsen their symptoms. Indeed, a study indicated that 53.2% of patients with psoriasis showed a worsening of disease conditions in autumn/winter.

One of the primary reasons is the lack of sun exposure. Indeed, UV rays suppress the immune response by inhibiting the Th17/IL-23 axis and the pathway of Type 1 T lymphocytes, inducing apoptosis of T lymphocytes. UV rays also contribute to the apoptosis of the lesioned epidermis, particularly keratinocytes. When UV rays penetrate the epidermis, they cause structural damage and harm the keratinocytes which can subsequently activate the p53 protein and trigger the process of programmed cell death known as apoptosis. Moreover, UV rays are the main source of skin production of vitamin D which has shown positive effects on this disease and constitutes one of the treatments against psoriasis by modulating the inflammatory response and the differentiation of keratinocytes.

Indeed, cold weather tends to cause skin dryness. When the temperature drops, the air becomes dry and can induce negative effects on the skin. It has been suggested that dry air induces the synthesis of epidermal DNA, the increase in keratinocyte proliferation and inflammation markers, and that these changes are attributable to alterations in the moisture content of the stratum corneum. These conditions exacerbate psoriasis plaques and lead to an increase in itching, redness, and flaking.

Simple actions to reduce the impact of cold on your skin.

To minimise the negative effects of cold on psoriasis, it is crucial to care for your skin appropriately. This begins with skin hydration. To enhance hydration, drink sufficient water, with 1.5 litres of water per day recommended to maintain bodily hydration.

Also pay particular attention to your diet. Prioritise healthy foods, rich in omega-3 which promote skin hydration. There are also daily care routines that you can adopt such as the application of a moisturising balm, especially on psoriasis patches. This will reduce inflammation, flaking and itching.

In order to combat the cold of winter, do you tend to turn up the heating? This action can impact skin hydration. Indeed, the dry air from the heating system absorbs the moisture from the skin. The trick is to pair your heating system with the use of a humidifier, which will increase the humidity of the surrounding air.

Lastly, it is advisable to limit the wearing of clothing close to the body that prevents the skin from breathing normally. Certain fabrics should be avoided, such as wool and synthetic fibres. Instead, opt for loose clothing, made from natural, breathable fibres to reduce the risk of skin irritation.


  • ENGEBRETSEN K. A. & al. The effect of environmental humidity and temperature on skin barrier function and dermatitis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2016).

  • ZHENG X. & al. Seasonal variation of psoriasis and its impact in the therapeutic management: A retrospective study on Chinese patients. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (2021).


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