Close to 50 percent of women with psoriasis make clothing choices in order to conceal blemished skin, according to a recent survey by the National Psoriasis Foundation. Whether or not you’re a woman who likes to camouflage areas of psoriasis, finding clothing that’s comfortable, breathes well and doesn’t chafe your skin or cause further irritation can be a challenge. To dress for comfort, style, and to minimize symptoms, try these tips from other women with psoriasis:
1) Choose loose-fitting styles in lightweight material such as cotton, silk and synthetic materials designed to wick away moisture from your skin, rather than heavier fabrics such as denim, corduroy and wool.
2. Opt for fleece instead of wool when choosing winter hats, gloves and sweaters. The fleece will feel soft and warm against your skin without causing itching. (Hint: If your skin breaks out or itches when exposed to wool, avoid moisturizers that contain lanolin, which is also derived from sheep and may irritate your skin, too.)
3. Layer your clothing in cooler weather. You’ll stay warm when you’re outside, but you’ll be able to remove top layers to cool down when you go indoors. For example, start with a silk or cotton T-shirt against your skin, top with a silk or cotton blouse and possibly a fleece sweater.
4. Don't shy away from sheers. Chiffon, voile, organza and some nylons are often made into flowing, loose-fitting dresses, blouses and skirts. These fabrics can feel lightweight and airy against your skin and camouflage psoriasis patches. For best coverage, look for sheer fabrics in dark colors or patterns.
5. Some women with psoriasis can’t bear to wear pantyhose, but some find it helpful to apply lotion to their legs and then put on pantyhose to seal in moisture and prevent their pants from rubbing and irritating their skin. Other women find that wearing opaque tights under skirts is more comfortable than wearing pants at all. Test different options to find which works best for you.
6. If your scalp psoriasis is flaring, think light colors when choosing your clothes. Not only will flakes be less noticeable on a light color, but white and other light shades can brighten your face, taking attention away from your psoriasis.
7. Put your best foot forward in comfortable shoes if you have psoriasis on your feet. Shoes that allow airflow, such as sneakers, open-toed shoes and lightweight leathers that breathe, can be more comfortable than closed styles made from synthetic materials. Well-padded foam or elastic polymer inner soles can relieve pressure on skin affected by psoriasis. If your feet swell during flares, consider getting your favorite shoes in two different sizes.
8. Be smart about laundry. Some heavily perfumed laundry detergents and fabric softeners can irritate psoriasis. Choose fragrance-free products and skip fabric softeners all together. Some experts recommend washing new clothes before you wear them to remove any potential irritants.