Patients with psoriasis, and indeed eczema, should wear loose clothes from natural fibres such as cotton and linen to reduce overheating, sweating, and avoid synthetic clothing that can rub on the inflamed skin lesions.
Miss Jane Olver: You have spoken a lot about psoriasis Jennifer, I have one last question on this particular subject. Another friend of mine has psoriasis, and he told me that he found it much more comfortable wearing cotton clothes. That was very important to him as he lived in a warm Mediterranean climate. He also preferred loose fitted clothes.
Dr Jennifer Crawley: Yes, that is an excellent practical approach for improved comfort.
Miss Jane Olver: And natural fibre clothes, why is that? Is it to do with temperature? He mainly likes cotton and linen, not wool. It was therefore always much more comfortable for him in the summer when he can wear relaxed, cool loose cotton or linen clothes.
Dr Jennifer Crawley: Yes, keeping cool and avoiding heavy synthetic fibres can be very helpful.
Miss Jane Olver: Don’t synthetic clothes irritate because they can be less draping, create more friction and breathe less? So the skin ‘breathes less’ with synthetic material clothing? I guess the skin heats up more with synthetic materials?
Dr Jennifer Crawley: Yes, both temperature and irritation play a role. Patients with psoriasis have red and inflamed skin; it can be itchy. Furthermore, there can be silvery scales that can cause some irritation also. Synthetic fibres, like nylon, for example, can cause irritation of the skin for the reasons outlined above. Furthermore, synthetic fibres can cause overheating and sweating of the skin, whereas cottons and linens keep the skin cool, so they do not give those symptoms of irritation and itching.
Miss Jane Olver: Well, these practical tips will be very helpful to all psoriasis patients. We have all learnt a lot about psoriasis from you. I certainly understand the condition much more, and can see it from a patient’s perspective. There is indeed a lot that can be done for patients with psoriasis, ranging from simple creams and lotions, practical measures in respect to low alcohol, stopping smoking and avoiding stress, to drug treatment with biologics. Thank you very much Dr Crawley for helping with the Meet the Expert blogs at Clinica London.
To make an appointment with Dr Jennifer Crawley at Clinica London for advice and treatment of psoriasis, call us on the number at the top of this page.