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What to Know About Clothing and Psoriasis Care

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 14, 2021

Psoriasis is a skin condition that creates red, flaky, and crusty patches of skin that are covered with silvery scales. It usually occurs on the knees, elbows, scalp, and lower back but can appear anywhere on your body. Usually, it only manifests in small patches and is sometimes itchy or sore. 

The intensity of psoriasis varies from person to person. For some people, it can seriously affect their life while it may only cause minimal discomfort for others. Read more to learn about what types of clothing and treatments help best for psoriasis care.

Treatment for Psoriasis

Psoriasis cannot be fully treated. Treatments for it are aimed at treating the symptoms rather than completely taking the condition away. Therefore, you may need to try a lot of different types of therapies before you feel better.

Typically, you will start by treating your psoriasis with mild therapies such as topical creams or ultraviolet light therapy. However, people with severe psoriasis or related arthritis will need to start and continue with more intensive types of treatments.

Some of the most common topical psoriasis treatments include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Vitamin D analogues
  • Retinoids
  • Calcineurin inhibitors
  • Salicylic acid
  • Coal tar
  • Goeckerman therapy
  • Anthralin

Light therapies that are used to treat psoriasis are:

  • Sunlight
  • UVB broadband
  • UVB narrowband
  • Psoralen plus ultraviolet A(PUVA)
  • Excimer laser

Oral and injected medications you can take when other treatments do not work are:

  • Steroids
  • Retinoids
  • Methotrexate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Biologics

You might also want to try some alternative treatments such as:

  • Aloe extract
  • Fish oil supplements
  • Oregon grape
  • Essentials oils

Additionally, many people will undergo certain lifestyle changes to treat their psoriasis. The most common treatment is to avoid stress and stress triggers for psoriasis. Other lifestyle changes you can make include:

  • Taking baths daily
  • Using moisturizers often
  • Covering affected areas with plastic wrap before bed
  • Briefly exposing your skin to sunlight daily
  • Using medicated creams
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Avoiding intense sun exposure
  • Avoiding drinking alcohol
  • Cultivating a healthy lifestyle

Clothing and Psoriasis

When choosing and wearing clothing while you have psoriasis, consider doing the following:

  • Find the best material for you. There is nothing worse than having a psoriasis breakout become irritated by the fabric of your clothes. Try to avoid fabrics made from wool or polyester. Alternatively, fabrics like cotton, linen, and satin are great for absorbing sweat while keeping your body cool.
  • Add in another layer. Don’t worry if there is a sweater or a pair of pants you love that exacerbates your psoriasis. You can add another layer like a cotton undershirt or long underwear to protect your skin. Not only will this help with your psoriasis, but it can also keep you warm during the winter months.
  • Loose-fitting clothing. Wearing excessively tight clothing will most likely stick to your psoriasis and irritate the scales covering your breakouts. It is better to wear clothing that does not rub against your psoriasis and fits quite loosely so that your skin can heal.
  • Be extra mindful about what you exercise in. Exercise introduces a great deal of friction and sweat. So, this is the perfect environment for irritating your psoriasis. Try to buy exercise clothing that removes the sweat from your body. The best fabrics for this are usually made from natural fibers.
  • Cover-ups and scarves. Think about using scarves and shrugs to cover up your psoriasis from excessive sun exposure. First, however, try to find scarves and shrugs made from natural fibers and other fabrics that do not cause further inflammation.
  • Remember to think about the shoes. Psoriasis can also affect your feet. Wear breathable shoes and socks to reduce friction or build up from sweat. This is especially true if you naturally have sweaty feet. Cotton socks are great for soaking up sweat.

In addition, consider:

  • Keeping your skin moisturized and avoiding dryness
  • Avoiding laundry and skin products with fragrances
  • Using UV sunscreen

The Takeaway

While all of these treatments and advice will help you with your psoriasis journey, remember that your specific experience with it will be unique. Perhaps you will be able to wear polyester or wool; maybe you won’t be able to.

Additionally, psoriasis will look different on African Americans and other people of color. For example, instead of red skin, you might see violet skin. If there is a change in your skin, you should seek help from a medical professional.

WebMD Feature

Sources

SOURCES:

BlackDoctor.org: “Psoriasis and Your Wardrobe: How Clothing Affects The Skin.”

Mayo Clinic: “Psoriasis.”

NHS: “Overview Psoriasis.”

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