I gotta’ tell you … I see the words ‘Shopping for …’ and my heart leaps with a little frisson of excitement. You just can’t beat a bit of retail therapy. But if the sentence continues with the words ‘summer holidays’ and your skin is in the midst of a psoriasis flare-up, then frankly, the words strike only fear into the hearts of us all.
If this describes you, then come sit by me whilst I offer you the wisdom of someone who has dealt with this issue each summer for more than 15 years.
I’ve taken the ‘nope! I’m not going anywhere hot on holiday’ line; I’ve adopted the ‘I will stay completely covered up no matter how high the temperatures soar’ approach; I’ve even refused to go to the pool or beach, hiding instead on upper level balconies away from the curious stares of others. And then finally, I got a bit older and a bit wiser and I figured out that the only person I was hurting was myself.
Summer holidays are now the one occasion when I tell people to abandon all the rules and instead expose your skin to the sun! Just be sure to slap on the sun cream which should never be less than SPF 30.
There are two very important things to keep in mind at this time. Firstly, if you’ve chosen a sun holiday, then you are doubtless like most other psoriasis patients whose skin reacts favourably to the healing rays of the sun. Don’t allow yourself to be self-conscious about how you look – instead embrace this time as a chance for your skin to heal. In the past I have gone from covered to clear in the space of a two-week sun holiday. Let that be your motivation! Even more importantly, look around you! See all those people on the beach, or lying by the pool? I guarantee you that each one of them is far too busy worrying about their own appearance and sucking in their stomachs (just me?) to care about how you look. So take a deep breath … think about the possibility of clear skin in a few weeks time and just go for it!
However, I understand only too well that whilst lying on a sun lounger in a bikini might be doable (I like to close my eyes and pretend that if I can’t see them, they can’t see me!) it’s a whole different ball game if you want to walk to the pool bar for lunch, or take a stroll along the beach. But never fear, I have a few options that can help.
I like to take a multi-tasking approach to holiday packing, so each of these items can be worn as a cover-up with a pair of flip flops going to and from the pool, but equally with the addition of some wedge sandals, a bit of bling and a clutch would be perfect to take you to dinner in the evening. Next proved to be a treasure trove for such shopping, and here are my suggestions.
The Navy/White Asymmetric Maxi Dress is fresh and summery with the classic nautical feel that just never dates. Great for daytime but just as easily dressed up with some metallic sandals and clunky jewellery for an evening look.
I absolutely adore this print, which has more than a hint of Missoni about it. This multi zig zag print maxi kaftan is stunning and there are also swimsuits, bikinis and tops in the same pattern if you really want to wow! I challenge anyone to feel self conscious about psoriasis while wearing this and sipping a cold Prosecco with lunch at the pool.
The jumpsuit has become a fashion staple at this stage, and this summery print is gorgeous. In the interests of limited packing, this really only needs minimal accessories and works just as well with flats for sight-seeing, or wedges for a dressier look.
Now I realise that not everyone will be happy to have their skin exposed in the evening, and this is where the shrug becomes an essential part of your wardrobe. Available in most high street stores during the summer months, this MAB cover up is from Coast. Choose a pale shade that will work with your wardrobe.
Obviously we can’t forget trousers. In hot temperatures, the last thing you want is a pair of skinnies, so instead a looser jogger style like these Aura Lace Insert trousers from Monsoon will keep your skin covered but cool. Pair with a vest top or tee.
And finally, my top tip is to have a spray tan done before you go away. I favour Cocoa Brown Tan as it is paraben free, gives a light golden colour and doesn’t turn psoriasis plaques purple (as most fake tans tend to do). This will give you that extra bit of confidence about exposing your skin at the beach or pool. But above all, have fun and enjoy yourself. After all, that’s what holidays are all about.
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE 2013b/00057n. Date of preparation: March 2016