Skin Problems and Treatments: Clothes Tips for Eczema

Stick to natural fabrics that don't irritate skin.

Be Choosy With Fabrics

Some fabrics can set off flares, either because they trap heat (polyester), or irritate skin (wool). Stick to 100% cotton, bamboo, or silk clothing as you build your wardrobe.

Dress in layers to prevent sweating, which may aggravate eczema.

Keep it Cool

When temps are high, make sure your clothes won't overheat you. Sweating is one of the most common causes of the itch-and-scratch cycle of eczema. Dress in layers you can take off or put back on as the day heats up and cools. Choose lightweight fabrics that let skin breathe.

Wear loose clothing, not tight clothing which can trigger eczema flares.

Loosen Up

Tight clothes are a flare trigger. Wear clothes that fit you well, don't cause too much friction, and have room to move with you (especially during exercise) so your skin isn't under pressure.

Wash new clothes before you wear them to remove chemicals that may irritate skin.

Wash Before Wearing

Love the smell of a just-bought frock? Your skin may not. New clothes sometimes have chemicals such as flame retardants and formaldehyde left over from the manufacturing process. Give your outfits a good wash before their debut.

Remove tags and cover seams on clothes if they will bother your skin.

Skip the Extras

Remove scratchy tags from clothes and cover seams that bother skin with a strip of silk. Before you buy, check for buttons, trim, necklines, or other extras that might rub you the wrong way.

Wear moisture wicking clothes during workouts, but only if they won't irritate your skin.

Dress Well for Workouts

Gear that pulls moisture away from your skin can help keep sweat from irritating you. But it may also feel scratchy, so choose with care. Make sure the gear you wear doesn't have cuffs or bands that will set off a reaction, too.

Use fragrance free, dye free laundry detergent, softener and dryer sheets to protect sensitive skin.

Wash Smart

When it comes to detergents, fragrance and dyes are not your friend. Check to be sure your laundry aids -- soaps, softeners, dryer sheets -- are free of these additives and safe for sensitive skin.

Choose liquid detergent over powder soaps because you can use less and still get your clothes clean.

Avoid Powder Soaps

Liquid detergent dissolves more completely in water, which means it's less likely to stick around on clothes after you wash them. You can get away with using less than the bottle says you need and still get a good cleaning.

Use an extra rinse cycle when you wash your clothes to remove as much detergent as possible.

Do an Extra Rinse

For peace of mind, run your wash through an added rinse cycle after you've washed it to be sure all the detergent is rinsed out.

Dry clothes inside on a clothesline or use a dryer because allergens may stick to clothes hung outside to dry.

Dry Clothes Inside

Clotheslines are eco-friendly, but outside allergens can sneak onto clothes as they dry in the breeze and irritate your skin later on. Use a dryer or find a spot to string up your drying line inside.



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  • National Eczema Society: "Clothing and eczema."
  • Yale Medicine: "Eczema and Dry Skin: 5 Tips to Help Kids This Winter."
  • American Academy of Dermatology Association: "Eczema: Tips To Help Your Child Feel Better," "Eczema Types: Atopic Dermatitis: Tips For Coping."
  • Eczema Foundation: "Atopic Eczema: Tips For Clothing And Detergent."
  • National Eczema Association: "Eczema in Winter,” “Eczema and exercise."
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