When you have a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, and sensitive skin, the last thing you want is for your clothes to irritate your condition. They cause you to engage in the ‘itch-scratch’ cycle, which only makes things worse. Did you know certain fabrics are more skin-friendly than others? Read along to explore one particular fabric that may calm your skin with delight.
History of Silk
Silk is a natural fabric dating back to China circa 26th century B.C. It’s attributed to the Chinese Empress Si-Ling, the Goddess of the Silkworm. Si-Ling raised silkworms and designed a loom for making silk fabrics. Silk was used for art, decorations, and clothing. It was important to the Chinese economy as a form of trade.
Circa 400 B.C., Alexander the Great introduced silk to Europe. Christians used it for clothing and altars. Nobility followed suit and had their clothing made of silk.
The Chinese protected their silk-making techniques with the threat of death by torture. But like most secrets, it eventually got out. The silk-making process was smuggled to Japan, India, and Spain.
Benefits of Silk for Your Skin
Silk is regarded as the “Queen of Fiber.” It’s lightweight, resilient, and feels lustrous on your skin. The long, smooth, cylindrical fibers that make up silk are not abrasive so it does not cause friction on skin or clothing dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). The natural fibers of silk are tightly woven together decreasing the skin’s loss of moisture.
Silk is hypoallergenic; therefore, it’s good for sensitive, itchy skin. Silk wicks sweat away from your skin. This prevents natural skin bacteria, which lessens your chances of getting skin rashes. Silk also has a greater ability to absorb sweat than cotton.
Manufacturers do not treat silk with harsh chemicals to make it soft, wrinkle-free, waterproof or shrink-resistant like other fabrics. Although the manufacturers wash out these chemicals, small amounts are captured in the tight weave of the fabrics, which cause skin allergies.
Silk regulates your body temperature. It keeps your body heat in when it’s cold. Silk’s breathability keeps you cool on hot days and warm nights.
With all the benefits of silk for people with sensitive skin, some may be irritated by the sericin in silk. Sericin is a gelatinous protein that cements the two fibroin filaments in a silk fiber. Alpretec, Allergy Prevention Technology, remedied this problem with their therapeutic line of silk called, DermaSilk®. They have removed the sericin from silk making it sensitive skin-friendly. DermaSilk® is similar to medical grade silk used for stitches.
Cotton is usually recommended for people who have skin conditions because it is soft. Cotton actually irritates sensitive skin because it has short stubby fibers. When cotton absorbs sweat, or moisture, it extends and contracts causing an abrasive rubbing movement to sensitive skin.
Cotton is also prone to infestation by bacteria and fungi. The protein fibers of silk make it less susceptible to microorganism attacks that lead to mold and mildew.
People who suffer from eczema exacerbate their condition by wearing synthetic fabrics. Synthetic fibers are made from petroleum. This causes greater irritation and itching for the eczema sufferer. Therefore, nylons and polyesters are not a good choice of fabrics.
If you suffer from skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and sensitive skin, make sure that your clothes are loose fitting, light, and breathable. And if you’re not sensitive to silk, keep your skin calm by slipping into silk garments.