By Dr. Eddie Valenzuela

Eczema, sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis, damages the surface of the skin and makes it more vulnerable to irritation. This means that, when you have eczema, your skin is extra sensitive to irritants like skincare products, household cleaners, and fabrics used to make clothing, sheets, and towels.

Whether you have eczema or are a parent of a child with eczema, there are definitely some fabrics that you need to avoid in order to prevent unnecessary or extra irritation.

Synthetics

Synthesized or man-made fabrics are everywhere. While they feel soft, cuddly, and light, they can actually be extremely irritating for people and babies with eczema-prone skin.

Synthetic fabrics are bad for eczema as they do not absorb sweat or let’s face it, saliva, very well. Sweat and saliva can be irritating and can cause an eczema flare-up if they are not rinsed or wiped off the skin right away.

Avoid synthetic materials, including:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Acrylic
  • Rayon
  • Spandex
  • Modacrylic

Wool

Though wool is a natural fabric, it is not ideal for use on people and babies with eczema. As anyone who has ever worn a wool sweater can attest, wool is not soft. Not to be confused with soft and light Merino wool, wool is incredibly rough. This rough texture can certainly irritate normal skin, making it almost certain that it will seriously irritate sensitive and eczema-prone skin.

What fabrics are best?

If you should avoid synthetic materials and wool, what fabrics are safe?

The best fabrics for people with eczema are those that are soft, breathable, and natural, like cotton, silk, hemp, and linen. Use these guidelines when choosing any and all items that touch the skin directly or indirectly. This means that shirts, dresses, pants, hats, gloves, socks, towels, sheets, blankets, and any other items made of fabric should be soft, breathable, and natural.

Find what works for you

Everyone’s skin is different, so some materials and fabrics that might irritate your skin might not be a problem for others. Use trial and error to find the fabrics you need to avoid and those that work with your skin.

There are other steps you can take to treat and prevent flare-ups while determining what fabrics do and do not work for your skin. For example, you can moisturize skin at least twice daily with a baby eczema cream. Also consider cleansing skin with a gentle, non-soap body wash for eczema like Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo & Body Wash. Made without irritants like sulfates and fragrances, this product is gentle enough for adults and children that are prone to eczema.