How to

4 August 2017

Factors to Consider When Selecting Clothing for Sensitive Skin


Our clothing spends a fair bit of time in contact with our skin, moving as we do and in the process causing irritation and other problems for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions. Everything from the material used to the size and style right through to the weight of the garment can make this matter worse, so we’ve compiled the following tips which will hopefully provide some insight into the main factors to consider when choosing clothing for yourself or another with sensitive skin.

Fabric/Material

For those with sensitive skin, some fabrics are much better suited than others. Natural fibres such as cotton or silk will be best for a number of reasons; for one, their soft feel will be much more comfortable against the skin than man-made alternatives. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that natural always means superior however, as other natural fibres such as wool can be highly uncomfortable to wear atop sensitive skin.

You will also want to consider the moisture wicking properties of each material, as perspiration can cause significant discomfort as well as heat loss. Once again, natural fibres such as silk and cotton perform very well in this regard, all while keeping you comfortable as previously mentioned.

You will also want to pay attention to the weight of the garment, as added weight will of course put added pressure on sensitive areas, making discomfort and/or pain more likely.

Style & Fit

When it comes to style and fit you will want to avoid tight, form-fitting garments that rub against the skin and restrict movement. Instead, look for loose-fitting clothing which will rub less and allow for the flow of air. You will also want to avoid heavy creases or folds in the fabric, as these are likely to cause additional irritation. Fabrics which stretch and ‘give’ are also desired over more rigid alternatives.

Threads, Tags & Embellishments

The general rule here is to keep these to the minimum. The occasional label will likely be unavoidable, but don’t choose clothing with heavy embroidery or extravagant embellishment as the point at which these attach will likely cause discomfort for those with sensitive skin. Metallic decorations are a particular concern, given the fact that nickel is a fairly common allergen for many individuals. In short, simplicity is your ally in this regard.

Dyes & Detergents

The most common cause of allergic reactions stemming from the wearing of clothes is the dyes and detergents with which they are treated. As such it is important to learn which of these chemicals react badly with your body and take steps to avoid them. Natural dyes tend to be kinder of the skin, as you might well expect; a thorough scan of the labels should help you to identify and avoid problematic dyes and detergents, although bear in mind that the issue may in fact stem from your washing supplies at home.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for the written word. Currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor, his time at many UK festivals has taught him the importance of keeping warm.