Clothing for Children with Eczema
Do you have a child with eczema? The clothing and fabrics that you choose can have a strong impact on you or your child’s skin condition. Wearing calming fabrics can help to prevent skin irritation and eczema flares.
Fabrics to Avoid
It may seem obvious, but fabrics like wool and polyester are too rough and are particularly irritating for eczema patients. Polyester might seem smooth to the touch but it’s made of tiny fibers that irritate after a short time. Synthetic fabrics also do not breath which traps moisture on the skin and can cause infections. Other fabrics to be avoided are hemp, mohair and rough linen (fine linen can be OK) all of which can aggravate sensitive skin and cause eczema to flare.
Though denim is fine for many eczema suffers, there are some people who find it to be too hot; when the fabric causes the skin to get too hot, it feels rougher. The same reaction is true of leather.
Fabrics to Choose
Tencel®, cotton, silk, and fine linen (but not rough linen) are the best fabrics for sensitive skin and eczema, and loose fitting clothing is ideal. Tencel® is the most beneficial fabric.
Studies* report that Tencel® is the superior choice for children with eczema. It has many benefits for eczema sufferers. Below is a link on why Tencel® is the most soothing fabric for eczema. Tencel® is hard to get in the United States with only one company making it for eczema sufferers – AD RescueWear.
Choosing clothing like these Tencel® products that are specifically designed for children with eczema can provide relief without the need for topical steroids:
The Rescue Suit for Eczema - http://www.adrescuewear.com/the-rescue-suit-for-eczema/
The Wrap-E-Soothe Sleeves for Eczema - http://www.adrescuewear.com/the-wrap-e-soothe-sleeves-for-eczema-sold-as-a-pair/
Wrap-E-Soothe Top for Eczema - http://www.adrescuewear.com/wrap-e-soothe-top-for-eczema/
Wrap-E-Soothe Bottoms for Eczema - http://www.adrescuewear.com/wrap-e-soothe-bottoms-for-eczema/
100% cotton is the 2nd best choice for comfort. It’s very breathable, relatively soft, and readily available. However, it’s important to be cautious with cotton, as it’s prone to bacteria and can be rough to someone with sensitive skin. See the diagram below showing cotton versus tencel® under a microscope.
Silk is another option. It has a greater ability to absorb moisture than cotton. However, it’s important to choose silk that has been specially treated to have the sericin removed, eliminating any allergic potential. Silk is made by silkworms and is then woven into the shiny, soft fabrics that we’re familiar with. These silk worms produce sericin, a sticky substance that holds the protein of the material together. Sericin is a potential irritant to sensitive skin so normal silk clothing is not optimal for eczema patients.
Tencel/Lyocell® is a great fabric for regulating body temperature because it reduces moisture while cotton, when it gets wet, stays wet. Wash your cotton clothing and/or sheets frequently and if any smell persists, discard as this can be a sign of bacteria.
Fabrics have also been developed called “functional textiles” specifically designed with the intention of managing atopic dermatitis. These fabrics are made up of antimicrobial materials like zinc, silver, special antimicrobial silk, and “anions” all of which have shown some benefit to the skin. Oil-treated fabrics also exist, and are meant to aid skin moisture levels. These functional textiles can be beneficial but they are also controversial as zinc, silver, and oil can be absorbed through the skin and some do not recommend this for children. Also, individuals that suspect or have been diagnosed with a metal allergy should not wear clothing infused with metals such as zinc or silver.
Remember, infants and young children are not able to articulate if an article of clothing is bothering them so you need to be particularly cautious when choosing their clothes. If they act fussy and pull on the fabric they are wearing it is a clue that they are uncomfortable and could be getting irritated. Make sure that you’re opting for soft, breathable, high quality Tencel® or 100% cotton. There is special clothing and pajamas available for children with eczema without tags or seams inside of the garments as well. ( www.adrescuewear.com).