The health of your skin is vital, particularly when you are prone to irritation, and having sensitive skin can be a nightmare when shopping for clothes. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon are rife within the world of fast fashion and are notorious for exacerbating conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
Natural materials are renowned for being kind to skin due to their moisture-wicking, heat-responsive and breathable properties. To protect your body’s largest organ, it’s worth considering fabrics that don’t trigger uncomfortable and painful symptoms, so here are some excellent natural fabrics to include in your wardrobe.
Organic cotton is a tremendously soft, eco-friendly option for clothing and soft furnishings. Ethically harvested and manufactured without the use of harsh chemicals, this sustainable material reduces water pollution by five times compared to conventional cotton. Organic cotton is a fantastic choice of material for baby clothes due to its feather-soft, naturally hypoallergenic qualities, so it could be an equally ideal choice for your sensitive skin. Consider organic cotton for your bedsheets and basics, such as t-shirts and tank tops.
Linen is made from the strong fibres of the flax plant, making it up to three times stronger than cotton. While cotton is soft and supple upon purchase, these characteristics deteriorate from excess wear and washing over time. On the other hand, linen is relatively tough, to begin with, but becomes softer with age. Linen is an excellent temperature regulator, making it ideal for a summer wardrobe, keeping your skin cool, dry and protected.
The commercial growth of hemp is highly sustainable – in fact, the hemp plant can re-grow up to three times per year. Like cotton and linen, hemp is also incredibly durable. What sets it apart is its water absorbency, making it an exceptional canvas for natural dyes. As artificial colours are notorious for exacerbating irritation and inflammation, naturally dyed hemp material is a safe choice for those with skin conditions.
Silk is a natural protein fibre that comes from silkworms – the caterpillars of the domestic silk moth bred commercially for the production of silk. This delicate, luxurious material may be pricey, but its smooth surface is thermoregulating and hypoallergenic. Ideal for products like bonnets and pillowcases, silk is excellent for sufferers of dry hair and skin due to the fact it absorbs significantly less water than other fabrics, reducing moisture loss.
Another pricey yet exemplary option of feather-soft, hypoallergenic fabric is cashmere – one of the world’s most sought-after fibres. Due to their double fleece, cashmere goats can tolerate plummeting temperatures as low as -18° C. Cashmere fibres are obtained from the fine, downy undercoat, which is why this fabric is famed for its remarkable insulation properties. Not only that but when cared for properly, cashmere is incredibly durable and will last for generations.
Somewhere between leather and wool lies shearling. This extraordinarily insulating fabric is made from the skin of a sheep or lamb with the fleece still intact. Womens shearling coats have been exceptionally popular for decades for their timelessly chic appearance and practicality. Shearling garments won’t aggravate sensitive skin, offering breathable warmth and protection from airborne moisture. Although shearling isn’t the most waterproof fabric available, it can tolerate moderate showers without damage.
Leather has long been a top choice for footwear and outerwear. Made from animal skin, most commonly cowhide, leather is one of the most versatile materials known, with variants as soft as suede and as robust as full grain. With the correct care and attention, a high-quality pair of leather boots will last up to five times longer than faux-leather alternatives. While authentic leather is considered hypoallergenic, it may cause some people to experience contact dermatitis, so double-check before investing.
Merino wool is a natural fibre obtained from merino sheep, considered much softer and kinder to skin than other forms of wool. Due to its excellent thermoregulating properties, merino wool is often used to manufacture thermals and walking socks. Able to absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture before feeling wet to the wearer, merino wool is the ideal option for winter wear when you need extra insulation and protection from the elements.