Material world: Unravelling the impact of clothing fabrics on PsA symptoms

If you live with PsA, getting dressed every morning can be trickier than simply making a sartorial choice. This is because the impact of a PsA wardrobe extends beyond far beyond looks alone, and has the potential to impact not just levels of confidence, but potentially also the severity of psoriasis patches. From the clothes we choose to wear to how we choose to wash them, there are little differences that could make a difference to symptom severity and occurrence.So next time you’re shopping or getting ready to do a little laundry, stop to consider the below because your skin just may thank you for it.

1. Stay natural, choose cotton. Super soft and lightweight cotton is always worth the investment, and not just because of how comfortable it is! Owing to the better moisture management properties of cotton, it prevents overheating of the skin and avoids clothes sticking to skin.ii Also, being a natural fiber, use of chemicals is minimal in case of cotton right from cotton farming to coloring and finishing. Clothes labels always reflect the materials that they’re made from, so get into the habit of hunting these out before you buy!

2. For underwear, avoid synthetics. Certain fabrics are made of fibers which don’t absorb sweat; these include nylon and polyester and should be avoided if possible.  Excessive sweating underlying those inner wears for longer duration can allow microorganisms to thrive on your skin affected by psoriasis flakes. Apart from that, excessive sweating can induce itching and irritation.ii 

3. Listen to the itch. The problem with scaly build ups of skin cells (which is what occurs in psoriasis) is that you don’t know what kind of microorganisms thrive inside it. Parasitic microorganisms like fungus can silently spread to your clothing over a period.ii This means, as long as you wear clothes that are infested with fungus, how much ever you treat your skin, the condition of psoriasis would remain the same. If you experience frequent itching, especially, immediately after wearing clothes, then it means your clothes could be infested with fungus and need to be binned, pronto – the perfect excuse for a shopping trip!

4. Launder fragrance-free. Using any form oflaundry detergent has the potential for irritating psoriasis, but if possible then try to use fragrance free.i This is because the chemicals used in scented products may make it smell good, but they can be a real aggravator of symptoms.i Another tip is to try to use  liquid detergents as they tend to dissolve better and mean that particles of the product are less likely to stick to clothing.  

5. Choose your colours. Let’s be clear here, no one should ever feel (or be made to feel) embarrassed by psoriasis flakes, and no one should ever make you feel otherwise. But if you do want to try and wear fabrics that make them less noticeable, then lighter colours with soft patterns and prints are a good choice as they can easily mask any falls throughout the day.



[i] http://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/living-with/psoriasis-and-clothing/

[ii] http://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/scenario.php?csid=396

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