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Winter is coming.

WinterHere in the UK, 2018 has been an unusually warm summer. And for that I am grateful. Sure – I live in South Wales – so we didn’t get quite the extremes of heat that were experienced by those further to the east, but still, it was a nice change. Lazy evenings and weekends sat in the garden soaking up the rays – it was heaven. I even managed to have a barbeque or two without getting soaked. Amazing! Coupled with a few blissful weeks in the south of Spain in July, my psoriasis has been far better this year than I have seen it for quite some time.

The heatwave lasted far longer than anyone expected – the warmest summer here since 1976 they say. But it could not last forever, of course. One day, the Gulf Stream must have shifted slightly, the wind direction changed a little, and cooler weather arrived. And guess what? With the change of weather came a change in my psoriasis. And I mean – immediately. I could feel it. From one day to the next, I was suddenly more scaly, more flaky, more itchy and more aware of my skin. Winter is coming, and suddenly I have skin like Jorah Mormont after he met the Stone Men. (Sorry – any non-Game of Thrones viewers, if such people exist).

Not so sunny Wales

So anyway, the average temperate dropped and the humidity levels dropped with it. It now looks like we are heading in to a typical Welsh autumn – which is remarkably like a Welsh winter. (Wales – for any of my non-UK readers who might not know, is the large sticky-out bit attached to the left hand side of England).

Yes – I am an Englishman in Wales – so I avoid at all costs talking about rugby, or trying to pronounce the place-names. But I still complain about the weather, as all English folk do.

For many years, I have dreaded the onset of winter. I really should consider moving somewhere with a higher average number of sunny days. The Sahara Desert sounds nice, I hear. What we need is some kind of psoriasis time share. I may have to kickstart a new project! Perhaps we can get all psoriasis sufferers shipped down to the southern hemisphere for Christmas? That might be a plan!

I have never fully understood the precise medical reasons behind the changes that my skin undergoes this time of year. Is it just the temperature? Perhaps it is the sunshine – or lack thereof?  Is it the humidity, or the use of central heating in the house? It might possibly be the fact that winter is just a little bit more depressing than the summer? Mood and stress can of course affect psoriasis. I don’t know. All I do know is that my psoriasis is much worse from September to March. I just counted, and that is 7 months. What a pain!

Positive thinkingLook for the positives.

I suppose that there are some upsides here. I am far more likely to be found wearing long sleeves and trousers, thus covering up a bit more of my skin. Not that I ever intentionally hide it. And, well – I can’t think of any others. I really do hate the cold!

But let’s look on the bright side. If winter is coming, then so is summer. It’s no surprise – it happens all the time. This is not Westeros. All we can do is grin and bear the dark months; embrace them for what they are. Some cosy nights in front of the fire with loved ones, and maybe the chance of some fun in the snow. Halloween, fireworks and holidays – family, friends, good times. Our skin might be worse for a while, but we can look forward to the longer days with the hope that next year will be even better than this one.

Nigel Beckett

13th September 2018

Does your skin get worse during winter too? Why not drop me a comment in the comments box?

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