Eczema-Friendly Clothing and Laundry Tips [A Comprehensive Guide].
Introduction - Eczema Clothing
Irritants come in various forms, and sometimes, the clothes you wear can trigger your eczema. Choosing the right clothing materials can help regulate your body temperature, prevent itching, and avoid irritation. In this guide, we will explore the best clothing materials for those with eczema and provide helpful tips to keep your clothes clean and eczema-friendly.
Our trusted partners at Eczema Clothing are experts in designing garments specifically for those with sensitive skin conditions. Here, they share years of wisdom on the best materials and several pro laundry tips aimed at preventing skin irritation. You'll also find a range of a range of their clothing in the Proton Health app!
Best Clothing Materials for Eczema-Prone Skin
When selecting the most suitable clothing for eczema sufferers, it is essential to consider the fabric's properties. Natural materials like organic cotton, silk, Tencel, and bamboo are known to be gentle on sensitive skin, breathable, and hypoallergenic. Moreover, they contribute positively to the environment. These smooth fabrics lack harsh textile fibres that can prick and irritate delicate skin.
Organic Cotton: A long-standing choice for eczema sufferers, organic cotton is a natural fabric with inherent softness and stretch, making it perfect for sensitive skin. It is absorbent, breathable, and durable, retaining its shape after washing. Organic cotton requires less water in its cultivation than standard cotton and is certified by organisations like GOTS to ensure no chemicals or harmful dyes are used. It is easy to care for and can be washed at 60 degrees Celsius or higher, effectively removing house dust mite allergens and residues from creams or dead skin.
Silk: A natural fibre produced by insects for their nests and cocoons, silk can be cultivated without pesticides or fertilisers. Known for its strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal, silk offers softness, breathability, and moisture absorption. Wearing silk can feel luxurious – a welcome treat for those coping with inflamed or irritated skin.
Tencel: A relatively recent addition to eczema-friendly materials, Tencel is the trademark name for Lyocell – a type of rayon invented in the 1980s. Made from wood pulp mixed with a solvent, Tencel fibres are compostable, biodegradable, and produced using less water and energy than non-organic cotton. Although chemical compounds are involved in its production, they are not present in the final fibres. Tencel is highly absorbent, making it suitable for wet wrapping or managing excess sweat. Its antibacterial properties are also beneficial for skin prone to cracking or bleeding, which increases the risk of infection.
Bamboo: Bamboo is a soft, lightweight fabric that has gained popularity in recent years. With moisture-wicking and absorbing properties similar to Tencel, it helps keep skin dry while offering hypoallergenic and antimicrobial benefits. As a fast-growing plant that doesn't require pesticides, bamboo is considered an eco-friendly and sustainable fibre. However, the process of converting bamboo fibres into thread for weaving or knitting does involve chemicals.
Pro Tips for Washing Your Clothes in an Eczema-Friendly Way
Choose Liquid Over Powder Detergent: Liquid detergent is generally more suitable for sensitive skin as it leaves behind fewer residues that could irritate the skin. Use just the necessary amount - about two tablespoons per load. Overloading can result in residue on clothes and clogged washing machines.
Opt for Unscented Products: Despite their allure, scented products often contain perfumes and dyes that are unsuitable for eczema or sensitive skin.
Select Non-Biological Detergents: Non-bio washing detergents lack enzymes that can aggravate itchy skin. They are budget-friendly, and many supermarket brands offer them. An excellent plant-based option is Ecover ZERO Sensitive Non-Bio Laundry Detergent, accredited by Allergy UK.
Look for Hypoallergenic Products: Given the correlation between eczema and allergies, hypoallergenic laundry products can be beneficial. Avoid products containing SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate), a known irritant. Products labelled as hypoallergenic or carrying the Allergy UK Seal of Approval are generally safe choices.
Avoid Fabric Conditioner: While it might be tempting to use fabric conditioner for softer clothes, it can reduce the breathability of the fabric fibres, especially in fabrics like cotton, reducing their benefits for eczema sufferers.
Consider Eco-Friendly Options: EcoEgg's Laundry Eggs are a sustainable, allergy-friendly alternative to washing powder. Certified as 'Excellent' and holding the Allergy UK seal of approval, they can last up to 70 washes.
Pay Attention to Washing Temperature: Different fabrics require different washing temperatures. Cotton can tolerate up to 60 degrees Celsius, perfect for removing creams and dead skin. Silk, Bamboo, and Tencel should be washed at a cooler 30 degrees Celsius.
Wash Clothes Before Wearing: Always wash new clothes before wearing them to remove any potential irritants.
Use Net Bags for Sensitive Garments: Wash delicate items like silk in net bags or pillowcases to protect them during the wash.
Wash Clothes Inside Out: This is especially important for items like mittens and gloves, which come in direct contact with sensitive skin.
Don't Mix Colours: Washing coloured and undyed fabrics separately prevents dye contamination.
Choose the Right Drying Method: While tumble drying isn't the most environmentally friendly option, it softens the fabric better than fabric conditioner. An alternative is gentle ironing.
Use Allergy Cycle or Extra Rinse: If you're allergic, use the allergy cycle on your washing machine or run an extra rinse to remove traces of powders or liquids.
Don't Overload Your Washing Machine: Overloading can lead to residue on clothes and promotes mold growth in the machine. Always leave the door open after washing to allow the machine to dry out.
Use a Double Rinse Cycle: A double rinse cycle can help ensure that all detergent is effectively removed from your clothes.
Clean Your Washing Machine Regularly: Run an empty wash above 90°C with a biological washing powder or soda crystals to help keep your washing machine clean and functioning optimally.
Protect Your Hands When Hand-Washing: If you're hand-washing clothes, wear protective gloves to prevent any potential irritation from the detergent. Alternatively, consider investing in a machine with a hand-washing programme.
Conduct a Test Wash: Before fully committing to a new detergent, do a test wash to see how your skin reacts.
Dry Clothes Naturally: If possible, avoid using a tumble dryer and let your clothes dry naturally. The heat from a dryer can make fabrics rougher and potentially irritating to eczema-prone skin.
Prefer Detergents Free of Optical Brighteners: Optical brighteners are chemicals that make clothes appear whiter and brighter. They remain on the clothes after washing and can irritate sensitive skin.
Ditch the Dryer Sheets: Dryer sheets often contain fragrance and other chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. Opt for fragrance-free dryer balls instead.
Consider a Laundry Detergent Designed for Babies: These detergents are often formulated to be gentle on the skin and could be a good choice for people with eczema.
Remove Clothes from the Washer Promptly: Leaving clothes in the washing machine can promote mold and mildew growth, which can cause or exacerbate skin irritation.
Pay Attention to Your Clothes' Care Labels: Always check the care labels on your clothes. Some fabrics require specific washing instructions to avoid damaging the material, which could potentially irritate your skin.
Avoid Detergents with Colourants: Like fragrances, colourants can be irritating to sensitive skin and should be avoided.
Store Detergents Safely: Keep all laundry products out of reach of children and pets, and avoid direct skin contact when using them.
Avoid Using Bleach: Bleach can be harsh and irritating on the skin. Instead, use a non-chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach if you need to brighten your whites.
Limit Fabric Starch: Fabric starch can stiffen clothes and potentially irritate sensitive skin. Use it sparingly, if at all.
To wrap up, looking after your skin when you've got eczema is not just about what you put on it, but also what you wear. Eczema Clothing, our partners, understand this better than anyone. They've spent years crafting clothes that soothe and protect sensitive skin, helping you keep irritation at bay.
Choosing the right materials, like organic cotton, silk, Tencel, and bamboo, can make a big difference, as these fabrics are gentle on the skin and let it breathe. Equally important is how you wash and care for your clothes. Following our laundry tips, such as using liquid detergent, opting for unscented products, and washing at the right temperature, can help prevent your clothes from becoming a source of discomfort.
Remember, you can find a variety of Eczema Clothing's products in the Proton Health app. Check them out, and see how they can help make your day-to-day life more comfortable.
We hope this guide gives you a few more tools in your toolbox for dealing with eczema. It might take a bit of trial and error, but with the right clothes and laundry routine, you can help keep your skin happy and healthy.