Here's what you should avoid wearing for healthy skin, according to science

By chasing trendy looks, we often compromise on our body’s largest organ - our skin. What comes in contact with it matters, especially if it sits on you all day long. These are the fabrics to avoid, according to science.

Here's what you should avoid wearing for healthy skin, according to science
© Photo by Ron Lach on
Here's what you should avoid wearing for healthy skin, according to science

Not all fabrics feel the same on your skin, this much we already know. But the trick is that some of them that seem comfortable and look good are actually quite harmful to you. Often produced using toxic chemicals, they can cause skin irritation even on the healthiest of bodies, let alone their odour-trapping effect.

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While it’s difficult to exclude these fabrics from your wardrobe completely, minimising their use in your daily life will make your skin grateful.

Synthetic fabrics: treated with toxic chemicals and don’t breathe

Man-made fabrics like acrylic, polyester, rayon, acetate, and nylon are treated with thousands of harmful toxic chemicals during production, according to ScienceDaily. In a study from Stockholm University, researchers chose four groups of substances related to health risks and tested them for ‘occurrence, quantity, toxicity, and how easily they may penetrate the skin,’ and the highest concentrations of two of the substances were found in none other than polyester.

Toxic chemicals aside, synthetic fabrics simply don't breathe and trap odoursPopular Science writes. Skin germs found in sweat feast on chemicals, which synthetic fibres can't absorb, therefore creating an environment for smelly bacteria to grow. All signs point to polyester being the number one worst fabric for the skin.

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Wrinkle-resistant fabrics: comes with a hazardous chemical

Any fabric, even the non-synthetic one, made to be wrinkle-resistant gets its wrinkle-free properties from a hazardous chemical called formaldehydeScienceDaily reported that greener methods are being investigated, but in the meantime, it’s best to stick with natural fabrics. If you really hate ironing, use these simple tips to ditch it for good.

Bamboo: its processing releases toxic chemicals

Bamboo sounds like a green and planet-friendly choice, it’s soft and fluid, but it’s not so skin friendly after all. In its natural state, bamboo is stiff and rough. According to research conducted by sustainable outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, the process to convert bamboo to its softest state (rayon fibre) releases toxic chemicals such as carbon disulfide, sodium hydroxide, and sulfuric acid that are actually reproductive hazards.

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Wool: it can irritate and cause flare-ups

If you suffer from dry or itchy skin, wool shouldn't be your first choice unless it’s merino wool. Live Science explains that wearing wool can trigger eczema flare-ups, and a Mayo Clinic doctor, Megan Johnston Flanders, MD, says that the fabric can even irritate problem-less skin.

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Sources used:

- Who What Wear: 'The #1 Fabric to Avoid, According to Science'

- Science Daily: 'Toxins remain in your clothes'

- Popular Science: 'Cotton Vs. Polyester: Which Gym Clothes Trap The Most Body Odor?'

- Science Daily: 'Creating 'greener' wrinkle-resistant cotton fabric'

- Live Science: 'Eczema: Symptoms and Treatment'

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