If you suffer from sensitive skin or have a skin condition such as eczema, you might find that the clothes you wear affect your skin, making you itchy or sore. If this is the case, it’s worth taking the time to look at the materials you put against your skin and to see which ones suit you the most. Not all materials are equal, and there are some textiles which are far better suited to sensitive skins than others. In general, these will be natural materials, rather than man-made. Here are a few materials which are better suited to sensitive skins.
Perhaps the most relied on material for those with skin conditions is cotton. Cotton, preferably 100% cotton is light and airy and great at keeping skin cool. The best thing about cotton is the choice; the high street is full of good quality 100% cotton clothes, bed linen and accessories to suit all ages and styles. Classic cotton shirts, vests, t-shirts and trousers are great staples to have in your wardrobe. As cotton can absorb moisture, make sure very damp clothes are removed quickly as it can irritate the skin if left on too long. Increasingly, you can now also buy recycled cotton clothes which is a great way to cut your carbon footprint and be more sustainable.
Similarly to cotton, linen is another breathable material which is perfect for sensitive skins. Linen comes from the flax plant and is a strong and durable material. Linen is a super fabric for the summer months and you can find a wide array of linen clothes such as trousers, shirts and dresses in beautiful soft linen to keep you cool when the weather gets warm. Like cotton, linen is hypoallergenic, which means that it has a very low chance of irritating your skin. It’s also a great choice for bedding too, as it is soft and less likely to irritate your skin than polycotton blends.
Another great and natural material for sensitive skins is cashmere. While it can be more expensive than cotton, cashmere is an extremely soft material and is perfect for those who are irritated easily. Cashmere is actually warmer than wool and has super thermoregulating properties – it will wick away moisture and keep your body at a regular temperature. Cashmere, while super warm, is also very lightweight and is perfect for layering up with cotton garments. As it can be more expensive, it’s a good idea to look out for a cashmere jumper or
to keep the cost down. However, cashmere is worth the investment if you can afford it.
Another natural fibre which is excellent against the skin is silk. Like cashmere, it has a reputation for being luxurious and soft, but it is also an excellent choice for those with acne, psoriasis or other skin conditions that can get inflamed. This is mainly due to silks’ antimicrobial properties and their ability to repel moisture. While cotton is great at absorbing excess moisture, silk repels it, making it perfect for those who find damp skin an irritant. Silk is also the perfect choice for pillows and bedsheets, as the friction against your skin is very low, meaning it is very unlikely to cause damage to you as you sleep. Again, silk items can be expensive, so look out for discounts on silk pillowcases, bedding or silk shirts and dresses.
We can also look to less common plant fibres for soft materials which will help sensitive skin. Bamboo is a fantastic alternative to the more expensive materials and is highly sustainable too. It’s super-absorbent, hypoallergenic and can be made into a large number of different products from socks, t-shirts to towels and even toilet paper. Unlike some cottons, bamboo is always soft and doesn’t require any fabric conditioners to maintain its texture. Lyocell is man-made but made from plant fibres and is becoming more popular on the high street. Lyocell is made from wood pulp (such as eucalyptus) and is a great substitute for silk. It’s extremely soft, eco-friendly and biodegradable too. You can find lyocell clothing, bedding and towels and it is also added to cotton clothing to make it extra soft.