Long, loose-fitting clothing, makeup, and bandages can cover psoriasis flares on the legs. A person may also benefit from speaking with a doctor about treatment and avoiding triggers.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that causes inflamed, scaly patches of skin. It most commonly affects the skin on the knees, elbows, and scalp. However, it may also affect other areas of the body, including other parts of the legs.

Psoriasis can lead to scarring, skin thickening, and changes in skin pigmentation. Hypopigmentation happens when the skin becomes lighter than it used to be, and hyperpigmentation occurs when it becomes darker.

This article lists six ways a person may wish to manage psoriasis symptoms or markings on their legs.

A person with psoriasis on their legs walking wearing a long skirt and tights.-1Share on Pinterest
Ivan Andrianov/Stocksy United

Getting treatment for psoriasis can help limit the inflammation that causes symptoms such as scaling, dryness, and discomfort. It may also help prevent scarring, skin thickening, and pigment changes.

A doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments for psoriasis:

  • Topical treatments: This may include medicated ointment, cream, lotions, or foams. Topical therapies containing corticosteroids are common.
  • Systemic treatment: Doctors may prescribe oral or injectable medication, such as immunosuppressants, oral retinoids, or biologics.
  • Phototherapy: This type of treatment uses UV light from a special lamp or light unit.

Regularly applying moisturizer may also help limit psoriasis symptoms.

Cosmetic treatments are also available to help reduce the appearance of scarring, skin thickening, and pigment changes. Examples include:

  • medicated ointments, creams, and other topical treatments
  • microneedling, microdermabrasion, or dermabrasion
  • laser or light therapy

Risks of cosmetic treatment may depend on the type of treatment but can include burns and skin reactions. A doctor can help people learn about the potential benefits and risks of different treatments.

Certain triggers can cause a flare of psoriasis symptoms on the legs or other areas.

Common triggers for various types of psoriasis include:

  • skin injury, including piercings, cuts, scrapes, sunburns, and insect bites
  • new tattoos
  • cold, dry weather conditions
  • hot temperatures and sunburn
  • stress

People can take steps to limit exposure to these triggers on the legs, such as:

  • avoiding getting tattoos on the legs
  • wearing long pants or applying sunscreen and bug repellent to bare legs when spending time outdoors
  • wearing warm clothing that covers the legs in cold weather conditions
  • moisturizing the legs regularly in dry conditions
  • using lukewarm rather than hot water to bathe and shower
  • avoiding the use of hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas

Where possible, limiting stress may also help prevent flares of psoriasis symptoms.

A person may wish to wear clothing to cover the psoriasis symptoms and markings on their legs. This could include:

  • pants
  • leggings
  • tights
  • knee-high socks
  • a long skirt

People with psoriasis on the legs may find wearing loose-fitting pants or a loose skirt more comfortable than tight clothing. Tight clothes that rub against inflamed skin may increase irritation and other symptoms.

It may also help to wear clothing made from soft, breathable fabrics, such as cotton, silk, or bamboo. These materials may help reduce friction and sweating, which can worsen psoriasis symptoms.

Applying camouflage cream or other makeup may cover discoloration from psoriasis on the legs. Camouflage cream is a type of makeup that contains a lot of pigment to cover discoloration.

It may be best:

  • waiting at least 10 minutes after using topical treatments before applying makeup
  • flexing or bending the knees or other joints when applying makeup to those areas
  • layering a loose powder, fixing spray, or both on top of camouflage cream

A person may need to try multiple makeup products or mix various tints to find the right product and color tone for their skin.

Some makeup products may cause irritation and worsen psoriasis symptoms. It may help to choose products free of common irritants, such as fragrances and glitter.

Patch testing

A person can perform a patch test to learn whether a makeup product irritates their skin.

To patch test, apply the product twice a day to a small area of skin where it is not likely to wash away and leave it on for as long as someone would typically wear it.

Ideally, it is best to perform this test 7–10 days in a row to learn how a product affects the skin. If the person does not develop a skin reaction or a flare in psoriasis symptoms, they can use the product on larger areas.

A person should remove a makeup product immediately if it causes a skin reaction or a flare in psoriasis symptoms.

Using makeup to cover psoriasis symptoms or markings may be more effective if the skin is relatively flat. It may be more difficult to cover lesions or scars that are very rough or raised.

A person can use a clean, sterile bandage or other dressing to cover psoriasis symptoms or markings on their legs. This may be more effective if the area is relatively small.

Some adhesive bandages are available in various colors to match different skin tones.

Psoriasis symptoms may affect a person’s body image, self-esteem, and mental health. If people feel self-conscious or anxious about psoriasis symptoms, they can speak with a doctor, who may recommend changes to their psoriasis treatment plan.

They may also refer a person experiencing these feelings to a mental health professional who can help with managing anxiety or other mental health effects.

Psoriasis in other areas

Although the strategies above are potential ways to cover psoriasis on the legs, they can also apply to psoriasis patches on other areas of the body.

This may include those adjacent to the leg, such as the knees, ankles, and feet.

Getting treatment for psoriasis can help reduce active symptoms and prevent complications such as scarring, skin thickening, and pigment changes. Cosmetic treatments are also available to manage changes in skin appearance.

During a flare, a person may also find it helpful to cover psoriasis symptoms or markings on the legs and other areas with clothing, makeup, or bandages.