10 Bath Linen Tips for Psoriasis

by 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.

Hands on a white towel.

Choose all-cotton

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.

Stack of hand towels.

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 fabric.

Try linen

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.

Bamboo plants in garden.

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.

Towels in a store.

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.

Woman hands loading towels into washing machine.

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.

Woman buying laundry detergent.

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.

Towels on a clothesline.

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.

Gym towel and other fitness supplies.

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.

Woman looking in the mirror with a towel on her head.

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.

Casey Nilsson
Meet Our Writer
Casey Nilsson

Casey Nilsson, an award-winning journalist and magazine editor based in Rhode Island, writes about autoimmune disease for HealthCentral. Casey is a 2018 Association of Health Care Journalists fellow, and her reporting on unfair labor conditions for people with disabilities was a finalist for the City and Regional Magazine Association Awards. Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2016, Casey enjoys digging into rheumatologic news, research and trends.