Exercise can be incredibly beneficial for people living with psoriasis, both physically and mentally. But when you’re new to working out, getting started can be daunting. This is especially true when you have psoriasis and are trying to choose what to wear.

Here are some of my best tips for hitting the gym when you live with psoriasis.

Usually when it comes to dressing with psoriasis, clothing made of 100 percent cotton is your best friend. But when it comes to dressing for exercise with psoriasis, cotton can be the enemy. It can actually cause added irritation to your spots. The reason why you’d want to swap out cotton while exercising is because it absorbs moisture quickly, so your shirt will end up heavy and sticky on your skin by the time you’re done with your sweaty workout.

Normally, I’d also recommend staying away from synthetic and too-tight materials on a daily basis with psoriasis. It’s hard for your skin to breathe underneath those materials. Synthetic means that they are made from man-made fibers rather than natural fibers.

But, when it comes to dressing for exercise, throw away my normal advice. Your base layer (or only layer) of clothing should be moisture-wicking. Clothing that is moisture-wicking tends to be made out of synthetic materials. This means that the sweat is drawn from your skin, making you more comfortable when you’re active.

There’s also a difference between tight and fitted clothing. Choosing fitted clothing leads to less of a chance for skin irritation. Something that’s too tight will cause friction.

I know it’s incredibly tempting to throw on loose, baggy clothing to hide your skin, but it can get in the way of your exercise and possibly get caught in any equipment you’re working with.

Personally, I think this goes without saying, but if you’re working out in a gym or a studio, please keep your shirt on! Getting other people’s sweat and germs on your skin is gross for everyone, but it can be especially troubling for your psoriasis.

On the opposite side, when you’re done with your workout, get into the shower to rinse the sweat off your body as soon as you are able to. To avoid irritation, don’t scrub your skin too hard. Also, don’t turn the heat of the water too high. If you aren’t able to get into a shower immediately, get out of your workout clothes right away and dry off your skin before getting dressed into something dry.

While exercise is amazing for your overall well-being, certain workout clothes can just make your psoriasis worse. Take a look in your closet to see if there are any fabrics or baggy clothes to avoid. But remember, the most important thing about what you wear when you work out is to choose something that makes you feel comfortable and powerful.

Joni Kazantzis is the creator and blogger for justagirlwithspots.com, an award-winning psoriasis blog dedicated to creating awareness, educating about the disease, and sharing personal stories of her 19+ year journey with psoriasis. Her mission is to create a sense of community and to share information that can help her readers cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with psoriasis. She believes that with as much information as possible, people with psoriasis can be empowered to live their best life and make the right treatment choices for their life.