The Best and Worst Clothing Fabrics for Eczema-Prone Skin

For people with eczema-prone skin, clothing can be a blessing or a curse. A shirt that happens to be made out of non-irritating materials can deter scratching and block bacterial pathogens that cause skin infection. A shirt made out of materials that irritate eczema can cause painful, itchy flare ups.

The dermatologists at Skin Therapy Letter assessed a variety of fabrics to come up with the best and worst fabrics for eczema -prone skin. Spare yourself the itchy pain and remember these recommendations the next time you go shopping.

The Worst Fabrics for Eczema -Prone Skin: Wool and Nylon
To understand why some fabrics irritate skin while others do not, we have to take out our imaginary magnifying glasses. Wool and nylon are composed of rough, “spiky” fibers that create friction when they come into contact with eczema -prone skin. The fibers literally rub eczema -prone skin cells the wrong way. Ironically, a major constituent of wool is keratin, a protein that is also found in human skin.

The Best Fabric for Eczema -Prone Skin: Silk
Silk fibers are strong, perfectly smooth, and cylindrical. The texture of the fibers give silk its characteristic sheen, softness, and flexibility. The threads create a completely smooth surface, which reduces skin irritation. Silk fabric can also inhibit bacterial growth.

If you want to give your skin a real treat, invest in silk sheets. A recent study showed that when subjects with mild to moderate eczema switched to silk sheets suffered from less itching and improved quality of life within 8 weeks.

A Great Alternative: Knitted Silk
Silk may get 5-star ratings from dermatologists, but it isn’t for everyone. Known for its lack of breathability, silk can upset natural moisture levels and cause discomfort. If your skin is silk -averse, investigate knitted silk fabrics, which have unique beneficial properties that reduce friction, allow the skin to breathe, and absorb perspiration. Knitted silk fabrics are often treated with a water-resistant antimicrobial finishes that prevent infection.


Edited from the Skin Therapy Letter .com article Silk Fabrics in the Management of Atopic Dermatitis.