Is Sauna Good for Psoriasis? (Advice for Dry, Itchy Skin)

Saunas are being looked to as the holy grail of holistic healing. But can they tackle psoriasis?

The sauna is good for psoriasis because it moisturizes the skin and helps remove hyperkeratotic scales. It is also relaxing, reducing the stress that can induce flare-ups in psoriasis. Steam rooms are the most effective type of sauna for psoriasis because of the increased humidity; dry air is damaging to psoriasis.

Psoriasis can nearly cover someone’s entire body and can cause a major loss of confidence. Some people don’t want to use medication to treat it, while others are looking for something to supplement their medication.

Thankfully, saunas are a great tool to help treat psoriasis.

Let’s see what the science says about saunas, psoriasis, dry skin, and more!

Can the sauna help treat psoriasis?

Saunas have different effects on different skin diseases. Let’s talk about how saunas can help treat psoriasis and learn more about the disease in general.

Saunas help treat psoriasis by moisturizing the skin and aiding in the removal of hyperkeratotic scales. Stress can induce flare-ups, so the relaxing effects of the sauna are also a preventative measure.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red, scaly patches that itch. It’s a common and chronic disease that has no cure. However, treatment can help manage symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Red patches of skin 
  • Small scaly spots
  • Dry, cracked skin that might itch or bleed
  • Itching, soreness, or burning
  • Thick nails
  • Stiff or swollen joints

Psoriasis is believed to be a problem with the immune system where the skin regenerates faster than normal, but the cause behind this malfunction isn’t clear.

Triggers include:

  • Infections like strep throat
  • Dry, cold weather
  • Skin injuries
  • Stress
  • Smoking or secondhand smoke
  • Heavy drinking
  • Certain medications

Does heat make psoriasis worse?

Heat has mixed effects on psoriasis.

A 2004 study found that heat therapy helped 55% of patients reduce their psoriasis-severity index by at least 70%. However, the National Psoriasis Foundation says that patients are more likely to experience flare-ups if they’re overheated and sweaty. Therefore, the right amount of heat is helpful to psoriasis, while too much heat makes it worse.

Based on this information, sauna heat has the potential to be helpful or harmful to people who experience psoriasis, depending on the duration of the session.

Does steam make psoriasis worse?

Steam and humidity are very beneficial for psoriasis.

Steam helps psoriasis by moisturizing the skin. Dry air irritates psoriasis and can cause flare-ups.

Low humidity is associated with increased psoriasis, so it only makes sense that high humidity would help.

Many people with psoriasis use facial steamers to remove skin flakes and reduce redness.

Is the sauna good for dry skin in general?

Saunas are well known for being good for skin, allowing it to hold more water and recover its pH quickly. But do those benefits extend to dry skin?

The sauna is good for dry skin because it hydrates your skin and increases circulation, bringing more blood to your skin’s surface.

However, the sweat of a sauna will hurt your dry skin if it’s cracked or has wounds.

Is the sauna good for itchy skin?

Saunas can be good or bad for itchy skin, depending on the state your skin is in.

The sauna is good for itchy skin because it helps reduce inflammation and shed dead skin cells. But if your skin is highly irritated, the sweat from a sauna session can hurt itchy skin.

Saunas reduce inflammation by bringing more blood to the surface of the skin, and they get rid of dead skin cells by opening your pores up.

But if sweat penetrates your itchy skin it can be highly uncomfortable.

Which type of sauna is best for psoriasis?

Saunas are very helpful for psoriasis, but which one is best?

Steam rooms are the best type of sauna for psoriasis. Low humidity is extremely harmful for psoriasis, so the increased humidity of steam rooms is a welcomed relief. The relaxation that all saunas induce is also helpful for psoriasis, as stress can cause a flare-up.

However, being overheated and sweaty can make psoriasis worse. That means sauna sessions need to be carefully monitored to avoid overdoing it.

How to use the traditional dry sauna for psoriasis

Traditional dry saunas are what most people think of when they think of saunas. They have incredible benefits like improved blood circulation and 25% lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone). And by now you know that those things are highly beneficial for people with psoriasis!

Here’s how to use a traditional dry sauna for psoriasis:

  1. Hydrate.
  2. Hop in the shower.
  3. Dry off completely and change into your sauna attire.
  4. Stay in for no more than 10 minutes at 165°F.
  5. Shower to get rid of any excess sweat.
  6. Hydrate again.

If you experience an increase in irritation, leave the sauna and take a shower.

How to use an infrared sauna for psoriasis

Infrared saunas are proven to reduce inflammation and promote relaxation, which both help psoriasis.

Here’s how to use an infrared sauna for psoriasis:

  1. Hydrate.
  2. Hop in the shower.
  3. Dry off completely and change into your sauna attire.
  4. Stay in for 30 minutes for maximum health benefits.
  5. Shower to get rid of any excess sweat.
  6. Hydrate again.

If your skin starts to bother you while you’re in the sauna, get out and take a shower right away.

How to use steam rooms for psoriasis

Steam rooms have a 100% humidity rate – perfect for soothing dry, scaly skin. So let’s go over how to use one!

Here’s how to use steam rooms for psoriasis:

  1. Hydrate.
  2. Hop in the shower.
  3. Dry off completely and change into your sauna attire.
  4. Have the steam room at its highest humidity setting.
  5. Stay in for roughly 15 minutes at 112°F.
  6. Shower to get rid of any excess sweat.
  7. Hydrate again.

Just like all other saunas, it’s important to leave the sauna and take a shower if your psoriasis starts to feel worse.