The Fabric of Our Lives With Atopic Dermatitis
Last updated: February 2020
I’ll be honest, growing up in the generation when synthetic fabrics became popular was great. There were tons of benefits. Clothing was easier to sew, fabrics didn’t shrink, and the term “wash and wear” meant no ironing. What’s not to love? Well, along with those bonus features, they also held in perspiration causing it to be uncomfortable in hot weather. Clothes could feel rough and scratchy and were heavy.
This generation still embraces the long wear and beauty of manufactured clothing. A lot has changed through the years to make it easier on our skin. Newer synthetics have a lot of qualities that can actually improve the way our skin feels. If your skin is troubled with bouts of itchiness, redness, or even if you have full-blown eczema flare, psoriasis, or other skin conditions, consider looking at what your clothing is made of.
Tips for finding clothing that is eczema friendly
- Synthetics - Chemically processed fabrics may cause an allergic reaction. This can range from mild to severe. If it is severe, avoid that fabric altogether. If a light rash occurs, it may be solved easily. Try wearing a soft undergarment next to your skin to provide a barrier between you and the offending fibers.
- Labels – If there is polyester, acrylic, or nylon, you may notice a difference. If you have a persistent rash in certain spots, such as chest or back, there may be a problem with that item of clothing. Before you buy, look at the label. My granddaughter is quite a sleuth at the mall. She first feels the fabric, but that is not enough. She inspects the label and if there is too much polyester, she will turn it down no matter how good it looks on her.
- Softness – Occasionally, even natural fiber clothes can become stiff and can be itchy. Check the softness of your water. Try a fragrance free liquid softener in the washer, or a dryer sheet to soften things up. Fabric with “pills” can create chafing on your skin. In that case, try shaving the clothing with a disposable razor. If that doesn’t work, you may have to give away or discard the item. We received blankies and dresses given at a baby shower that were re-gifted to friends.
- Temperature– You might consider how the fabric affects your body’s temperature. A fabric that is loosely woven will allow your skin to “breath”, which is great. But it can also let cold air in and create a chill. Solve that by using layers. A soft natural undershirt, shorts, or panties, can keep warm air circulating near your skin. Then the outer clothing can be added or taken off for comfort.
You may have loved the polyester suit and dress in Saturday Night Fever, but with skin problems, we have to be careful. No matter how good we look in something, it isn’t worth it to squirm in discomfort because the fabric is not right. Discover the difference by checking out the labels of what you wear.
Do you read the labels of clothing before you buy the garment (or wear it) to see what the clothing is made of?
How does your emotional health relate to your physical health?
Join the conversation