What are the Best and Worst Fabrics for Eczema?

When your child suffers from eczema, it’s difficult to know what to dress them in to avoid aggravating their itching and sensitive skin. With atopic dermatitis becoming increasingly common amongst children, there are now a variety of eczema friendly fabrics and even some specialist eczema clothing that can help to ease suffering and discomfort.

Clothes, Fabrics for Eczema, Lifestyle
What are the Best and Worst Fabrics for Eczema?


Depending on the clothing fabric you choose, an infant’s clothes and pyjamas can either trigger or ease their eczema. While fabrics such as cotton, silk, bamboo, and Lyocell are eczema friendly, medical experts advise against wool and other rough fibres.

As a general guideline, try to choose fabrics for atopic dermatitis that are lightweight and absorbent. With heat and sweat being cited as triggers of itching and discomfort, selecting cooling fabrics that absorb sweat will help to minimise flare-ups.

Best eczema friendly fabrics 

Let’s take a look at some the best and eczema friendly fabrics for children.

Cotton

Cotton is particularly comfortable for children and babies with eczema. Some major benefits of cotton clothing are that it’s loose, soft, and breathable, meaning it doesn’t cling to the skin and is less irritating for baby eczema sufferers.

While cotton is absorbent, great for eliminating sweat on the skin and reducing heat-stimulated skin irritations, if cotton doesn’t dry properly it can become abrasive and prone to harbouring bacteria or fungus. This can be avoided by regularly checking your child’s clothing and pyjamas for sweat, especially in the summer. If it’s hot, humid or you notice any dampness, simply swap their clothes with another dry garment to prevent excessive moisture.

Silk

Silk is quickly becoming the new favourite eczema friendly fabric for parents of children with eczema because it’s smooth, lightweight, soft, and comfortable. Unlike cotton, silk is naturally anti-microbial, reducing the risk of skin infections. In some studies, silk has proved to be better than the standard of care treatment and/or cotton clothing for easing symptoms of baby eczema, including itching, discomfort, redness, and dryness.

If you’re looking for some soft eczema mittens or comfortable, anti-scratch clothing and pyjamas for children with eczema, there are a variety of great silk and cotton blends which are designed to minimise scratching and reduce inflammation.

Modal

Modal is a fabric made from wood fibres taken from beech trees. Although Modal is typically considered a synthetic fabric, which we usually advise against when managing baby eczema, Modal is well-liked by eczema sufferers because it absorbs moisture, is breathable, and very soft.

Lyocell (Tencel)

When on the hunt for eczema mittens, pyjamas, and clothing, Lyocell is also great as it is soft, breathable, and prevents moisture. Like Modal, Lyocell is made from wood pulp and contains anti-bacterial properties which help to reduce risks of infection and prevent itching in infants.

Bamboo

Bamboo is another great fabric for eczema clothing. Like all eczema friendly fabrics, bamboo is absorbent, soft, and anti-bacterial, which explains why it is so often used in masks, bandages, towels, and bathrobes.

Micro-fibres

When it comes to clothing fabrics for eczema sufferers, several micro-fibres have been developed specifically for sensitive skin. These are usually extremely smooth and soft, and in some cases may be more absorbent and less irritating than cotton eczema clothing.

Like silk, one drawback of micro-fibre clothing is that it can be more expensive. But if your child suffers from severe baby eczema, wearing base layers made from these specialist micro-fibres can really help to ease itching and skin irritation.

Worst eczema clothing fabrics 

While there are fabrics that can ease eczema symptoms, many synthetic and rough fibres can also trigger irritation and skin flare-ups for those who suffer from sensitive skin.

Wool

When treating a baby with eczema, you will usually be advised to avoid wool. Woollen clothing can be a skin irritant for those who don’t suffer from eczema, so for sufferers, this is only exaggerated. The ends of the fibres in the wool tend to push against the skin, stimulating the nerve endings, and causing irritation.

If woollen clothing is made from Merino wool, it can be softer and thinner than regular wool and may be tolerable for some eczema sufferers. However, it is best to avoid any kind of wool where possible, especially as woollen clothing can contain traces of natural lanolin – a common eczema trigger.

Synthetic fibres

Other fabrics to avoid in eczema clothing are any that are made from synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, and spandex. Synthetic fibres are made with chemicals which can irritate sensitive skin and cause a histamine reaction in which the skin becomes inflamed, triggering itching.

Many eczema sufferers will also experience a polyester allergy, known as textile dermatitis, which causes dryness, rashes, tenderness, itchiness, swelling, blistering, and redness when the skin comes into contact with polyester.

Fleece

If you’re hunting for some warm, eczema friendly pyjamas or jumpers for your little one, we advise you to avoid anything made with fleece. Fleece is a synthetic fabric that is manufactured with polyester fibre. Not only does fleece make infants warm (something which should be avoided when treating eczema), but it also carries with it all of the allergens associated with polyester and other synthetic fibres.

Consider other clothing elements 

In addition to the clothing’s fabric, also bear in mind clothing elements like dyes, fasteners, seams, labels, waistbands, and high necklines – all of which can cause irritation and rub against your child’s skin. There is a wide variety of specialist eczema friendly undergarments, pyjamas, and scratch mittens available which are built specifically with these things in mind to help avoid eczema flare-ups and ease your baby’s suffering.

When taking care of an infant suffering from baby eczema, it can be stressful to know what clothing to choose and what to avoid. This explanation of eczema friendly fabrics should help you to know what to look out for when buying clothing for your itchy infant, so you can ease their discomfort night and day.

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