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Proactive Prevention: Clothing

One of the many proactive prevention methods that can help lessen the frequency or intensity of atopic dermatitis flare-ups is being mindful, informed, and selective about the clothing you or your child wear.

Fabrics, dyes, and tags OH MY!

Some fabrics are better for AD than others. As sweating can be a trigger or create or worsen irritation, clothes that decrease the likelihood of sweating can be beneficial.

  • Hotter or thicker clothes like wool items, knitted items, or leather and sweaters may irritate the skin of those with AD.
  • Cotton is a gentler fabric that may be a better option.
  • Other gentle breathable fabrics such as perhaps nylon and polyester may also be helpful in decreasing the likelihood of flare-ups.
  • More spacious clothing that gives the skin room to breathe and does not scratch or rub against the skin may also help prevent AD flare-ups.

Clothing may also have dyes that act as triggers for atopic dermatitis. Washing clothes (perhaps even washing and rewashing) before wearing them can help decrease irritation from dyes.

Tags on clothes may also be irritating to the skin and cause flare-ups. It is best to either select clothes that do not have tags or to remove tags from clothing, if possible, to prevent irritation.

Washing clothes before wearing

Washing clothes before wearing them can help to remove any irritants or AD triggers, harmful residue, or skin irritating chemicals embedded in the fabric.

  • Use hypoallergenic or sensitive skin detergent that is mild and gentle as well as fragrance-free to minimize irritants.
  • Try to avoid using insensitive or harsh items such as fabric softeners, dryer sheets, or scent boosters as they may cause reactions.
  • Other preventative measures include using the proper amount of laundry detergent and rinsing the clothes thoroughly with a great deal of water.

Detergents I use

I typically use All Free and Clear detergent and wash a half load of clothes but use a full load of water. This has proven very helpful for my atopic dermatitis. For my daughter’s clothes, I use regular Dreft detergent it has always worked well for her, whereas some other detergents did prove to be problematic. I also generally try to dress my daughter in spacious, roomier clothing as she is prone to sweating which is a trigger for her AD flares. She frequently wears cotton and rarely wears long clothes in the summertime to reduce her sweating episodes.

Consult your doctor about any concerns with detergents or clothing and chose what’s in yours or your child’s best interest to bring those flare-ups to an all-time low!

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.