9 Sensitive Skin-Safe Gifts for People With Psoriasis
The best gifts for people with psoriasis
When you think about ways to help someone with a skin condition, you probably are inclined to offer them your favorite lotion, your go-to moisturizer, your can't-skip body wash. But when someone is dealing with the autoimmune disease psoriasis, which causes red, scaly patches on the skin, your run-of-the-mill skincare suggestions may do more harm than good.
"Psoriasis is not the same as dry skin, although that is a common misunderstanding," says former professional ballerina and aspiring medical student Melissa Leeolou, 25, who has had psoriasis since she was 1. "People with psoriasis are often asked, 'Have you tried putting cream on it?' so gifting them cream might inadvertently feel less like a gift and instead feel like their skin is something they could be fixing." Yes, they have probably tried putting cream on it—and they're also probably already seeing a doctor about their symptoms. (Not to mention, many skincare products are scented, which can be irritating for people with psoriasis, Leeolou adds.)
Looking for something a little more unexpected—and actually helpful? Here are nine gifts you can safely buy someone in your life with psoriasis to show you care.
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To buy: $34.95; bravelets.com
This leather and stainless steel reminder to be brave in the face of a life-altering condition won't irritate sensitive skin and supports a worthy cause. For each bracelet sold, 10% of the sale will be donated to the National Psoriasis Foundation. "I was once gifted a beautiful card with a donation to the National Psoriasis Foundation for funding research for a cure," says Leeolou, who volunteers for the NPF in New York City. "I was so excited to feel like I was a part of the active search for a cure. It gave me so much hope, and I felt so supported."
Ferragamo Grace silk twilly scarf
To buy: $160; bloomingdales.com
A twilly is a long, narrow piece of colorful silk that can add flair when tied around a purse handle or wrapped around your neck or wrist. "If you have psoriasis on your arms, this is a great alternative to a regular bracelet, as it won't irritate broken skin," says Helen Hanrahan, who has had psoriasis for over 20 years. She blogs about her experience from her home in Dublin, Ireland, at The Flaky Fashionista. "Because they are so colorful, they distract the eye from psoriasis, too."
Charter Club cashmere-lined leather tech gloves
To buy: $89; macys.com
"Anyone with psoriasis on their hands will know that the cold weather can really cause your hands to become red, angry, and sore," says Hanrahan. "A gorgeous pair of soft leather gloves will help to combat this."
Estelle statement necklace
To buy: $58; baublebar.com
"Psoriasis often takes a significant toll on one's self image," says Leeolou. "I always choose to focus on a physical feature that isn't affected." She likes to draw attention away from psoriasis along her scalp or on her face by donning a statement necklace, or she'll wear "fun earrings that really pop" if she wants to distract from psoriasis on her hands.
MAC Viva Glam lipstick
To buy: $19; macys.com
Like jewelry, vibrant makeup can also help take the focus away from an area affected by psoriasis that's making someone feel self-conscious. "I'll often choose a fun lipstick, like a red that really pops, or I'll highlight my eyes with a bold eyeliner and mascara," says Leeolou. "Whether or not your skin is flaring, you're beautiful and you deserve to feel that way! Help a loved one focus on [a feature] they're happy about."
To buy: $17; pier1.com
It's thought that stress can trigger psoriasis flare-ups, so it can't hurt to gift something that helps someone with the disease find a moment of calm. A scented candle is usually a safe bet, says Hanrahan, "especially if it's scented with essential oils that promote relaxation." Studies suggest that lavender does just that: Sniffing the floral scent can lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Splendid chunky knit throw
To buy: $150; bloomingdales.com
Leeolou is also on board with stress-reducing gifts. "Psoriasis adds to my daily stress, so a gift that helps me relax and feel comfortable is really special." She recommends a cozy blanket made from fabric that won't spark itchiness, like this throw. "I love relaxing with a movie or book and comfy blanket at the end of a long day."
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Bliss softening socks
To buy: $48; walmart.com
Leeolou recommends these comfy socks for people with psoriasis on their feet. They're lined with gel, which helps maximize moisturizing potential from any creams or lotions a person might be using.
Halogen Mixed Stripe cotton shirt
To buy: $79; nordstrom.com
People with psoriasis may need to avoid certain fabrics that irritate skin, which can make finding fashion-forward clothes a bit of a challenge, says Leeolou. Gifting a special blouse can help conquer that obstacle. Make sure to stick to cotton options in light or neutral colors. "Dark colors [show] flaking, and bright colors may stain from ointments and creams," she says. Patterns easily hide stains too, she adds.