I am often asked how I manage my psoriasis when on holidays. Whilst it may be easy to conceal flaking skin during the colder months, it is without a doubt, a much trickier proposition once the sun starts shining. For many years, I would book family holidays based around the availability of balconies on higher levels so that I could sunbathe privately, safe in the knowledge that nobody was staring at my skin.
In recent years, that has changed for me. Whether it’s the fact that I’ve gained wisdom with age, or whether is simply that I just don’t really care about the opinions of others anymore, remains undecided. What is true however is that I now sunbathe alongside everyone else at the poolside or on the beach. My reasoning is that I’ll probably never see any of my fellow sunbathers again, so really, what does it matter what they think?
However, don’t get too impressed with all this bravery! I still don’t flaunt myself and my flaky skin for all to see. Dear Lord no! I am the person who scuttles to the sun lounger, fully decked out in a sun hat, top and trousers; not a sliver of skin to be seen. It is then just a matter of some deft manoeuvres until I’m on the sunbed in my swimsuit, eyes tightly shut and ignoring all around me. I subscribe to the childlike belief that ‘If I can’t see them, then they can’t see me!’ Quite honestly, knowing that the healing rays of the sun are benefiting my skin far outweighs the potential embarrassment of someone looking at my psoriasis. (Plus, if you pay attention, you’ll realise that every single bikini babe on that beach is far too busy worrying about their own body hang-ups to take any notice of yours!)
When it comes to swimwear it is really a matter of personal preference as to whether you wear a swimsuit or a bikini. Frankly, I subscribe to the theory of ‘less is more’ in this instance, as the more skin I can expose to the sun, the better. (At this juncture, I should insert a warning to never, ever allow your skin to burn in the sun. This can result in a vile and vicious flare up of your psoriasis – as I have learned from experience – and it takes a long time to recover from this) When it comes to beachwear however, there are many cover-ups to choose from which will ensure you will look chic and stylish, whilst still concealing your skin.
First up is this really gorgeous floral jumpsuit from Next. I think this would be a real little workhorse in your holiday wardrobe. Wear with heels, a little shrug and a clutch for a fabulous evening look, or throw on with a pair of flip flops for a casual daytime outfit. Ideal for pulling on over your swimwear to get you from hotel room to sun lounger. And who knows? If the sun really works well for you, there may be no need for a shrug towards the end of your vacation.
A pair of palazzo-style trousers is always a useful staple on holidays and if the skin on your legs is hot or inflamed the soft fabric and wide cut of these beach trousers from Marks & Spencer will definitely ease your discomfort. Perfect for wearing with a tee shirt to the beach, but would look just as good with a silk shirt and some bling for going to dinner in the evening.
The return of the maxi dress to the forefront of fashion a few years ago was an absolute godsend for all psoriasis sufferers. It covers so much and with the addition of a cropped denim jacket or a fine knit bolero, it ensures your arms are concealed also. This is a really pretty example from Zara and the applique at the neck means you don’t even have to worry about accessorising with bling. The hard work has been done for you!
Finally a hat! Absolutely essential in hotter climes to ensure you don’t return home with a bright red face or peeling nose – nobody needs the hassle of extra flakiness! A sun hat will also protect you in very high temperatures and are a good idea to keep your head cool. And let’s face it, they look very stylish and who doesn’t love to look good on holidays?
I hope these ideas will inspire you this summer to go outside and enjoy the sunshine with everyone else. Wishing you all fun in the sun!
UK/IE 2013b/00057a. Date of preparation: May 2015