When it comes to taking care of our skin, we often focus on what products we are layering on our skin to maintain a luminous glow. Most of us don’t actually think about the fabrics that come into contact with our skin every day and how that could be affecting your skin’s health. You may be able to toss on your favorite wool sweater or skin-tight jeans and not have a problem. But for those of us whose skin tends to be prone to irritation or experiences eczema or psoriasis, we need to choose our fabrics carefully. By making the wrong choice, we experience the unpleasantness of itchy rashes for at least a few days. Sensitive skin is fairly common. It is skin that is easily irritated by external factors; however, the reaction one experiences vary from person to person. In addition to having the right skin care routine, the shirts, bath towels, or bedding you buy can influence whether your skin is calm and soft, or inflamed and irritated.
In general, the more processed something is, the more likely it isn’t great for consumption. Fabric is the same way. One of the most basic tips for people with sensitive skin is to avoid synthetic fibers. Nylon and polyester are the two most common synthetic fibers. Most of us live in yoga pants even outside the gym but this can be a reason as to why your legs feel itchy and irritated after taking them off. Synthetic fibers don’t allow the fabric to breathe. These products also tend to offer moisture-wicking benefits that appeal to those of us who sweat a ton at the gym. The problem here is, where does the moisture go? It turns out the fabric holds onto the sweat your body extrudes so if you don’t change your clothes after a hard gym session or hop in a quick body shower, you can be affected by skin issues like folliculitis, which infects the hair follicles on your body and causes red or white pimple-like bumps.
Of course, some natural fabrics can also cause skin irritations. Wool is an all natural fabric, but anyone with sensitive skin who has tried to don a cute wool sweater knows just how costly that cute outfit can be. Even if you don’t typically have sensitive skin, wool clothing can cause immense itchiness. The source of wools irritating properties can either stem from an allergy to lanolin or that it’s scratchy, rough texture is simply irritating. If it breaks your heart to completely get rid of your favorite wool sweater, a great alternative is to purchase merino wool, which is still wool but much softer as a result of finer fibers. Another solution is to reduce the amount of direct contact the wool has with your skin. This can be done by putting a protective layer underneath, preferably cotton.
Many of us are familiar with cotton, the proclaimed “Fabric of Our Lives,” but not all of us are aware of the benefits that cotton fabrics have. Across the board, 100 percent cotton is the best for sensitive skin due to its soft and breathable qualities. The breathability of cotton adds two more incredible benefits. First, research shows cotton bed sheets make for a better night’s sleep because it won’t trap heat under your covers causing excessive night sweats. Second, because cotton is so breathable, it doesn’t retain odors like oil-based fabrics. When you’re cooking dinner or enjoying a campfire, your clothes will be safe from the different odors. For us lazy people, this means we can save a few trips to the hamper between wears. Not to mention, the money you will save on water and energy by not washing your clothes so often will help you buy even more clothes! When you do wash your cotton fabrics, however, you can completely leave that job to the washing machine. Cotton is a low maintenance fiber so it is easy to wash and care for, eliminating trips to the dry cleaners. Additionally, it can be used for any occasion. The fiber is so versatile that it can be woven into various other fabrics such as corduroy, chambray, lace, and velour. It is also an added bonus that cotton is so durable. Clothing made from this fabric will last a long time and won’t fall apart upon first wear. So go ahead, splurge on that LBD because you will end up having it for the long haul!
Another great fabric is silk. Perhaps one of the best qualities about silk is that it helps to prevent aging. The fabric itself contains natural protein, 18 essential amino acids, and natural cellular albumen, helping to combat the effects of aging and speed up the metabolism of skin cells. Unlike cotton, silk is not an absorbent. It will not absorb the natural oils or beauty moisturizers from your face and hair, therefore, providing better hydration for your skin. In addition to being a great anti-ager, silk it has many other health benefits. It is naturally hypoallergenic making it ideal for those who suffer from asthma, allergies, or sensitive skin. Hir specialists recommend the use of silk bedding because it can help prevent hair thinning. Due to the way cotton is weaved, it can grip and tug individual hair strands causing damage and breakage. It also stimulates hair hydration because of its anti-absorbent quality. Another added benefit of silk is that it can help those with Parkinson’s disease. Sleep problems are common among people with this disease due to stiffness and discomfort. Thus using silk bedding, a fabric with less friction, will help if you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties turning in bed.
Due to the manufacturing process of today’s world, many fabrics are made with irritants and dyes. It is important to take that into consideration when determining what fabric is best for you. Yes, cotton is one of the better fabrics for our skin, but if you typically have reactions to artificial dyes, then a hot pink cotton blouse may not be the best option for you. But remember, when it comes to choosing fabric for clothes, choose what makes you feel beautiful and confident! As for any other fabric, you may buy? Choose whatever you like best! Just be aware of the types of fabric that may cause you irritations.
The White and Elm team