10 Bath Linen Tips for Psoriasisby Casey Nilsson Patient Advocate
We choose the gentlest body washes, soaps, and lotions to care for our psoriatic skin. But are bath linens undoing our hard work? Here are 10 ways to guarantee your towels are psoriasis-safe.
100 percent cotton should be the go-to face and body towel for people with psoriasis. Pure cotton towels — whether they’re Egyptian, Turkish, Pima, or certified organic — are less likely to irritate the skin.
Steer clear of cotton blends
Before you buy, check the tag. Some inexpensive towel brands blend cotton with polyester. People with psoriasis should avoid synthetic materials altogether; they stick to the skin more than natural fibers.
Linen, a natural plant fiber made from flax, is naturally antimicrobial and light, which is great for patting the skin dry. This fabric can be scratchy at first, but softens with each wash, so wash them often; 100 percent linen takes longer to dry than pure cotton or a linen-cotton blend.
Be wary of bamboo
Bath linens marketed as bamboo — which is a grass, not a wood — often contain a blend of other wood fibers that can be scratchy and irritate psoriatic skin.
Ditch the dye
Dyes in towels and clothing can cause skin irritation in people with dye allergies or sensitivities. Talk to your doctor if you think you’re allergic to synthetic textile dye — or err on the safe side and use white towels.
Wash before you use
Many towels are coated with fabric softener, which gives even the roughest textiles a soft sheen in the store. Wash them in hot water to remove all fabric softener, which can irritate the skin.
Keep it pure when it comes to detergent
Dermatologists recommend fragrance-free, dye-free detergents for people with psoriasis. Wash in hot water and skip the fabric softener; 100 percent cotton towels won’t need it to stay fluffy and soft.
Wash your towels — a lot
Towels should be washed every three days — or, according to one dermatologist we polled, more often if you have psoriasis. Damp towels are hotbeds for germ activity and they pose an infection risk. If your towels smell musty, you’ve gone too long between washes.
BYO gym towels
Gym towels tend to be the scratchy, poly-blend breed — and you can bet they’re not washed in fragrance-free, dye-free detergent. Bring your own towel to the gym or hotel.
When in doubt, keep it simple
White, 100 percent cotton towels are the best option for people with psoriasis. And treat yourself! The bigger, softer, and fluffier, the better. Always pat your skin dry (don't rub) and wash your towels regularly in skin-friendly detergents.