DermaSilk® – a unique range of Therapeutic Clothing.
DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing is used in the treatment of various forms of sensitive skin conditions that affect different areas of the body across all age groups. The clothing is made of a special, knitted medical grade silk and bonded with Microbe Shield technology. It is far superior to cotton because it maintains a stable moisture balance without causing irritation to the skin. DermaSilk helps reduce the terrible ‘itch-scratch cycle’ and its special knitted construction allows the free movement of air through the fabric, allowing the skin to breathe more easily and promoting faster healing.
DermaSilk is not like any other silk garments that you can buy from shops which do not allow the free movement of air and other clothing made from standard shiny silk has not been shown in controlled clinical trials to perform in the same way as DemaSilk. Many claims are made by other manufacturers but only DermaSilk is clinically proven!
This is confirmed by Koller and his colleagues in a clinical paper which states that – “Normal” silk fabrics used for clothes are not recommended for dressing of subjects with atopic dermatitis, as these fabrics reduce transpiration and therefore may cause worsening of disease activity.
If it doesn’t say DermaSilk on the garment then it won’t do what DermaSilk does on the skin!
Antimicrobially Protected – For Good Reason
Silk is a protein fibre and as such can promote the growth of bacteria and fungi which can come into contact with it. This unwanted feature is a particular problem with eczematous skin, and those with gynaecological conditions as increased levels of bacteria can cause increased irritation. It is therefore vitally important to protect the silk from microbial contamination whilst on the wearer.
What is equally important is the choice of antimicrobial which is capable of killing excess bacteria without migrating from the fabric and does not wash or wear out over time – ensuring longevity of the garments. Safety is also important. An antimicrobial that is permanently bonded to the fabric cannot release any agents onto the skin or into the environment when washed.
The colourless and odourless antimicrobial chosen for DermaSilk fulfills both the above criteria and more. AEM 5772/5 is a physical killer of bacteria, rather than a chemical poison such as triclosan and silver. It has been used in hospitals for over 30 years where it has proven ability to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth on fabrics such as operating theatre gowns. It acts by puncturing and electrocuting bacteria and fungi, causing their instant elimination. There are no chemicals released from the silk to poison the cells and no chemicals or nano-particles are released onto the skin. No other antimicrobial is capable of protecting silk in this way.
AEM 5772/5 has been subjected to rigorous toxicity tests to ensure its safety on both intact and damaged skin. Passing these tests was vital for the fabric to achieve registration.
The antimicrobial is also environmentally friendly. A shirt treated with this technology placed in a landfill will break down to basic components in about five years. The AEM 5772/5 molecule will break down into the common carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and silicon dioxide (sand or quartz) from which it was derived.
DermaSilk does not contain silver molecules of any sort, nor any nano-particle material.
Silk vs Cotton
DermaSilk has been shown in published clinical trials to be superior to cotton in controlling itching and scratching and its effectiveness has even been compared favourably with a topical steroid cream.
Silk fibre is a protein which resembles human hair in both its physical and chemical structure. Silk is used as a non irritant thread in surgical procedures and can be applied directly onto damaged skin. It is well suited therefore for use on sensitive skin.
Silk has some extraordinary properties. It is capable of rapidly reaching body temperature and then maintaining it at a constant level. Such a characteristic is important because it helps to reduce excessive sweating which is often common in infants, children and even adults affected by eczema. This can protect the skin from a loss of moisture which otherwise can aggravate skin dryness.
Cotton is a vegetable fibre and does not have any temperature regulating capability. It can only absorb up to 10 % of its own weight and once the sweat starts to cool down, the skin temperature also goes down forcing the body to react to raise the body temperature. This generates more sweating and further moisture loss.
Cotton threads are composed of millions of very short fibres spun together. Each fibre absorbs moisture and this causes the fibres to twist and contract. This movement can irritate and scratch the already sensitised skin. This can then contribute to the debilitating ‘ itch – scratch ‘ cycle.
Can choice of clothing affect sensitive skin conditions?
Whilst emollients and in some cases steroids are usually the mainstay of treatments, clothing should also be considered as it can either be a help or hindrance in maintaining control. The options are synthetic or natural fibres.
Natural fabrics are derived from either plant fibres e.g.cotton and linen or animal fibres e.g. wool and silk
Wool fibre has frequently been shown to be an irritant to the skin and is generally avoided as a choice of undergarment material.
Cotton is a commonly used textile for patients with conditions such as eczema despite no evidence to support this. It is relatively soft but is prone to bacterial attack and has a crucial flaw in its structure as its many short (1-3cm) fibres with flat irregular sections can irritate the skin. Temperature regulation can often be a major issue with atopic skin with those overheating and sweating. Damp cotton fibres within the thread extend and contract as they absorb moisture producing an abrasive rubbing movement that may irritate the skin.
Silk is made up of a double filament of a protein called fibroin, glues together with a sticky substance called sericin. Each silk thread is up to 800 metres long, producing a perfectly smooth friction free fabric. However there are 3 reasons not to use ‘High Street’ silk clothes on sensitive skin.
First, they are made from a very tightly woven fabric which restricts the movement of air through it.
Second, the sericin in pure silk has been linked to allergic reactions. This is why surgical silk, used in sutures utilises only the fibroin component of silk.
Finally, silk acts as a natural food source for bacteria so unprotected silk is a definite ‘no-no’ when it comes to atopic skin.
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.
DermaSilk – treats all flares rather than individual flares
It is used as a preventative base layer of underclothing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, effectively replacing normal underwear and nightwear.
DermaSilk – has built in natural moisturisers
DermaSilk has natural moisturising properties, no need to add softeners to the silk; it is smooth enough on its own! Consequently it needs only a small amount of emollient to be applied to the skin before it is worn so it is extremely easy to use and the garments will wash and wear repeatedly. Less moisturiser also means less wear on the washing machine!
DermaSilk – is free of potentially sensitising dyes
Whilst fashion might dictate designer colours it is comforting to know that the majority of DermaSilk garments only come in its natural silk colour. No dyes are used in the manufacture which might provoke allergic reactions and the permanently bonded antimicrobial finish on the silk fibres protects them from contamination without sensitising the skin.
DermaSilk – has soft seam technology
The DermaSilk designers have tried to think of everything. The soft seams on the garments have minimal stitching and on the smaller garments the seams are on the outside of the garments, just to make sure.
Have a look through the rest of our website and you’ll see what we mean when we say that we really do change lives!
To get the best results from DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing, please follow this advice:
DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing is designed to be lightweight and body forming. It needs to be close fitting and in contact with the skin at all times to be fully effective.
As with all natural fibres, DermaSilk will last longer if there are a few garments rotated in use rather than a single garment being washed and worn continuously.
When used in combination with medical creams and ointments, care should be taken to ensure that the medication is fully absorbed into the skin before the DermaSilk clothing is worn. If the emollients are too thick it will create a barrier between the clothing and the skin and you will not see the best results. The garments are therapeutic in their own right so as long as the fabric is in contact with the skin it is having a beneficial effect.
Please note that the antimicrobial agent is bonded permanently into the silk and will not leach out of the fabric, even after numerous washes.
DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing Washing Instructions
- DermaSilk can be machine washed on a delicate cycle at 30 degrees using a non-biological detergent. Be sure to place the garments in a net bag to protect the fabric from snagging.
- Alternatively the garments can be hand washed.
- After washing, rinse and then place the garments on a towel to dry. Do not dry over direct heat such as a radiator.
- In areas with hard water the softness of DermaSilk can be stored by soaking DermaSilk in a solution of 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda per litre of water overnight. Then wash as above.
- Do not use fabric softeners or conditioners.
- Do not bleach DermaSilk clothing as it will damage the structure of the fabric.
- Do not tumble dry
- If necessary iron down the length of the garment with a cool iron
Please have a look at our various care videos. Please note: since we made this video Surcare have changed the formula of their detergent and it is no longer recommended for use on silk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years we have had many questions asked about DermaSilk and we’ve tried to list the most frequently asked questions in the list below. If you have any further questions please either ring us on 01462 346100 during office hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer them for you.
DermaSilk is manufactured using pure un-dyed silk. Most of the garments are only available in its natural light cream colour. We made this decision as some dyes can generate allergic reactions in sensitive skin.
The benefits of DermaSilk are most pronounced with continual use as its activity depends upon close contact with the skin.
It is the fine knit of DermaSilk which gives it the ability to allow the skin to breath and act as a “second skin”. Thicker knits would only be bulkier and interfere with the lifestyle of the patient. DermaSilk is discrete and allows wearers to escape from their condition and wear their normal clothes over the DermaSilk.
I am used to loose fitting clothing. Will there be any discomfort from wearing close fitting garments?
Loose fitting cotton clothing can be very bulky and difficult to hide under outer clothing. DermaSilk, by contrast, is designed to act as a second skin. The smooth nature of silk means that the wearer will be unaware that they are wearing DermaSilk and the ability to wear today’s fashionable clothes over DermaSilk means that the rest of the world will be unaware too.
No. DermaSilk clothes are designed to be worn discretely under any form of outer clothing. Just pick the style that suits your needs.
No. Special attention has been paid to the design of the garments. For infants the seams are on the outside of the garment and the clothing for children and adults use very small seams with over-locked stitching to prevent any raw edges coming into contact with the skin. In addition, the thread used in the manufacture has no lubricating oil on its surface. whilst this makes the manufacture of DermaSilk a little slower it is worth it as mineral oil allergies have also been described in medical journals.
DermaSilk undersocks perform a number of functions. Firstly they help to keep the feet fresh and free of odour since the Microbe Shield is capable of killing the bacteria responsible for foot odour. They are also effective against the fungi responsible for Athletes’ foot and so they help relieve the itching associated with that condition.
The Microbe Shield is a specially designed antimicrobial substance which protects the garments from contamination from a number of common bacterial and fungal microbes. It is non-toxic to humans, is permanently bonded to the silk fabric and does not wear out over time.
The Microbe Shield has undergone extensive sensitivity tests and has been used in hospitals for nearly 30 years. Furthermore DermaSilk garments have been available in many parts of Europe for nearly a decade and no reports of any adverse reactions have been recorded.
The Microbe Shield is permanently bonded to the silk by a patented process. It has been shown not to leave the silk – even after over 50 washes. Other antimicrobial coatings are designed to leave the fabric and kill organisms on the skin, but DermaSilk retains its killing power throughout the life of the garment.
DermaSilk is designed to complement the majority of dermatological treatments. However as DermaSilk works best when in direct contact with clean skin, we advise that all medical creams and ointments are fully absorbed into the skin before putting on the DermaSilk.
No. Wet Wrapping is a specialised technique used by people with specific needs for extensive emollient therapy. In this type of treatment patients have large amounts of emollient applied to the skin and then covered with a damp dressing. As the DermaSilk would not be in direct contact with the skin its positive effects would be blocked by such large amounts of emollient. DermaSilk can be used as conventional underwear once the eczema flare-up has subsided and the Wet Wrapping discontinued.
Many nurses are now finding that the use of DermaSilk prior to moving on to Wet Wrapping actually reduces the need to move to more severe and time consuming treatments such as this.
DermaSilk can be washed as often as necessary.
Silk is by nature a delicate fabric and washing by hand will help prolong the useful life of the garment. The major concern is that the shearing effect caused by the silk tangling with other clothes might rip the seams. However, if you do wish to use a washing machine please put the DermaSilk in a net laundry bag to help prevent the shearing and wash on a delicate (silk) cycle in the machine.
Fabric softeners add chemicals to the fabric of any garment and can block the gaps between the individual fibres which help to regulate temperature. Silk will stay soft for many washes without the need for a fabric softener which could also irritate the skin.
In many areas there are minerals in the water which can remain on the silk fibres after washing and rinsing. The bicarbonate of soda soak, removes the hard water residues from the silk and prolongs the life of the garment and helps to maintain its softness.
An overnight Bicarbonate soak in water can also be used to remove stubborn stains from the garments.
This is very much dependent upon the type of garment worn, the nature of the wearer, whether the garment is worn alone or under other clothing and how garments the wearer has to interchange between. It is generally expected that the garments used for infants are more likely to be out-grown rather than worn out. We have heard of some families passing the garments down to younger siblings once they have been outgrown.
Microbe Shield will retain its effectiveness throughout the life of the garment.
DermaSilk has undergone a series of clinical trials in a number of different medical conditions and has been shown to offer a positive benefit to the wearer compared with those patients who were not selected to wear it. These results have been presented at medical meetings around Europe and several have now been published in medical journals. It is this clinical information which has given the UK authorities confidence in approving DermaSilk for prescription.
My child doesn't like to wear cotton undergarments because they look unfashionable. Is DermaSilk different?
DermaSilk garments have been designed to be discrete. They are a neutral colour, so they match with most clothing and are made of a fine knit which can be “hidden” under even the most skin tight clothing. With no bulky seams, coloured stripes or loose fitting underclothes, even the most fashion conscious child or teenager should get on with DermaSilk. One of the major problems told to us by families is how they manage to get their children to take them off as they are so comfortable!
From newborn to adult in various sizes and designs.
It is thought that upwards of 5% of the UK population may suffer from some form of latex allergy and many others suffer from contact dermatitis associated with chemicals such as cleaning detergents and hair preparations. DermaSilk is almost unique in that it has a range of fingered gloves, especially designed to be used in hand eczema. These gloves can be worn alone or under protective rubber, latex, nitrile or household gloves when the hand could come into contact with skin irritants. The gloves are available in child and adult sizes and are available on a doctor’s prescription in the UK.
First and foremost think of DermaSilk as a Medical Device in the form of clothing. So whilst the initial cost may seem expensive, the overall daily cost is not. You should remember that the garment is made of pure medical grade silk with an added anti-microbial permanently bonded into the fabric and this is what makes DermaSilk durable, long lasting and so clinically effective. What price can be put on a better quality of life?