Psoriasis and Swimming: Don't Let Stares Put You Off
Last updated: January 2020
Swimming is one of the best ways to exercise. Doing full lengths of the pool helps to perform all muscles in your body. Whether it’s that you want to do or just go for a jump, swimming is a good way to cool down, have a laugh and get some exercise in.
Unfortunately, for those of us with psoriasis, taking a trip to a swimming pool can be a tiring and arduous affair. Worries may consume us that people are looking or staring at our plaques, or you may have anxiety about leaving flakes on the poolside or in the pool as you swim.
Tips to overcome insecurity about psoriasis when swimming
I’ve got a few tips to share with you on how to have a successful swimming trip. I, like you, avoided the activity for quite a while because of what people might think. Honestly, even now I only go very rarely while still remaining very apprehensive about it.
Find a quiet time to go swimming
If you’re going to a swimming pool or planning a summer vacation, try and do it as a less busy time. You can even call the pool you plan to visit and ask them if they have suggested times when they are less busy. The morning, for example, before work, could be a good time to swim a few laps without having so many people there.
This will make you feel more comfortable and you’ll have fewer worries about eyes being on your skin rather than your fantastic swimming regime.
Don't let psoriasis defeat you
Psyche yourself up before you go. Keep telling yourself that no-one is looking at your scales and that even if someone is looking at your scales, it’s not a reflection on you, but a reflection on them. Keep doing that for 10 to 15 minutes, and play some happy or positive music.
Do things to try and psyche yourself up and hopefully you’ll feel better and calmer.
Find a private pool for swimming
We don’t all have friends who own their own swimming pool, but if it’s getting your clothes off and having people stare at you that worries you, it might be good to find someone or someplace where you can strip off and enjoy the pool without that worry.
Perhaps even think of a paddling pool for your back garden where you can get used to the water and being without clothes.
You are not alone in your psoriasis journey
I am writing this piece now telling you that I have been in your shoes. I have been on vacation, had a hotel pool and avoided using it because of my skin and people looking, staring or asking questions. Lots of people have been in your position and I promise you, I have too.
You need to remember that you cannot do anything about your condition. You didn’t want it, and you didn’t ask for it, so stop putting unnecessary blame on yourself. If someone does ask about your skin, be brave, and say you have psoriasis, it’s not contagious and you’re just trying to live a life like everybody else.
Don't force yourself to swim
I know this sounds like a bit of a silly get-out clause, but it’s not. If it bothers you that much, find something else to do like going to the gym or doing home workouts. If you're just trying to get out, you can always socialize by going bowling, going to the movies or order take out at home.
Whatever it is, do what makes you feel comfortable, not what you feel inclined or pressured to do.
Find a way to enjoy your psoriasis swim
Swimming should be a pleasurable activity, but even hanging in a hotel swimming pool can be good fun too. Try and have a go on the diving board or order some drinks as you soak in the water.
Don’t be put off by any unusual looks or stares and remember to be kind to yourself. You’re on a special journey and the destination is bright.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?