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Why My Psoriasis is Always Worse on Vacation

Why My Psoriasis is Always Worse on Vacation

My husband and I recently came back from a 2 week road trip to Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. While I was excited to explore more of our country, I knew that my psoriasis would come back worse for wear. Here are the reasons my psoriasis is always worse on vacation.

Would you like fries with that?

I’ll start with the biggest culprit: food. I have been able to identify a number of foods that trigger new spots, pain, or increased itching. It’s a laundry list and includes things like gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, beans, fried foods, and bananas. When traveling, it’s not always easy to find compliant foods, especially in small towns. Roadside stalls may sell pogos, fries, pizza, or hot dogs, but my skin hates all of these things! I try my best to stop at grocery stores and pick up fresh fruits and oatmeal, but it’s always a struggle.

Good libations

Single malt whiskey tour in Glenora? White wine with dinner in Montreal? Yes please! While vacationing doesn’t have to increase your alcohol intake, I find it often does. My husband loves to tour distilleries or check out local microbreweries, and I can’t help but sample along. Unfortunately, many with psoriasis find alcohol worsens their symptoms, me included!

Who’s got an hour for a shower?

When I’m at home, my shower routine is extensive. I have special shampoos for my hair, and products for my scalp psoriasis. I also use a special body wash that’s very mild and good for my sensitive skin. When I’m traveling, the last thing I want is to cart around my arsenal of shower products, or to spend 1 hour every morning in the bathroom when I could be out exploring. My scalp psoriasis is never happy on vacation.

Lotions and potions

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Everyone with psoriasis has been told this. Keeping our skin hydrated and moisturized helps prevent cracking and reduces itching. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just slap any old lotion on my skin. I start with coconut oil, then I layer on a handmade body butter that I buy in 2L tubs off the internet. Sure I can transfer the body butter to a smaller container, but what happens when my liquefied coconut oil opens in my bag in route? And do I want to carry around coconut oil and body butter in my purse all day?

Don’t forget a water bottle!

On this last trip, our day in Quebec City was met with 45C heat. I’ll save you the conversion… that’s too dang hot. No matter how much water I try to drink on summer vacations, I always end up dehydrated (that whiskey distillery tour probably didn’t help either). In addition, even when it’s not too hot I still find myself drinking less water than normal because I don’t want to be stopping every 30 minutes to pee. Dehydration means dry skin, means unhappy psoriasis.

What’s the thread count of these sheets?

Sleeping soundly with psoriasis is no small task. At home I have nice, soft sheets that reduce itching and help me sleep more comfortably. No such assurance exists at hotels and BnBs, and scratchy sheets mean I’m scratching at my skin all night long. Not to mention all the other bedroom modifications I make at home, like having a humidifier, layering up with menthol cream, occlusions, wearing night splints for my enthesitis, etc.

Pass the antibiotics

Last, but certainly not to be forgotten, is that I always get sick at the end of my vacation. Maybe it’s the re-circulated air in the airplane, maybe it’s all the door handles I touch, but I’ve always got some bug by the end of a trip. If it’s bacterial, a course of antibiotics is sure to send my skin into a flare (and you know what happens when it’s strep!). Even a viral infection can send my skin haywire. I find it’s much more difficult to stay healthy on vacation.

So yes, my psoriasis is worse than when I left, but when I’m up all night scratching I’ll have time to think about all the wonderful memories I made! Silver linings, and all. What about you? How do you manage your psoriasis on vacation?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.