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Atopic Eczema

Atopic dermatitis/eczema is a chronic relapsing inflammatory skin condition that usually starts during the first months of life and can continue into adulthood. It impairs the barrier function of the epidermis which can result in trans-epidermal water loss and the penetration of environmental allergens into the skin which set off immunological reactions and inflammation. In addition the stratum corneum is highly susceptible to colonisation by various bacteria, mainly staphylococcus aureus which can exacerbate skin inflammation by secreting superantigens which further activate inflammatory cells.

Control of these factors is important for effective management of the disease and whilst emollients and steroids are the mainstay of treatment, clothing can also be considered as an additional part of the everyday eczema treatment regime.

DermaSilk is made from knitted sericin-free silk. This ensures that it is hypo-allergenic and the knit of the fabric allows air and moisture to pass through it. It also has a greater ability to absorb and disperse moisture than cotton, making it a natural candidate for an atopic friendly fabric. Finally, the incorporation of an ‘antimicrobial shield’ permanently bonded to the fabric protects the silk from antimicrobial attack.

By simply adding DermaSilk to your eczema management you will have less inflamed skin, reduced itch and overall will feel more comfortable in turn leading to a better quality of life. If you’re still unsure, please have a look at this link to see what others say.

Long Term Use of DermaSilk vs Cotton

In a study lasting 2 years children wearing DermaSilk were compared to children wearing indentically styled underwear and a record of their topical steroid usage was recorded for both groups. After 2 years of almost continuous use the children wearing DermaSilk had used 60% less topical steroids than their cotton wearing couterparts – reflecting a significant drop in flare frequency and severity. The authors concluded that the use of silk clothes may be useful in the long term management of atopic dermatitis in children, a conclusion that has been supported by a number of other studies. Please see our Clinical Trials section for full information.

There is a sound evidence base to show that DermaSilk should be the fabric of choice for children and adults with atopic dermatitis.

  • Children itch less, sleep better and are more alert during the day
  • Parents get more concentrated sleep and have fewer battles with children and their medications
  • Adults have a better quality of life as the symptoms are better controlled
  • Eczema flares are less severe and less frequent when wearing DermaSilk
  • Fewer flares means fewer trips to the GP and possibly fewer hospital referrals

Lower Leg Conditions

Gravitational eczema, also known as varicose or stasis eczema is a common skin condition which affects the lower legs of adults. If left untreated, the skin can break down to form ulcers, which are then difficult to heal. It is usually seen in middle-aged or elderly people, but it can occur from teenage years onwards. It is more likely to occur if you have high blood pressure, varicose veins, or had a deep vein thrombosis or phlebitis in the past. Women have a much higher chance of developing gravitational eczema since female hormones and pregnancy increase the risk.

The pressure of the blood in the veins is greater in the lower leg than anywhere else in the body when we stand up. As we get older and less active the blood moves less well up our veins and can collect in the lower legs.

If the leg vein walls are weak, they cannot hold a high pressure in them and varicose veins develop, appearing as dark blue wiggly, raised bulges on the legs’ surface. Fluid can pool in the lower legs and ooze through the vein walls into the surrounding space, causing the ankles to swell. This becomes especially noticeable in the evening after a day spent standing up during hot weather, when the legs ache and feel heavy. Blood may then leak through the very small vessels, causing red-brown speckled spots to appear on the skin which becomes hot and itchy – tiny blisters can also appear, usually just above the inside of the ankle.

Over a period of time, if left untreated, the skin becomes thin and fragile, and looks shiny and flaky. This skin may crack if it becomes over-dry, or if scratched or picked. Trauma to that area can also break the skin and cause further irritation. If left untreated, the wound can deepen and widen, and the resulting wound is called a varicose ulcer, also known as a venous, or stasis, ulcer. These ulcers are typically found just above the inside of the ankle. They often ooze and can attract bacteria, both of which can aggravate the surrounding skin, making the eczema even worse.

Gravitational eczema can be helped in a number of ways

  • Exercise is important – a spot of brisk walking twice a day or climbing stairs, can help push blood through leg veins.
  • Keeping the skin soft and supple by using emollients prevents the skin from cracking. Lightly apply the emollient in smooth downward strokes so that the skin glistens. Do not use a circular motion or apply it upwards as this will cause the emollient to clog your pores and irritate the skin.
  • Hot water will cause dehydration of the skin and itchiness – so bathe or shower in cool to warm water.
  • Avoid using soap and bubble bath – these dry out the skin and can irritate the eczema.

If the skin becomes hot and inflamed, begins to ooze or look different, or if you feel feverish and sweaty, see your doctor, since a skin infection could be starting. This type of eczema can be an on-going problem. The condition flares and wanes but if a good skin care routine is in place it will help to prevent the eczema starting up.

DermaSilk in lower leg conditions

DermaSilk undersocks have been specially designed to be worn close to the skin where they help to prevent over-heating and the drying out of delicate skin around the ankles and lower leg. They also maintain a stable environment for the legs and calm and control irritated skin on the feet.

The DermaSilk Knee-Length Undersocks are not only used to maintain skin integrity but are also used as a liner under compression hosiery to protect the skin from the damaging effects of latex of the compression hosiery. Their smooth silky outer surface also assists in the application and removal of compression hosiery, reducing the risk of accidental damage to the skin.

The bonded antimicrobial in all styles of socks also protects against both bacterial and fungal infection such as Athlete’s Foot.

DermaSilk 70cm Graduated Tubular Sleeves have been specifically developed for those with larger limbs, including lymphoedema patients. The tubes stretch to variable degrees along their length to ease the irritation on the limb with discomfort or added compression.

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Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the skin that results from an external substance coming into contact with the skin. This can occur through one of two mechanisms.

Irritant contact dermatitis is responsible for approximately 80 per cent of cases of contact dermatitis. Irritants are often encountered at work (occupational) although other common irritants are soaps, detergents, food and cement. Almost all workers in occupations such as hairdressing, cleaning, metal engineering, building-site work and horticulture develop some degree of irritant contact dermatitis. An irritant dermatitis is most likely to occur on the hands.

Allergic contact dermatitis accounts for the remaining 20 per cent of cases. In this condition, the cause of skin inflammation is a hypersensitivity reaction. The commonest allergens are nickel, fragrances, rubber, some plants, formaldehyde, skin medications (including topical corticosteroids) and hairdressing chemicals.

The symptoms vary depending upon the type of dermatitis. The appearance of acute irritant dermatitis can range from a mild reaction consisting of transient redness to a severe painful burn with blistering. Chronic irritant dermatitis often begins with a few patches of dry, slightly inflamed skin that become thickened with time.

Early allergic contact dermatitis starts with the features of eczema developing at the site of contact, e.g. an itch under an earring or along a waistband that contains rubber. The itch can develop into an area of redness with swelling and even small blisters that weep. The reaction can extend beyond or occur in a different place from the site of contact. If exposure to an allergen persists, the skin becomes drier, thicker and scalier with a change in colour.

Allergic contact dermatitis usually occurs 48 to 72 hours after exposure, and will wax and wane depending on exposure.

DermaSilk in Contact Dermatitis

The hands and feet are a major problem in contact dermatitis and whilst it is not always possible to fully remove the source of the irritation the use of DermaSilk gloves and socks can have a major positive impact on its management. DermaSilk gloves have no seams and are long enough to cover the wrist area. They are made with the DermaSilk on the inside protected with a wicking material called Coolmax® knitted onto the outside giving the gloves additional durability and can be worn either on their own or under other protective gloves to help calm the symptoms. The socks act as a base layer to calm and control irritated skin on the feet.

Thrush

This is an infection involving the Candida yeast. Candida is present in all of us and it normally lives in the gut in equilibrium with other resident organisms. Problems arise when this equilibrium becomes unbalanced, leading to an overgrowth of the yeast.

Symptoms

The infections from Candida are characterised by symptoms such as itching, burning, pain and dyspareunia (pain during intercourse). Sometimes, a whitish discharge can be seen. Recurrent infections are common, often because the symptoms are managed but not the cause.

Causes

When the vaginal ecosystem becomes altered and the pH changes it creates the ideal conditions for Candida infections to develop. This can happen as a result hormonal changes or the use of antibiotic therapies Other factors such as reduced immunity, diabetes and digestive disorders can also contribute to the development of Candida. Inappropriate hygiene methods plus the use of close fitting synthetic clothing may also contribute to recurrences.

Did You Know That….?

  • Approximately 75% of all women suffer from at least one episode of vulvovaginal candida in the course of their life;
  • In 40-50% of these patients, Candida is a recurrent problem;
  • 18% of women with no symptoms have test positive for Candida infection;
  • At any one time 5-8% of the women have active Candida symptoms;
  • Children can also be affected by Candida

How does DermaSilk Help?

The effectiveness of DermaSilk Intimo in recurrent thrush has been demonstrated in clinical trials. In one study the effect of DermaSilk underwear was assessed in the treatment of a group of patients who suffered from a particularly persistent and resistant form of recurrent vaginal thrush. All the patients recruited had been suffering from recurrent vulvovaginal thrush for an average of 2.4 years and had in the 6 months prior to the start of the study been treated with standard preventative antifungal therapy but despite this had continued to suffer relapses and vulvar irritation.

The 96 patients involved in the study were divided into two groups: Half wore DermaSilk underwear and the other half pure cotton underwear. All continued the standard antifungal therapy for the entire observation period of 6 months. Neither the patients nor the doctors knew which group they were in.

Results

At all stages of the study, the women in the DermaSilk group reported a much more marked and progressive improvement in terms of itching, burning, redness (erythema), vulvar irritation and swelling (oedema) than the women in the cotton group. The improvements in those who used DermaSilk continued for the entire duration of the study, whereas in some of the women who wore cotton underwear the symptoms returned after 3 months.

The study showed that the use of DermaSilk also helped to reduce the number of recurrences experienced during the 6 month study period.

32/48 (66.7%) of the DermaSilk patients had none or one recurrence during the 6 month study compared with only 17/48 (35.4%) of the patients wearing cotton.

Please note: The use of these briefs are recommended as an additional treatment option and are not intended to replace any medication prescribed by your Medical Practitioner.

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Jock Itch

Fungal infections around the groin are quite common in men. The so called “Jock itch”, also known as tinea cruris is a fungal infection of the skin in the groin. The warm, moist environment is the perfect place for the fungus to grow and anything that enhances that environment puts the person at risk of getting jock itch. Therefore, wearing sweaty, wet clothing in the summer time or wearing several layers of clothing in the wintertime causes an increased incidence of jock itch.

The rash of jock itch starts in the groin fold usually on both sides. If the rash advances, it usually advances down the inner thigh. The advancing edge is redder and more raised than areas that have been infected longer. The advancing edge is usually scaly and very easily distinguished from normal skin. The skin within the border turns a reddish-brown and loses much of its scale. Jock itch is normally treated with topical creams or ointments since the fungus only affects the top layer of skin. If the rash is very red and itchy, especially if it has blisters at the edge, a topical steroid such as hydrocortisone may also be applied. Steroids should not be used in the groin alone without consulting a doctor since steroids alone can make the rash of jock itch much worse.

Jock Itch Prevention

To prevent jock itch from occurring or re-occurring, several measures may be taken:

  • Wear loose fitting underclothing.
  • Avoid sharing clothing and towels or washcloths.
  • Allow the groin to dry completely after showering before covering with clothes.
  • Antifungal powders or sprays may be used once a day to prevent infection.

DermaSilk in Jock Itch

The DermaSilk fabric fulfils all the requirements for helping to cope with Jock Itch. Firstly, the silk fabric allows the skin to breathe, reducing moisture and temperature traps that encourage the growth of yeasts and fungi. Secondly the Microbe Shield finish deters the growth of both bacterial and fungal contaminants.

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is the term used to describe women who experience the sensation of vulval burning and soreness in the absence of any obvious skin condition or infection, usually as a consequence of irritation or hypersensitivity of the nerve fibres in the vulval skin. The sensation of burning and soreness of the vulva can be continuous (unprovoked vulvodynia) or on light touch to the vestibule (entrance to the vagina) e.g. from sexual intercourse or tampon use (provoked vulvodynia or vestibulodynia). Many women have symptoms which overlap between both conditions. Treatment options include drugs such as gabapentin and amitriptyline, and vestibulodynia often benefits from a multi-disciplinary approach – local anaesthetic creams, psychosexual counselling, pelvic floor physiotherapy and rarely surgery.

Symptoms

The pain, burning and soreness associated with vulvodynia can vary from mild discomfort to a severe constant pain which can prevent sitting down comfortably and have a detrimental effect on day-to-day functioning – sleeping, working and sexual intercourse. Itching is not usually a feature of the condition.

Causes

It is likely that a number of factors cause vestibulodynia, but often no identifiable cause can be found. Some women have a sudden onset of symptoms following a specific event; commonly a severe attack of thrush followed by topical anti-thrush treatment, or after giving birth. For a minority of women with vulvodynia, back problems such as slipped discs can cause spinal nerve compression and cause referred pain to the vulval area.

Background Information

Vulvodynia is not a sexually transmitted infection and cannot be passed on to a partner. It is not a form of vaginismus (involuntary tightening of the vaginal muscles), though vaginismus can develop as a response to pain. It is a medically-recognised physical condition and does not have a psychological cause. The symptoms of vulvodynia are often mistaken for thrush and repeated use of topical anti-thrush treatments can make the condition worse.

How does DermaSilk Help?

DermaSilk can help all women stay healthy, but is particularly useful in managing some of the common sexual health conditions that can severely disrupt women’s lives, often causing physical (and emotional) upset, irritation and pain. The range is proven in clinical trials to significantly reduce the symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus and Recurrent Candidosis (Thrush) and to reduce the frequency of candida recurrences.

DermaSilk may also be of benefit in the management of Vulvodynia, Bacterial Vaginosis, Herpes, Genital Warts (HPV), the menopause and other women’s health issues.

A recent clinical study, observing women with vulval discomfort as a result of skin conditions, infections or non-specific vulval pain, showed that at least two-thirds experienced an improvement in social activities, sleeping and sexual relationships through wearing DermaSilk over a four-week period. All participants in the study commented that our briefs had helped their condition. Compared to baseline, the scores for pain, burning and irritation were reduced by an average of 75%, 63% and 65% respectively over the four week period.

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Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen Sclerosus is a chronic, recurrent condition of the skin and mucous membranes which generally affects the ano-genital region. It is most common in older women and can lead to scarring and degeneration of the skin and mucosa around the genitalia. There is no cure, though treatment with strong topical corticosteroid creams and ointments helps to control the condition.

Symptoms

Lichen Sclerosus is characterized by changes in the skin of the genital area that becomes thin and faded and develops small white patches which can join up over time. The most common symptom is itch which is often more intense during the night and with the progression of the disease. Localised burning, pain and dryness also occur and sufferers may experience pain during intercourse and difficulty urinating.

Causes

The causes of the disease are not completely clear, though it may run in families. It is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Background Information

Lichen Sclerosus is not thought to be common although figures vary according to different authorities. Some suggest that as many as 1 in 300 women have this condition but it is often undiagnosed or confused with Candida (Thrush) by clinicians. Whilst it is most common in adult women it can also affect pre-pubertal children and adult males too.

How does DermaSilk Intimo Help?

The effect of DermaSilk underwear was investigated in 42 women suffering from chronic, long standing vulvar Lichen Sclerosus. All patients were prescribed a strong topical steroid cream to be used once daily on the affected area. Half of the patients were randomly chosen to use DermaSilk briefs. The other half were used as a control group and instructed to use only cotton briefs. Neither the patients nor the clinicians knew who was in which group. The briefs were used exclusively throughout the 6 month study period.

Results

Symptoms such as itching, pain, burning, dryness and dyspareunia (painful intercourse) were markedly reduced within the first month in the DermaSilk group in comparison with the control group. At the end of the study the improvement obtained in the DermaSilk® group was significantly greater than in the Cotton group, leading in many cases to the complete disappearance of the symptoms.

The investigators concluded that DermaSilk was significantly more effective than cotton in relieving the symptoms of Lichen Sclerosus.

“Perhaps, most importantly, all patients decided that they wanted to continue using DermaSilk, even after the observation period was complete.”

These results have allowed DermaSilk briefs to be listed BY BRAND in the European Guidelines for the Management of Lichen Sclerosus. No other silk briefs can do what DermaSilk Briefs can.

Menopausal Symptoms

Menopause is a natural process that occurs because of a decrease in the function of the ovaries, which also control oestrogen production and usually occurs between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five, although it can occur much later, or much earlier. It occurs when a woman has her final period and this is confirmed when a woman doesn’t have a period for twelve consecutive months. Most women experience natural menopause, but some may experience artificial, or premature menopause. Artificial menopause usually follows a medical intervention, such as a hysterectomy, radiation treatment to the pelvic area or the removal of the ovaries. Premature menopause refers to when a woman stops menstruating before she is forty years old and can occur due to smoking, heredity or exposure to chemicals.

A woman can experience a variety of menopause symptoms including:

  • hot flushes and night sweats
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • dry skin and hair
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • weight gain
  • vaginal dryness
  • bone density loss
  • changes in libido and sexual enjoyment

There are a variety of menopause treatments, both natural and medical, that can help alleviate the symptoms of menopause.

DermaSilk in Menopause

DermaSilk clothing can offer a positive benefit for women going through the menopause. Firstly, the silk has the ability to help reduce the irritation associated with dry skin and will help to maintain a healthy skin – much the same as it does in eczema.

Secondly, DermaSilk worn at night can help reduce the adverse effects of night sweats since the silk fabric can absorb up to 1/3rd of its own weight in moisture before it feels damp. This moisture becomes locked away in the core of the silk and means that the skin stays drier for longer and so there is less likelihood of you waking during the night because you feel damp.

Thirdly the briefs are helpful in calming Vaginal Atrophy. This is a rather common condition, sometimes referred to as vulvo-vaginal atrophy (VVA) or atrophic vaginitis, which affects many women, most often following menopause.

Alleviating the Symptoms of Chemo and Radiotherapy Treatment

Modern treatments for treating cancer are becoming more and more effective but many of them still carry side effects which can reduce a patient’s quality of life.

Sometimes the level of side effects can become so intolerable that the only course of action is to postpone or discontinue doses of chemo and radio therapy which obviously is not ideal. The aim of any treatment regime must be to allow the prescribed treatment to complete in the most appropriate time with the most appropriate doses.

Radiotherapy treatment can induce “burns” on the surface of the skin where the dose is administered. This can happen immediately upon commencement of treatment or can happen up to several months after radiotherapy has been discontinued.

Similarly, certain chemotherapeutic drugs can cause the patient to develop skin problems which may vary from acne-like spots to generalised lesions across the whole body. One of the worst side effects causes the palms of the hands and soles of feet to become red, inflamed and blistered. Hands can lose sensation, making it difficult to hold objects or even fasten buttons!

Many departments are now using moisturising creams to help reduce the effects of these symptoms but recent studies have suggested that DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing can play a significant role in the rehabilitation process.

DermaSilk in Radiotherapy

DermaSilk clothing has been shown to help reduce the risk of skin damage caused by radiotherapy in a small pilot study involving patients with breast, head and neck and anal cancer. All patients wore appropriate DermaSilk garments for the duration of their radiotherapy course.

All patients completed their radiotherapy courses within the allotted time with no delays due to side effects. Compliance was high and there were no cases of skin infections or need for pain relief.

DermaSilk was shown to protect the skin, reducing the inflammatory process and accelerating tissue regeneration, leading to an improved Quality of Life. Click here to view the poster presentation

DermaSilk in Chemotherapy

43 Patients with various forms of chemotherapy induced skin problems were enrolled in the study. All carried on with their prescribed chemotherapy whilst wearing the DermaSilk for the duration of the observation and for several months afterwards.

61.9% of the patients reported a significant improvement in their symptoms and 38% reported a good improvement after one month of usage. Skin integrity (as measured by trans-epidermal water loss) improved significantly and the clinicians noted that the improvement in the symptoms and clinical signs was greater with DermaSilk compared with their previous experiences before using DermaSilk.

The authors also noted that no patient suffered a relapse of their skin symptoms during the 4 month follow up, despite continuing their chemotherapy. Click here to view the poster presentation.

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