Adult woman about to dive into a lap pool while wearing modest but stylish swimwear

Swimming Time Blues

I’ve got a couple of things that make me really want to jump in a pool. One of my co-morbidities to hidradenitis suppurativa is ankylosing spondylitis, and because it affects my spine and right hip as well as my knees and heels as far as pain goes, my doctor highly recommends pool exercise. I also live in Arizona, notorious for oven-like heat. If you have ever opened the front door to your house and have had your face and hair blasted with red hot inferno just like you have opened your oven door to check on your pizza, you might be in Arizona.

My skin is not pool-friendly

But the problem with wanting to jump in the water is that HS does not make my skin pool-friendly. And actually, it does not make my skin consumer-friendly. I think I probably don’t have it as bad as others when it comes to the locations of my HS that I want to cover up. I have a few spots under my arms, but most of mine is concentrated in my groin, buttocks and some on my upper thigh. Traditional swimsuits would normally cut at my upper leg right where I have some scars and where some active spots would normally pop up for HS, and I absolutely don’t want those to be exposed to a bunch of strangers.

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I also have a somewhat warped imagination, and have an aversion to just leaving my HS lesions open to public exposure. I know public pools are treated with chemicals, but still, ew. And for all I know, people are thinking the same thing about me. Fair enough. So I always feel like if I am going to dunk my fresh flesh wounds, I should have them protected for obvious reasons. I know that some of my fellow warriors like to swim in chlorinated pools to try to get their lesions under control, but I don’t like to leave things up to chance.

Finding swimwear that works

I really debated on what would be the best solution for my bottom half. I started searching key words, which led me to “modest” swimwear and workout wear. I’m telling you, what a treasure trove! Okay, sure, I’m not going to be showing off my bikini body. But folks, I don’t have a bikini body! One of my favorite wardrobe pieces, of which I now own multiples for both swimming and working out, is a combination of skirt plus capri pants that are sewn together as one piece. The capri pants help to hold everything in place like bandaging, and then the skirt… well, it’s a skirt. I love skirts. Plus the skirt can sort of camouflage any synthetic lumps.

While we’re talking about the bottom half, this is also a great option if you also can’t or prefer not to shave, if you notice more HS lesions pop up when you do. If you have swim pants and a skirt, who is going to know about that? And hey, you get an extra bonus on not having to impress anyone on hair removal on your legs if you so choose. Maybe up to just mid-calf, or the knee? It’s up to you. But go ahead, let your garden grow!

It doesn't need to look awful to function well

For tops, there are multiple options as well. You can go as covered as you want to be, from a sports bra-type of top, to a full long-sleeved top. You may need something to cover your underarms, or your bust area, or both, and the selections available should be able to take care of you. You don’t have to swim in heavy, ill-fitting t-shirts anymore.

All of these pieces are made out of the nylon and spandex material that is generally high quality and dries quickly. Some of the prints are really cute; one of my pants/skirt combos has black and white roses on the skirt. My point is that it doesn’t have to look or feel awful in order to function well. One thing we tend to forget in society is that when one group offers accommodations or modifications of some kind, other groups benefit. My suggestion is to look into “modest” swimwear – and don’t forget the waterproof bandages!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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