Suntan and Psoriasis

People with psoriasis enjoy sun tanning just as much as people without psoriasis, and usually even more. Not only the sun gives your skin a nice golden color but if you have psoriasis – the sun also helps you to temporarily get rid of your psoriatic plaques.

Some of us are lucky enough to live in the areas with a constant summer (Southern California, Southern Florida etc.). But the majority enjoys the sun only in the summer months. Some people with psoriasis not only take frequent vacations to the places with a warm climate, but even try to relocate there in order to keep their psoriasis in check.

Unfortunately, this does not pertain to the people with the summer type of psoriasis. The sun actually aggravates the state of their skin and psoriasis.

But what exactly is a suntan? Suntan is the reaction of the skin to the sun. Our skin tries to protect itself from the excessive sun rays by starting to produce more of the melanin pigment. The pigment melanin gives the skin its nuance – pink, brown etc. People with darker skin are better protected from the sun. They usually develop a nice even suntan. People with a fair skin, instead of an even suntan may develop sunburns and uneven pigmentation. This is due to that their skin does not produce enough of melanin to protect itself.

After stopping the exposure to the UV rays, the skin stops producing excessive melanin and returns to its usual color.

Excessive sun causes damages, starting with painful blisters and premature skin aging, and including melanoma – skin cancer.

It is a fact that people with the winter type of psoriasis can temporary get rid of their plaques with a regular timed exposure to the sun rays. But why does this happen? The thing is that the sun rays exterminate the excessive T-cells in the skin. And the T-cells of people with psoriasis are one of the culprits of psoriatic plaques. Furthermore, the remaining T-cells lose their ability to express the IFN-gamma cytokines, which play a big role in the inflammatory processes.

Does it make sense to suntan in order to get rid of psoriasis? I believe that it does. The benefits in this case outweigh the negative side-effects.

Most celebrities and other public people maintain their skin with a bronze hue year round. Why do they do it? Because tanned skin usually looks more smooth and healthy and shows less imperfections than pale skin. Don’t they know about the adverse side effects of constantly subjecting their skin to the UV rays? I believe that they do. But their looks are much more important for them as it directly contributes to their public image, fame and therefore profits.

People with psoriasis suffer from the unpleasant external manifestations of psoriasis. Will getting rid of these manifestations outweigh the side-effects such as premature skin aging? I believe so.

Simply try to be careful with sun tanning. Start to tan with short periods. Keep a record of how long you suntan in order not to burn. Moisturize your skin after each sun tanning. You may also want to see your dermatologist in order to start regularly monitoring the state of your skin while you are sun tanning.