If you live with psoriasis, you may put a lot of thought into the clothes you wear. Certain sweaters can cause irritation, while tight pants may make your skin unbearably itchy. In short: What you wear can help keep your skin happy or lead to a flare-up.
Psoriasis — a skin disease marked by itchy patches of skin covered with scales — tends to come and go in cycles, going from remission to flaring again if something sets it off, according to the Mayo Clinic. Certain types of clothing can sometimes be the trigger.
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When you exercise with psoriasis, your skin can be especially vulnerable, considering you're probably sweaty and your skin rubs against a ton of surfaces. But to give you a little more peace of mind, we've chatted with experts to round up the best workout clothes for psoriasis.
How We Chose
We chatted with two dermatologists to learn all about the dos and don'ts for psoriasis-friendly workout clothing. With their guidance, we made our picks based on factors including:
We make deliberate choices about the language we use when it comes to gender. While more brands now carry gender-neutral workout clothes, you’ll still typically see clothing brands market their products to men or women.
The main difference between most women's and men's clothing is the fit: Men's versions tend to be longer in length and roomier. However, fabrics, quality and comfort should be the same between gender-labeled pairs. We encourage everyone to purchase the products that feel right for them.
The Best Workout Tops for Psoriasis
1. Nike Dri-Fit Tank
When shopping for workout tops, you'll want to avoid tight, form-fitting styles if you can, because they can rub against the skin and lead to irritation, Lisa Anthony, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Westmed Medical Group says. "Looser-fitting clothing will reduce friction and trauma to the skin," she says.
These Nike workout tanks are made loose-fitting and with a quick-drying fabric that pulls moisture off your skin. Plus, they come in a variety of color options.
2. Gym Shark Geo Seamless T-Shirt
Friction and chafing can be a pretty big issue for sensitive skin, especially for those living with psoriasis, says Aanand Geria, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Geria Dermatology.
This Gym Shark tee is seamless, so you don't have to worry about itchy, stiff seams irritating your skin. The slim fit also helps the tee stay in place, so you won't get much unwanted movement and friction.
Buy it: Gymshark.com (men's sizes XS to 3XL); Gymshark.com (similar women's version, sizes XS to XXL); Price: $23.80 to $32.40
3. Lululemon Love Long-Sleeve Shirt
When you're not doing high-intensity exercise (or any super-sweaty workout), Dr. Geria recommends you go with a cotton, loose-fitting fabric. Although it isn't quick-drying, cotton is super breathable, which is ideal for psoriasis.
This Lululemon long-sleeve is the perfect pick for low-intensity yoga, Pilates or strength training. It's made with a super soft cotton fabric and the relaxed fit helps prevent rubbing or chafing.
Buy it: Lululemon.com (women's sizes 0 to 20); Lululemon.com (similar men's version in sizes XS to XXL); Price: $58 to $64
The Best Sports Bras for Psoriasis
It's hard to get away from a tight fit when shopping for sports bras. So focus on fabric instead. Some materials, such as synthetic fabrics and wool, can cause skin irritation and thereby a psoriasis breakout, Dr. Anthony says.
"To minimize skin irritation, choose cotton fabric that is more breathable or a performance fabric that reduces irritation from sweat and moisture," she says.
1. Athleta Conscious Crop Train Logo Bra
Available in a wide range of sizes, Athleta's Conscious Crop Train Logo Bra is ideal for more intense exercise, including running and interval training.
For more intense exercise, cotton isn't ideal, so it's best to go with a performance fabric that reduces irritation from sweat and moisture, Dr. Anthony recommends. And this polyester and lycra fabric wicks sweat from your skin and dries quick.
Buy it: Athleta.com for cup sizes A-C; Athleta.com for cup sizes D-DD; Price: $64
2. Jockey Organic Cotton Stretch Tank Strap Bralette
For your non-sweaty exercise, including walks or mobility training, a cotton fabric is the best way to go, Dr. Anthony says. This bralette is light and made with organic cotton and a little spandex to give the fabric plenty of stretch.
This bra is pad-free, though, so those who need a little extra support and coverage may want to go with a more substantial sports bra (like the pick above).
Buy it: Jockey.com (sizes XS to 3X); Price: $28
The Best Workout Bottoms for Psoriasis
1. Tasc Weekender Short 2.0
These workout shorts are made with bamboo fabric, which Dr. Geria recommends for people with psoriasis. Bamboo fabric is breathable and lightweight but wicks sweat and dries quickly.
Tasc's shorts are also water-resistant, so you can go on a rainy jog without worrying about your shorts getting drenched. These also have a relaxed fit, so you won't have any unwanted chafing and the waistband has a drawcord for a perfect fit.
Buy it: Tascperformance.com (men's sizes S to XXL); Tascperformance.com (similar women's version, sizes XS to XL); Price: $58 to $68
2. Nike Epic Fast Leggings
Cotton isn't ideal for your running leggings — after all, cotton absorbs moisture and stays wet for a long time. But breathable, sweat-wicking performance fabrics are OK for people with psoriasis, according to Dr. Anthony.
These leggings are quick-drying and they have mesh panels for extra ventilation and breathability. They also have a big back pocket to store all your valuables.
3. Champion Open Bottom Cotton Pants
These cotton sweatpants are breathable, soft and versatile — you can wear them solo on a walk or light bike ride or layer a pair of workout shorts underneath. The waist also has an inner drawcord for easy adjustment.
Buy it: Amazon.com (men's sizes S to 4XL); Amazon.com (women's sizes S to XXL); Price: $13.05 to $38.09
2 Factors to Consider Before You Buy
Breathable, loose fabrics are the best for sensitive skin in general, especially for those living with psoriasis, according to Dr. Geria. When possible, cotton is the best, as it offers the most breathability.
With that said, cotton isn't exactly ideal for workout clothes, as it absorbs moisture. In that case, a sweat-wicking fabric (like nylon, polyester or bamboo) is your best bet.
Before you buy a garment, read the product info to make sure you're getting a quick-drying and sweat-wicking fabric blend.
Looser-fitting clothes are always the best for those living with psoriasis, according to Dr. Geria. Tight clothes (especially pieces with stiff seams) can rub against sensitive skin and cause discomfort or a flare-up. So, look for airy, looser clothing that has a seamless design or flat lock seams.
When you need to opt for a tighter-fitting pant or top, try to look for soft fabric that dries quickly and doesn't have too many seams.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.