Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. Many people living with psoriasis experience lower self-esteem because of it. If you’re one of those people, what you wear can go a long way to helping restore pride and confidence.

Dressing when you have psoriasis requires a little more attention to detail. These tips and techniques can help you dress confidently while also protecting your skin.

Tips for dressing with psoriasis

Consider the texture: Some fabrics are itchy and irritating. Wool, for example, can be irritating to your skin. If you’re experiencing a flare-up of psoriasis and have plaques, fibers may tug or pull on the lesions. That can be very painful. Look for fabrics that are gentler on your skin, such as cotton, silk blends, or cashmere.

Put a layer between your skin and clothes: If you still want to wear fabrics that may irritate your skin, you can as long as you put a smooth layer between such fabrics and your skin. A cotton or silk camisole or undershirt can help protect your skin.

Choose breathable fabrics: Prevent moisture buildup on your skin by wearing fabrics that are breathable and porous. Cotton and linen are two great options. Some manufactured materials are designed to be more breathable, and clothing companies tout those benefits on tags.

Pick clothes that wick moisture: During exercise, your body produces sweat and moisture. If the clothes you’re wearing aren’t designed to wick moisture away, you may irritate your sensitive skin.

Be colorful: If you have scaly plaques on your neck or head, the scales are easily seen on dark clothes. Light, bright shades may be better for dealing with this common psoriasis issue.

Keep scarves or shrugs handy: Not only are scarves and shrugs great ways to accessorize, they can be draped across your shoulders or back for an easy way to cover lesions.

Go loose: Tight clothes can irritate your skin and worsen symptoms. Clothes that rub against lesions may make them more irritated. Restrictive clothes could make them bleed. Looser fitting clothes, including undergarments, can help greatly.

Fit is key for shoes: Uncomfortable shoes, stiff materials, and tight toe boxes can exacerbate symptoms and make inflamed spots more uncomfortable. You can still find stylish shoes to match your favorite clothes, however. Thin socks can ease friction between your skin and shoes, letting you wear shoes that you might otherwise have to dump.

Be brave: Your clothes are an easy way to express your personality, so look for fun colors, patterns, and pieces that help you feel comfortable and have a little fun.

Protect your skin for clothes

Moisturize frequently: In low-humidity climates and cooler months, skin can easily dry out. Dry skin can snag and tug on clothes, which can be very uncomfortable and irritating. Moisturize with an unscented lotion, ointment, or cream regularly to prevent dry skin.

Use the right detergent: Fragrances and dyes can upset inflamed skin, so look for detergents that are free from these additives. If you use a dry cleaner, ask if they have a solution that is better for people with sensitive skin.

Apply sunscreen: Clothes are a good natural sun blocker, but not every piece of clothing blocks all of the sun’s rays. When you know you’ll be outside in the sun for a long period of time, use sunscreen all over your body, even on areas typically covered with clothes. This includes your arms, shoulders, and legs. Loose hats, like straw hats, cover your sensitive scalp, letting moisture escape while keeping your scalp cool.

Find a treatment that works: As your skin clears from successful treatment, your confidence is certain to rebound. Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that eases the signs of the condition and prevents severe flares in the future. Keep in mind that treatments may work for a bit and then stop working. You may have to switch treatments to keep achieving good results. Your doctor will talk with you about this and help you navigate the process.

Look your best, but know you don’t have to hide

Feeling self-assured in your clothing can go a long way to restoring confidence and poise. Wearing beautiful, fashionable clothes can help you regain self-esteem, which easing feelings of depression or anxiety. But being open and honest about the condition and what it means to your life may feel just as good. Remember, you may not be able to control psoriasis itself, but you can control how you live with it and respond to it.

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