Why You Should Only be Wearing Cotton
And the Rise of Textile Dermatitis
When man figured out a way to make clothes that didn’t crease, that felt ‘silky’ without using silk, and that could cling to a person’s body or come in different fluorescent colours, things changed. People went mad for stretchy gear or skin tight clothing that never had to be ironed, but they weren’t aware of what had to be done to the fabric to make it behave that way. There’s a reason that cotton or linen is so different to polyester, rayon or nylon, and there’s also a reason dermatologists will always encourage you to wear the former two.
“Textile Dermatitis or clothing dermatitis can be defined as skin manifestations caused by wearing clothing and/or fabrics that come into contact with skin. The source of the skin problem may be the fabric itself (i.e.reaction to textile fibres) or more commonly a contact allergy to the chemical additives used in processing the fabric, e.g. textile dyes and finishing agents.”
Yes, chemical additives, such as “formaldehyde finishing resins, dyes, glues, chemical additives and tanning agents” are all used in the products we wear today. For the majority of us, this sounds incredibly technical, but surely even you can admit that those compounds don’t sound natural, and that they don’t sound like the kind of stuff we should be exposing our body to. If you are one of the unlucky two million eczema sufferers in the UK, or worldwide, this is made more insufferable for you, with things like wool, polyester, metal fasteners or nickel studs on jeans acting as some of the most common irritants.
I myself have sadly experienced the full wrath of my body repelling synthetic fabrics. When I finally hit puberty at the age of 16, my breasts grew at an alarming rate, and I had to switch from wearing cotton sports bras to proper structured, wired and padded out bras to support what eventually became a 34D cup. When you imagine what your skin is like around your nipples, you remember just how soft and vulnerable it is. Even for men, after enough chafing. Both genders will experience potential rash around say, the armpit area but men could fall prey to synthetic fabrics irritating the most gentle and most sensitive nether region. Skin, testicles, sweat, synthetic fabrics, could all result in one resounding 'ouch.'
Going back to bras... picture the materials they are made from, the cups more specifically. They are rigid, often coloured and smooth. They are made of polyester 90% of the time, if not more. There is a reason for this, of course. The padding serves a purpose and the coating does too. However, when your nipples are exposed to this most of the day, every day, then factor in sweating and rubbing, and the 18 year old girl wearingt this bra who, incidentally has a family history of skin issues and sensitivity, is going to break out in a very unpleasant nipple rash. She tried to be clever and hack this little problem so she stuffed tissue in between her breasts and the bra. She also tried applying masking tape to both her breasts AND the lining of the cupped bra. What she should have done is started wearing cotton only underwear.
There has been a surge in fashion adopting the classical linen fabric as well as promoting cotton and, more importantly, organic cotton (whose growth isn’t spurred on by nasty pesticides and other chemicals). Aside from that, there is a huge pro to buying fashion made from these fabrics over others – the sustainability of it. Anything made from cotton or linen, natural plant based fibres will biodegrade if disposed of. Any synthetic item will take, on average 400 years to decompose. Besides, if you’ve ever been to see a professional dermatologist for one reason or other, you know that they will always harp on about wearing cotton, cotton, cotton. If you’d like to take a look at some genuinely naturally made bras, click here to peruse our collection. It is the result of a collective 4 years of design, sampling, re-sampling and manufacture but we’re very proud to finally unveil it to the world, our fellow skin condition sufferers.
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