photo of woman doing squats with kettle bell

Regular exercise should be a part of your psoriasis self-care. But what can you wear that won’t irritate your skin during a hot and sweaty workout? You’ll need to find clothes and fabrics that feel good for you while you get your sweat session in. 

Shopping for exercise gear will be pretty similar to shopping for your non-irritating everyday clothes. Of course, there will be a bit more trial and error because you won’t know how a fabric feels until you start moving and sweating in it. 

Here are a few tips that might help when you look for psoriasis-friendly workout clothes. 

Go for a Loose Fit

Skin-tight leggings and shorts with built-in stretchy liners may be what you see most at the gym, but these are not good for people with psoriasis. This extra-tight gear creates friction that can lead to painful irritation, especially if you make a habit of wearing it for every workout. 

Look for loose-fitting clothes that won’t rub and irritate your skin. A few fit options and ideas include: 

  • Wide-leg workout pants 
  • Running shorts without the tight liner 
  • Loose-fitting tanks and T-shirts 

Consider the Fabric

Next, pay attention to the fabric in the exercise clothes you consider. It must be breathable. Think about the garments you reach for when it’s hot and sticky outside. You’ll want to have a similar mindset when shopping for activewear because you’re bound to get warm during a workout. 

If your chosen physical activity is a low-intensity stroll around the block or an easy cruise on your bike, you’ll do well in breathable natural fibers like cotton, satin, or linen. Obviously, exercise clothing stores aren’t overflowing with these options because while these fabrics breathe, they also hold onto sweat and moisture. If you do high-intensity workouts, these materials will weigh you down once they get wet. 

For moderate-intensity workouts, your natural fiber options include lyocell and bamboo. They help regulate your temperature and keep you cool during exercise. Lyocell is recommended for moderate activity only since it hangs onto moisture and can get a little heavier when wet. 

Bamboo gear, on the other hand, can wick moisture away from your body, so you may like it better for higher-intensity sessions. 

During more intense physical activity, loose-fitting, moisture-wicking fabric will help keep your skin calm. Aside from bamboo, most moisture-wicking material is synthetic. But, as long as the garment is loose, some synthetics may work for you. It might take some trial and error at first. Just be sure to avoid polyester, which can irritate psoriasis. 

Keep Your Specific Workout in Mind

You’ve worked hard to find a form of movement that gives you a good workout but doesn’t trigger a flare. Make sure you choose clothing that works with that routine. 

If you love a weekly barre class, search for psoriasis-friendly pants that are cropped, so they won’t get in the way of balancing poses. Maybe you go for a daily jog on the treadmill, so look for loose shorts and a top that won’t get too weighed down with moisture.

If you love doing your workouts outside, like simply going on a walk with your dog, you’ll need psoriasis-friendly UV protection. Sunburn can trigger a flare or make one worse, so shield your skin as much as possible during your outdoor exercise. 

On top of your favorite sunscreen, choose UV-protective workout gear. There are plenty of lightweight options like long-sleeve workout tops or T-shirts and long workout pants that have a UV shield built in. Remember to protect all of your skin, even if your favorite activity is barefoot yoga in the park. Look for yoga socks or shoes to cover the delicate skin on the tops of your feet.

Consider Your Laundry Products

Once you have your perfect workout gear, be sure to wash it after each and every workout. You can use the same psoriasis-friendly laundry products you do on your regular clothes. 

If you don’t already have favorite laundry products that won’t irritate your skin, shop for those when you buy your workout gear. Non-irritating detergents will ensure your workout clothes are always as gentle on your skin as they were when you first bought them. Look for a fragrance-free label or a seal of recognition from the National Psoriasis Foundation. 

With the right gear, you can work out without worrying as much about a flare or skin irritation. Just remember to pick clothes that work best with your unique skin and exercise routine, and always keep them clean with non-irritating detergent.

Show Sources

Photo Credit: Ridofranz / Getty Images


American Academy of Dermatology: “How Your Workout Can Affect Your Skin,” “How to Prevent Common Skin Infections at the Gym,” “What to Wear to Protect Your Skin From the Sun.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Taking Care of Your Skin in Summer,” “Seal of Recognition.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Psoriatic Arthritis.”

National Eczema Foundation: “About clothing and eczema,” “How to exercise safely with eczema.” “Psoriasis and Your Wardrobe: How Clothing Affects The Skin.”