Sunlight might help your psoriasis – but here’s what to know before you get out there
According to the Irish Skin Foundation, more than 73,000 people in Ireland are affected by psoriasis – a condition causing inflammation of the skin due to increased cell turnover, leaving a build-up of silvery scales and red plaques. It can be an uncomfortable and even painful condition, as well as leaving many sufferers feeling emotional effects such as self-consciousness or embarrassment.
It’s fitting that August is when Psoriasis Awareness Month falls – it’s a time when we get more sunshine in Ireland and also many of us may be heading away on our summer holidays. For some, sunlight might be the answer.
Does sunlight help improve psoriasis?
The answer isn’t as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ unfortunately – for some people it will, and do so drastically, but for others it won’t have as much or any effect. For those who are receptive to it as a treatment option, it can reduce the red and scaly patches of a flare-up almost entirely.
No matter which camp you fall into, it’s best to get sunlight gradually and build up exposure as opposed to going in guns blazing in a short period of time. Slow, steady and moderation are key here.
Why is ultraviolet light good for skin?
Sunlight is made up of long wave UVA and short wave UVB rays, with the latter occurring in the sunlight that can help psoriasis. UVB penetrates the upper layers of the skin and slows the growth of the affected skin cells.
Safety in the sun
Of course, it is always worth remembering that we should all be vigilant about protecting our skin from an excessive dose of the sun’s UVB rays, which can cause issues from sunburn right up to dangerous skin cancers.
Sunburn causes damage to the skin. In fact, in some cases, an episode of sunburn can even trigger psoriasis. Therefore, if your aim is to help a skin condition, it’s wise to take precautions.
Use sun cream with an SPF appropriate for your skin type and reapply regularly throughout the day. Make sure to buy a full spectrum cream. Full spectrum means that it blocks damage from both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget sunglasses to protect your eyes too.
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