Did you know your choice of clothing can make a considerable difference in managing your eczema, and avoiding flare ups?
Some materials commonly found in clothing cause overheating, sweating and irritation, which sets off the dreaded itch. Here’s some tips for choosing the right clothing for your skin condition.
Keep it natural (but no wool!)
The most eczema-friendly fabrics are those that are made from natural fibers, and are soft and breathable. These include 100% cotton, linen, silk, and hemp, just to name a few.
Cotton is usually the most commonly recommended fabric for people with eczema. Cotton is soft, smooth, great at absorbing moisture, easily washable and allows the skin to ‘breathe’. Clothing that is ‘cotton rich’ tends to have a significant percentage of polyester (which can irritate the skin), so make sure to read labels carefully to see exactly what fabrics your clothing is made out of.
Bamboo, another soft, breathable material, is highly effective in regulating temperature, absorbing moisture, and has antibacterial properties. Bamboo in clothing is usually described as ‘bamboo viscose’ or ‘viscose derived from bamboo’. This material is long and silky, meaning it’s very smooth and unlikely to cause irritation and rubbing. The processing of bamboo viscose is chemically intensive and not very environmentally friendly, but the material has the properties that make bamboo an attractive option for people with eczema.
Silk is another eczema-friendly fabric as it regulates temperature, and is soft and breathable. It’s also naturally hypoallergenic, which means it’s resistant to environmental allergens such as dust, mites, fungus, and mold.
The best clothing for eczema have: irritation free labels (sewn into side seams or printed onto clothing), soft seams, and necklines big enough so when you’re getting them on and off they don’t rub against your face.
The only caveat to this “natural fibers” rule is you should avoid wearing wool if possible. Even though wool is a natural fabric and is excellent for keeping you warm and snuggly, its rough texture can irritate your skin. Other materials you should avoid are rough and synthetic fabrics. This includes polyester, latex, wool, denim, rough linen and leather. These fabrics can trigger flares, either because they tend to trap heat (e.g. polyester), or irritate the skin (e.g. wool).
Keep it cool
During the colder months, you may be tempted to snuggle into a heavy woolen sweater. However, sweating is one of the most common causes of the horrible itch-and-scratch cycle of eczema.
You may be wondering, how do I make sure I'm warm enough in the cooler months without wearing wool or tight clothing? Simple: it’s all about layering! Dressing in layers will allow you to take off or put on layers throughout the day as it heats up and cools.
Stick to loose clothing
Tight clothing is a real trigger for eczema flare ups. Of course, wear clothes that fit your body, however, try and avoid clothing that causes too much friction, or doesn’t move with you during day to day activities.
Wash before wearing
Make sure to wash your new clothes before wearing them to get rid of any irritants which may be sitting on the clothing or any loose dyes which can irritate the skin. For peace of mind, some eczema sufferers find it beneficial to do an extra rinse cycle after you’ve washed your clothes to make sure all the detergent is rinsed out. After washing your clothes, it’s recommended to dry clothes inside the house. Clotheslines are eco-friendly, but outside allergens can sneak into clothes as they dry in the breeze and irritate your skin later on. Instead, use a dryer or use an indoor portable drying rack.
When it comes to choosing a laundry detergent, look for something natural with no fragrance and dyes. Also, using liquid detergent is better than powder soaps as it dissolves more completely in water, which means it’s less likely to stick around on clothes after a wash. Make sure your soaps, softeners, and dryer sheets are also free from additives and suitable for sensitive skin. It’s always a good idea to do your research and read the packaging before purchasing!
Snip the extras
Clothing tags can really irritate the skin, so make sure to cut off these scratchy tags and cover seams that bother the skin with a strip of silk. Before you purchase a new piece of clothing, check for buttons, trims, necklines, or other extras that may rub against your skin.
Dress for the occasion
When working out, make sure to wear the right gear that’s going to pull away moisture from your skin to keep sweat from irritating your skin. Make sure your activewear doesn’t have cuffs or bands that may set off a flare up as well.
Choosing eczema-friendly clothing which are less irritating are all part of living with eczema. This combined with a daily skincare routine of eczema products will help manage those nasty flare ups!
What else can I do?
Choosing eczema-friendly clothing and fabrics is all part of living with eczema. This combined with a daily eczema-friendly skincare routine will help manage those nasty flare ups! It’s crucial to moisturise your skin right after a shower or bath when the skin’s pores are raw and open.
Grahams Natural’s 2-step eczema cream skincare routine has provided thousands with the essential eczema relief they need! Get in a routine and keep up with your good habits and heal your skin more quickly.
Step 1: Add Grahams Body & Bath Oil to your bath and/or apply topically to the skin immediately after a bath or shower
Our Body & Bath Oil is formulated with natural olive, emu, vitamin E, and Manuka Oil to help nourish and hydrate your skin. As this product is 100% oil-based, it provides essential hydration to the skin that common skin problems such as eczema strip through the irritation caused.
Step 2: Nourish your skin with Grahams C+ Eczema and Dermatitis Cream
Our C+ Eczema and Dermatitis Cream contains clinically proven ingredients that aim to reduce the redness and inflammation on the skin. Our cream works to calm the skin with the ‘oil-in-water’ formula providing a cool, soothing feel to relieve the itching and pain commonly caused by eczema.
Note: the products can also be applied topically throughout the day, in addition to after a shower or bath. Our products are 100% steroid-free and naturally formulated so there’s really no limit to how often you can reapply!
For best results, apply Grahams Natural’s Body & Bath Oil and C+ Eczema and Dermatitis Cream as often as required to keep the affected area moist (two-three times a day). Use a small amount thinly over your skin.