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Clothing for People with Sensitive Skin (part 1)

Posted on April 01 2017

Care should be taken when selecting clothing for people who have skin problems. These problems may be due to poor circulation, reduced sensation, allergies, or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The aim is to ensure comfort and reduce the risk of skin damage. Washing powder may be the cause of skin sensitivity, and you should try to find out which brands cause a skin reaction.


Although the needs of everyone will be different depending on the cause of their sensitivity, most people prefer the fabric worn next to the skin to be smooth and soft. Natural fibres such as fine cotton and silk will feel comfortable against the skin but some wool and linens may be rough and itchy. Manufacturers of man-made fibres are constantly working to improve the comfort and feel of cloth made from their products to match fabric containing the best of natural fibres.

Stiff fabrics that do not 'give' are uncomfortable especially if the wearer must sit for long periods of time.

  • SILK :

Silk retains body heat efficiently, is strong, light, flexible and hard wearing and has a natural wicking action drawing body moisture away from the skin. Silk clothing can be found in some retail and specialist sports shops and specialist mail order catalogues.

  • COTTON :

Cotton and silk are the two best natural fabrics for sensitive skins. Cotton is absorbent and cool, silk is more expensive than cotton but is warmer. Some clothing is now made of only unbleached, organic cotton.


Viscose is now being used extensively and is a natural product. Linen and hemp are also being used although they will tend to be heavier. Wearers will need to find out which, if any, chemicals are used in their manufacture.


For those with skin problems, clothing should be loose fitting. Try to avoid creases and folds in the material as they can cause pressure sores. Rigid seams in jeans, fasteners, pockets and accessories should be avoided at the points where pressure is increased.


The weight of fabric used in clothing can be important when movement causes pain and when strength and endurance are diminished. In these circumstances heavy clothes make dressing painful and exhausting, and generally restrict freedom of movement. Lightweight garments such as quilted coats and anoraks are warm and comfortable.

Thin layers and an unlined wind-resistant cotton anorak worn on top of a cardigan would be as warm, and more comfortable than a heavy coat. Garments in man-made fibres are often lighter in weight than their equivalent in wool.



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