Why Eczema Clothing?
Since clothes and pajamas are worn almost 24 hours in a day, it is important to wear clothes that will not further irritate skin in those with eczema. We will talk about different apparels and material that will hopefully help and not further exacerbate your child’s eczema.
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Protect the face with “Scratch Me Not” Sleeves/Mittens
I love these. If you are reading this in 2019 and after, you are lucky that this company sells these products online now. I had to drive 2 hours to get these sleeves for my child in 2012, but they are readily available for shipping now.
These sleeves have silk so if your child scratches, it will not scratch or injure the skin. They can be flipped to open up for your child’s hands to stick out. This allows them to use their hands as well.
I will flip out the silk portion at night because my child tends to scratch his face during their sleep and I can’t keep a constant eye on them while sleeping as well. It has worked well to protect their face and also preventing inflammation from intense scratching.
Wet Wrapping: Way to Hydrate Skin
Wet wrapping helps to lock in moisture applying a moist cloth around the area of eczema and then using a dry bandage to provide compression and keep the moist cloth over the patch of skin with eczema. Another cost effective method I have found is using an athletic sweat band which already provides compression from the elastic material but it also has cotton which helps hold the moisture.
Eczema Pajamas with Mittens
I have seen pajamas with built-in mittens. The benefit of this type of apparel is that it’s all in one, but I personally find it restricting because you’re limited in your ability to choose clothing styles. I would rather have a separate shirt/pants/onesie and use a scratch-me-not sleeve or other mittens to cover the hands so my child doesn’t scratch. This way, I feel I have more freedom to pick and choose my child’s clothing options. Also, as your child outgrows their clothing, you have to buy new clothing. If you have sleeves or mittens, your child will most likely still be able to wear them for a long period of time because the size of the sleeves is big enough that your child can grow in them before replacing them.
Underwear- what materials to look for
Some underwear contains polyester and latex which can cause eczema to flare up. 100% cotton undergarments are a good option for those with sensitive skin as it is less irritating. .
Should pajamas and clothes be breathable?
Clothes and pajamas should be breathable to allow the air to ventilate through the clothes and into the skin. If the air doesn’t ventilate, moisture will become trapped and lead to other issues such as fungal infections on skin. Cotton is the best material for this. Also, cotton also has another feature of absorbing sweat quickly away from the skin.
What fabrics are OK for eczema pajamas and clothes?
Cotton: Cotton provides good breathability and absorbency, but this can be an issue. As cotton absorbs moisture, it can be abrasive and irritate the skin. So it’s a good idea to check cotton clothing every several hours and change it if it’s moist or damp.
Silk: Besides cotton, silk is also acceptable for sensitive skin if you desire, however, I wouldn’t buy silk clothing with the thought that it’s better than cotton or other material. A recent study looked at whether adding silk to the stand of care for eczema (ie using emollient and topical steroids) provided additional benefit. Unfortunately, there was no benefit both in relief of symptoms and financially. In fact, silk can be quite expensive. If you like it and want to use it for your child, it doesn’t appear to make eczema worse for your child. If you do decide to go for silk clothing, watch out for sericin which hold the silk together. Some people including children can be sensitive to this so you want products that are sericin free, such as Dermasilk. (1)
Benefits of silk include moisture absorbing ability, good breathability. It’s also very soft and easily tolerated by those with sensitive skin.
Silk is very delicate. It should be washed in a gentle setting on your machine and in a mesh bag to protect it. Cotton on the other hand does not require these precautions. It is more durable to washing on heavy duty settings for machine washers.
What materials to avoid in clothes and pajamas for eczema
Wool: This is considered a natural fabric, but it should be avoided because of its rough texture which can irritate your child’s eczema.
Polyester: This is a synthetic fabric that should be avoided because they are not as breathable as cotton and thus trap sweat and moisture. This can exacerbate your child’s eczema.
Other synthetic materials that can further irritate eczema skin include: acrylic, rayon, acetate, nylon. During the manufacturing process, these fabrics are made with chemicals.
How often should I wash pajamas?
Personally, my children wear their pajamas only once before washing. So I do laundry once a week and I have 7 pairs of clothing for them to wear in a week. The reason why I do this is because they sweat during the evening, especially in the summer. Sweat keeps the clothing moist and attracts dust mites as they feed off the skin you shed overnight. Exposure to dust mites can exacerbate your child’s eczema.
Cut the Clothing Tags
The clothing and pajamas tags can irritate your child’s sensitive skin. I would consider removing the tags but cutting them off as close as possible to the clothing. You can even consider covering the area that the tag was cut with silk or cotton material so the stub doesn’t cause irritation.
Is your child comfortable in their eczema pajamas and clothes?
Look at your child’s reaction to a particular clothing they are wearing. If they are acting more fussy or pulling at the clothing, take that as a sign that perhaps your child is not tolerating their clothing. Babies and young children cannot articulate so be wary of their reaction and if their skin is becoming more irritated to the clothing.