Eczema is a dermatological condition that presents as an inflamed irritation of the skin most often caused by allergic reactions. The most common form of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis and results in symptoms such as rash, dry flaky skin, and frustrating itchiness in the affected areas. Eczema sufferers often have numerous allergies and can have various triggers, including the fabrics found in some types of clothing:
Although wool is a natural fiber that is mainly made of keratin, the same protein as human skin, it is not great for eczema sufferers. Often considered a soft material it can actually be quite coarse and irritating even to non-sensitive skin types. Not all eczema sufferers have a bad reaction to wool but many do and it can be dependent on how fine the wool fibers are. Very finely woven fibers in wool can often be tolerated but the more coarse the weave the more likely it is to trigger symptoms of eczema.
Acrylics, while not a fabric from which clothes are made, are however used in textile bindings, fake eyelashes and nails. It is in these ways a eczema sufferer may come into contact with acrylics. The chemical compound found in acrylics known as acrylate is an irritant and an allergen. Contact with acrylics is minimal in clothing but they can be present which means sensitive skin could be exposed and an attack may be triggered.
Polyester is a particularly problematic material for eczema sufferers for two main reasons. The first issue is that polyester is a waterproof material which means that sweat on the skin does not get drawn away as it might with other fabrics. As a result this can cause irritation to sensitive skin and worsen the symptoms of eczema. The second problem with polyester is its small coarse fibers which can be very irritating even to resilient skin. This means sensitive skin can be greatly irritated by this man made fiber.
As children are most prone to eczema, materials like rayon can be a problem. Ironically, many baby clothes are made of rayon which is a material similar to polyester. Used mainly for its flame resistant properties it can tend to make the wearer warm and as a result, sweaty. This sweat stays against the skin and the small fibers make the situation worse causing irritation and eczema flare ups.
Another synthetic fiber just like rayon and polyester is Nylon. This fabric causes the same issues as all synthetics and also like other man made fibers it is often full of chemicals. These toxic chemicals, although not dangerous in terms of inhalation or ingestion, can cause extra irritation to the skin. When you combine this with the lack of ventilation for sweat and fine coarse fibers it is not a suitable material for eczema sufferers.