The Dead Sea in Israel is a popular destination for people with psoriasis because of its unique combination of properties that make it conducive to improving the skin disorder. The sea’s low altitude (more than 1,300 feet below sea level, the lowest inhabited point on earth) prevents most harmful UVB rays from reaching and damaging the skin but allows a high therapeutic percentage of UVB rays. The water’s extraordinarily high mineral and salt content causes a haze that filters out harmful rays. Some scientists hypothesize that the water mayalso have properties that can slow cell turnover.
The idea of spending time bathing in the Dead Sea to provide some psoriasis relief may seem farfetched, but it actually isn’t. According to clinical guidelines, there’s evidence that this approach, called climatotherapy, can improve psoriasis severity and quality of life for about three months. However, you must remain at the location for at least three to four weeks to see results. And—no surprise—the guideline authors write that the “relaxing nature of a climatotherapy getaway, in general, can decrease psychosocial stress and allow for a soothing and healing effect.”
Other locations, such as the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, and the Canary Islands, also have favorable climates and natural properties that can improve psoriasis.
This article first appeared in the November 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.