Caring for the skin folds
How does psoriasis develop in the skin folds?
Moisture tends to build up in all skin folds, especially in areas subject to high levels of perspiration, such as the armpits. The skin is not in contact with the air, and becomes hot and damp, increasing the likelihood of colonisation by fungus and bacteria.
For this reason, psoriasis develops more rapidly behind the ears, under the breasts and armpits and in the umbilicus as well as in the crotch area (around the genitals and anus and between the buttocks). You should try to keep the skin folds as dry as possible, even after psoriasis has cleared.
How can I take care of these parts of my body?
You should wear loose, comfortable clothing as often as possible. The best materials are cotton or polycotton mixes. You should avoid wearing underwired bras as these can increase perspiration.
Always remember to dry skin folds carefully after washing. If necessary, you can use tissues to make sure smaller folds are completely dry.
Before you use a prescription cream, you should apply a cloth soaked in warm salt water for five to 10 minutes to the areas affected by psoriasis. Dry the skin well before applying the cream sparingly and wiping off the excess with a paper tissue.
Why does the skin crack?
The skin in the skin folds is more delicate than in other parts of the body, and cracks easily. Cracks behind the ears, under the breasts or between the buttocks can be exceedingly painful, as well as being difficult to treat. This problem is worse if you are overweight.
Lesions may clear more slowly on certain parts of the body as a result of work-related activities. For example, a receptionist will hold a telephone handset against the same ear for long periods each day, and pressure from the handset may weaken the skin behind the ear.
Moreover, cracks may host infections which need to be treated with antibiotics. Certain bacteria that are known to cause throat infections and trigger psoriasis can also infect the skin folds.
How can I look after the skin in the groin creases and the crease between the buttocks?
In warm summer weather, it can be a good idea to give the groin area (around the genitals and anus and between the buttocks) an additional daily wash. Use salt water and remember to dry the groin and buttock creases thoroughly.
What kind of clothing should I wear if I have psoriasis in the groin area?
You should wear clean, comfortable, cotton underwear. Avoid tight jeans and trousers, and it is best not to wear synthetic materials, such as lycra, next to the skin as they cause sweating. For men, boxer shorts are better than briefs as they allow air to circulate.
What precautions should I take in everyday life if I have psoriasis in the groin area?
If you are sitting at a desk for long periods, you could use a cushion with a cover made from natural materials as synthetic materials lead to sweating. The same applies to car seats.
The skin around the anus is particularly vulnerable to bacterial infection, so when you go to the toilet, moisten a piece of tissue paper, fold it and wrap it in a piece of dry paper before using it. Get rid of any traces of moisture by using a dry paper towel or a tissue, which is softer to the skin.
What should I do if I get a vaginal infection while I have a flare?
Vaginal secretions, often caused by a fungal infection, can irritate plaques in the groin area. Discharges may also be caused by bacteria known to trigger psoriasis. You should immediately consult a doctor, dermatologist or gynaecologist so that appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
The skin in skin folds is more delicate than in other areas. It cracks when it becomes excessively moist. Take care to wash it gently, try to prevent sweat building up, and dry it carefully afterwards.
- Even when lesions have cleared, it is recommended to follow certain rules of hygiene, particularly when showering/bathing and going to the toilet.