As you exit the pediatric office, a wave of relief washes over you. You've received confirmation that those scaly, red patches on your child's skin are a common childhood condition – eczema. Armed with a list of recommended sensitive skin soaps and a prescription for a topical steroid, you depart with a slightly lighter heart. Yet, as you leave, lingering questions surface. You find yourself pondering: Does the choice of clothing for my child really make a difference? What is the best fabric for eczema?

As a pediatric nurse practitioner and a mother to three children struggling with eczema, I've dedicated countless hours to extensive research on this skin condition. My quest has revolved around finding the most suitable clothing solutions for my kids, aiming to minimize our reliance on topical medications. Here, I'm excited to share the insights I've gathered through my journey. We will start by reviewing what eczema is, then explore the potential triggers, and finally discuss each fabrics' benefits. 

What is Eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common and chronic skin condition that manifests as red, itchy, and inflamed patches on the skin. This condition often begins in childhood but can affect individuals of all ages. Eczema arises from a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and immune factors. Various irritants, allergens, and stress can trigger or exacerbate it. Managing eczema typically involves a combination of topical treatments, moisturizers, lifestyle adjustments, and identifying and avoiding triggers. 

What Triggers Eczema Flares?

Before we can learn about the best fabrics for eczema, we need to understand what triggers eczema flares. Eczema triggers are factors or conditions that can exacerbate or "trigger" the symptoms, causing flare-ups and increased skin irritation. These triggers can vary from person to person, and identifying and avoiding them is crucial for managing eczema effectively. Common eczema triggers include:

Irritants

Harsh soaps, detergents, solvents, and chemicals in personal care products can irritate the skin and trigger eczema flares. Fragrances in products can also be problematic for those with sensitive skin.

Allergens

Allergens like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold can trigger eczema symptoms, especially in individuals with both eczema and allergies.

Extreme Temperatures

Very hot and cold weather can be harsh on the skin and lead to eczema flares. Dry, cold air can cause skin dryness, while hot, humid weather can lead to sweating and irritation.

Low Humidity

Dry indoor air, particularly during the winter months when heating systems are in use, can strip the skin of moisture and trigger eczema.

Stress

Emotional stress can weaken the body's immune system and worsen eczema. Stress management techniques can help prevent flares.

Foods

Some individuals with eczema may be sensitive to certain foods, such as dairy products, eggs, nuts, and soy. Identifying and eliminating trigger foods from the diet can help manage eczema.

Microbes

Bacterial and viral infections can exacerbate eczema. Keeping the skin clean and practicing good hygiene can help prevent infections.

Fabrics

Rough or irritating fabrics like wool and synthetic materials can cause friction and irritation, leading to eczema flares. Soft, breathable fabrics are recommended. 

What Makes a Fabric Eczema-Friendly?

Finding eczema-friendly fabrics involves considering several key factors that can help minimize skin irritation and discomfort for individuals with eczema. Here's what to look for when selecting fabric for eczema-prone skin:

Soft and Smooth

Opt for fabrics that are soft and smooth to the touch. Rough or abrasive material can cause friction and exacerbate irritation. 

Breathable

Choose fabrics that allow air circulation to help prevent moisture buildup, which can trigger eczema flares. 

Natural Fibers

Fabrics made from natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, and silk are often well-tolerated by eczema-prone skin. 

Non-Toxic

Look for GOTS certified organic or Oeko-Tex certified fabrics. Many of the chemicals used in the clothing manufacturing process are known irritants. 

what makes a fabric eczema-friendly?

The Best Fabrics for Eczema:

Cotton

Cotton is the most recommended fabric for eczema. Why? Because it's natural, breathable, and soft on the skin. Cotton allows air to circulate, which helps reduce moisture buildup, a common trigger for eczema flare-ups. Additionally, cotton is less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin.

Is Organic Cotton better for eczema?

Yes, It is our personal favorite! Organic cotton is often considered a better choice for people with eczema than conventional cotton. Here are some reasons why organic cotton is preferred for eczema-prone skin:

Chemical-Free: 

Organic cotton cultivation avoids the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Consequently, organic cotton production involves fewer chemicals, reducing the likelihood of chemical residues that might irritate sensitive skin.

Reduced Allergenic Potential:

The absence of synthetic chemicals in organic cotton reduces the risk of allergic reactions or skin sensitivities that can exacerbate eczema symptoms.

Softer and More Comfortable

Organic cotton is often reported as softer and more comfortable against the skin than conventionally grown cotton. The absence of harsh chemicals in the growing process can contribute to its enhanced comfort.

TENCEL™️ Lyocell

Tencel™️ Lyocell is derived from sustainably sourced wood pulp and is known for its non-toxic, eco-friendly production. It's also naturally smooth and soft.

TENCEL™️ Modal

Modal fibers are known for their smoothness, which can reduce friction and irritation against the skin. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with sensitive skin.

Hemp

Hemp fabric is naturally resistant to pests, reducing the need for pesticides during cultivation. It's non-toxic and durable.

Linen

Like organic cotton, linen made from organically grown flax is non-toxic and breathable. It may be rough to the touch at first, but after multiple washes it is soft and breathable.

Silk

Pure silk is generally non-toxic and hypoallergenic. It's a luxurious option that can be gentle on eczema-prone skin.

Bamboo

While bamboo is widely considered the best fabric for kids with eczema, it is at the bottom of our list. Bamboo is processed with carbon disulfide and sulfuric acid - highly toxic chemicals. Bamboo may be soft, but there are better fabrics for kids with eczema. 

The Best Fabric for Eczema

The Worst Fabrics for Eczema Suffers: 

Synthetic Fabrics (Polyester, Nylon, Acrylic)

Fabrics like polyester, nylon, and rayon are not breathable and can trap heat and moisture against the skin, leading to increased itching and irritation. They can also create friction against sensitive skin, worsening eczema symptoms.

Wool

While wool is a natural and warm fabric, it can be very irritating for eczema sufferers. Wool fibers are coarse and can scratch the skin, leading to itching and discomfort. Some people with eczema are sensitive to lanolin, a natural wool oil that can trigger allergic reactions.

Additional Tips for Kids with Eczema: 

  1. Opt for loose-fitting clothing to promote airflow and minimize skin irritation.
  2. Wash clothing with an allergy friendly detergent.
  3. Avoid fabric softener.

Our Favorite Eczema-Friendly Styles

Our favorite styles for kids with eczema are made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. We understand the unique needs of sensitive skin, so we've chosen to use 100% GOTS certified organic cotton in our designs. This choice isn't just about comfort; it's about providing a solution that's gentle, hypoallergenic, and free from harmful chemicals. Our organic cotton styles aim to keep your kids cozy and stylish while ensuring their skin remains as happy as possible.

Best Fabric for Eczema Organic Cotton