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!