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Cosmetic Cover-up Tips for Psoriatic Arthritis: Look and Feel Your Best

Psoriatic Arthritis: Camouflage and Cosmetic Cover-ups

There are a number of ways to camouflage and cover up parts of your appearance that make you uncomfortable, even when your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis symptoms flare.

You can use special cosmetics to camouflage skin plaques that aren't open or blistered. Talk with your dermatologist to learn more about the options and how to use them.

"If you have scalp psoriasis, it can be helpful to avoid darker-colored clothing," says Melissa Magliocco, acting chief of the division of clinical pharmacology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants can cover up skin lesions on your arms and legs, even in the summertime. Long sleeves and pants can also help hide swollen, red joints affected by psoriatic arthritis. Choose light fabrics, such as cotton or linen, when the mercury rises.

Of course, when your joints are stiff and swollen from psoriatic arthritis, the idea of pulling on a turtleneck or applying makeup can sound like too much. Fortunately, there are tools that can help, including cosmetic brushes with long handles and reachers or hand-grip tools.

If your psoriatic arthritis is causing your toes to swell, it may be impossible for you to wear traditional shoes. Sandals or flip-flops won't provide the support you need or the camouflage you want. You may need to look for shoes that have extra room in the toe box, both for comfort and to cover up your toes.  

Psoriatic arthritis often affects the finger or toe joints that are closest to the nail, and many people with psoriatic arthritis may also have nail psoriasis. In nail psoriasis, the fingernail or toenail may be discolored, pitted, or have lines running across the nail. Sometimes the skin underneath the nail grows thick, which causes the nail to come loose.

In many cases, you can help cover up nail psoriasis with nail polish, or by gently buffing your nails. Avoid pushing back your cuticles or scraping underneath your nails, because injury to your nails can cause a flare-up. Depending on how psoriasis is affecting your nails, you may be able to use artificial nails. Ask your doctor if that is an option for you.

Psoriatic arthritis may also cause you to slouch or stoop, especially if it has affected your spine or caused osteoporosis. One way you may be able to camouflage some of the damage is by practicing good posture whenever possible. When you are sitting or standing, try to keep your head balanced and your chin in line with the floor. To get a sense of how good posture should feel, stand with your back to a wall.

Sharing Camouflage and Cosmetic Cover-up Tips

There are more than 2 million people with psoriatic arthritis in the U.S., so you're not alone in coping with physical changes brought on by the disease. You can find additional advice and support at the National Psoriasis Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation.

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Reviewed on June 30, 2008

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