You need to be comfortable in every way, including your skin. Pampering can make you feel like a million bucks, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Take time every day to slather your favorite lotion all over your body, especially legs, hands, and feet. Drugstores have many moisturizers for under $10. Splurging? Try massage: Along with relaxing your muscles and helping your circulation, it feels good. Studies say it can boost mood and improve self-esteem for people with MS.
A good manicure or pedicure can make you feel polished and special. That goes for guys, too! But go only to a salon you trust. Ask the manager about licenses, certifications, and how they clean tools. Say no to cutting cuticles or shaving calluses -- these raise your chance of getting an infection. Because of your MS, you may feel less pain in your hands and feet or be more sensitive to the heated water in the salon.
Hit the restart button with a new look. If your fingers and arms aren’t strong enough to do a lot of styling, buy the lightest blow-dryer you can, or choose an easy hairdo. Ask your stylist or a friend who's great with hair about cuts you can just run your hands through with a bit of product and look great.
Women: Dress Smart
Make a statement with your clothes. Buy items that make you feel good. Zippers, teensy clasps, and buttons can make getting dressed a challenge if MS affects your hands. Look for pullover-style dresses and tops or sweaters in soft, draping fabrics. No need to go crazy on the budget: A simple black pullover, dressed up with colorful scarves and accessories, can look polished (and different) at event after event.
Men: Dress Smart
One of the biggest clothing challenges for men with MS can be dressing in a suit for business or dinner: What to do about that stubborn tie? The good thing is it’s trendy to wear a jacket with an open-collar shirt. But if you must wear one, there are clip-ons available. Or keep your favorites tied so all you have to do is put them back on and tighten up.
Well-tailored clothes make anyone look stylish. Get your clothes altered to fit you perfectly. Change out tricky buttons, zippers, and other hard-to-manage features. For example, swap Velcro for the closings on shirts and dresses. Find a friend who's handy with a needle, or try a dry cleaner; they often do alterations.
Direct attention to your face with colorful scarves. They can be bought with pretty clasps that make them easier to put on. Switch in magnetic clasps and other solutions on your favorite bracelets and necklaces so they're easier to manage.
Put Your Foot Down
For many women with MS, high heels aren't an option. Shop around. Flats come in plenty of styles. Also, see if a shoe repair shop can take some of the height off your favorites, add straps, or make soles less slippery.
Set Up Your Own Salon
Save energy and effort by putting together a small area in your bathroom or bedroom where all your supplies wait for you. Choose a spot where you can sit and have plenty of counter space. Get a magnifying mirror that sits on a stand (not one you have to hold) so you can put on makeup or shave more easily. Keep an electric razor handy -- it's a safe option.
A few easy-to-use products can help you look fantastic with almost no effort. Try those that do double duty, like tinted moisturizer and combination wet-dry foundations. Liners with self-sharpening wands make dramatic eyes easier. Liquid makeup -- foundation or blush -- can be applied with fingers or a sponge.
(1) Bambu Productions / Iconica
(3) Alan Abramowitz / The Image Bank
(4) John Lund / Marc Romanelli / Blend Images
(6) alicat / E+
(7) Wuka / E+
(8) Beth Retro Photography / Flickr Open
(9) Justin Pumfrey / The Image Bank
(10) Chris Bernard / E+
Rosalind Kalb, PhD, vice president, clinical care, National MS Society, New York, NY; author, Multiple Sclerosis for Dummies.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Women’s Health Research Institute, Northwestern University.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.