I have noted in other blog posts that I am, for the most part, unconcerned about my personal appearance, be that in general terms, or specifically due to my psoriasis. And this remains the case. However, there is one scenario that does give me some qualms – and that is the act of going swimming.
I guess that this is the pastime which involves the fewest items of clothing – at least in public anyway - and therefore the greatest exposure of my damaged skin. It is for this reason that I don’t go to the local pool, or in fact any other. Frankly – when you are a kid, going to the pool is ‘fun’. As an adult, it is classed as ‘exercise’. And I don’t do exercise. But the beach – that’s different. No matter your age, the beach should be fun.
Life by the coast.
As a child, living near the South coast of the UK, I always loved the beach. Now, living on the South coast of Wales (that’s still in the UK, by the way), nothing much has changed. Sadly – being that I do live in Wales – not actually the wettest place on earth, but very close – the weather curtails most of my beach going activities. So I restrict my semi-nakedness to my summer holidays abroad.
There are plenty of upsides to this – great weather, warm seas and the fact that it is highly unlikely that I will meet anyone I know whilst wearing my budgie smugglers.
I am joking of course – there should be a law that prohibits men my age, size and lack of muscle tone from wearing a pair of Speedos. I may well start a petition to get it outlawed. So anyway, in the defence of dignity I always wear swim shorts.
But I admit – at times I am that guy – sat on a stunning beach in glorious weather, still wearing most of his clothes. I look around and see my kindred spirits – mostly gentlemen of an older persuasion (and some ladies, too) – with long trousers, long sleeved shirt and a heavy book, sat on their lounger refusing to bare any flesh. I know not their reasoning, only my own – I’m embarrassed.
Whilst my long sleeved friends often remain resolute, I do, eventually, strip down to nowt but my shorts. Once that moment occurs, I care no more. I do what most guys seem to do – strut around the beach thinking that I look like some kind of perfect physical specimen, looking around to see who might be ‘checking me out’ in my god-like form.
On the whole, the beach experience is good for my skin. There is no question that the sunshine is beneficial, and I also believe that the salt water has positive effects. I am also strongly of the opinion that sun-tan lotion is good, too. I freely admit to being quite intermittent with my application of topical lotions for my psoriasis. And whilst sun-tan lotion has no specific properties that might aid the condition, they do moisturise. The need to reapply regularly – because a sun burn on psoriasis is awful – means that the moisturising effect is increased, which can only be a good thing.
The down side
So, it’s all good news, right? Well; not entirely. There is a ‘but’ – and mine is a big butt.
I have discovered that psoriasis and damp do not mix. Whilst most of my skin improves on a beach holiday, the hours spent sat on a sun lounger in damp shorts makes the psoriasis on my backside look like I’ve been chased out of a field by an irate farmer with a shotgun. And a buckshot bum hurts, too. I take multiple pairs of shorts to change into after each dunk in the sea, but still, the dampness prevails and my bottom screams "no more".
Overall, I love it at the beach, and my psoriasis causes few problems. And even though I consider myself to be overweight and rather unattractive, looking around a busy beach I can see many others that look in worse shape than me, skin condition or not. With that in mind, my psoriasis is neither here nor there. I would need to be covered head to toe before it stopped me from enjoying myself.
02 September 2018