Table Of Contents

Synthetic fibres – it’s a trap!
What’s the natural difference?
Keep your friends close, and your skin-friendly fabrics closer
You and your skin are together for life. Don’t make it irritable.

Tonight, show your skin some love (and wake up without regrets)

Is this you? You follow a careful regimen of daily skin care. You wear a high-SPF sunscreen when you go outside. You moisturize and avoid foods that can cause acne or blemishes. And then…you put on clothes or cover yourself at night in bedsheets that may contain skin-irritating chemicals and allergens or lack breathability which can lead to bacteria growth.

In this blog, we’ll look at how natural fabrics – including our top choice, hemp – don’t compromise on style or softness as they offer healthy, skin-friendly alternatives to synthetics.

Synthetic fibres – it’s a trap!

Ever been outside on a hot day and noticed that you’re sweating more than usual, or that your clothes seem to be clingy and uncomfortable? Chances are that you’re wearing something made from synthetic fibres such as polyester, rayon, spandex, or nylon.

Simply put, synthetic fabrics don’t breathe the way natural fibres do. They make you sweat more, and that moisture gets trapped in the fabric. Before long, bacteria starts to form and, along with it, odour makes its presence known. And the longer that sweat stays on your skin, the greater the chance of developing irritation or rash.

These are definitely fabrics to avoid if you have sensitive skin. Synthetic fibres may also create an allergic reaction, depending on the chemicals used during manufacture. Especially avoid materials with “permanent press” or “no ironing” symbols on the label; these are chemically altered fabrics that can irritate skin.

Many of the most common synthetic fibres found in clothing or bedding are derived from fossil fuels (for example, nylon is made from petroleum) or synthetic polymers (polyester). And besides being skin irritants, these artificial fabrics shed microplastic fibres during washing. That means they end up in our lakes and rivers as part of the growing problem of plastic pollution.

Think of synthetics this way: would you ever cover your head with something that didn’t allow for ventilation? Your skin needs to breath too, so don’t cover it with something that traps moisture and blocks airflow.

(On a side note, be sure to thoroughly wash that vintage dress you inherited from grandma’s closet or bought at a second-hand clothing shop. Old clothes, no matter what fabric they are made from, can be breeding grounds for mold, mildew, or dust that is harmful to sensitive skin.)

Keep in mind that some natural fibres can still be harsh on your skin. Rough, scratchy wool, for example, can irritate red and/or itchy spots or trigger eczema. If wool is your preference, choose a softer option like cashmere.

What’s the natural difference?

No doubt, there are reasons why synthetic fabrics are popular – mainly, they are durable and can be manufactured inexpensively.

But wait: textiles made from hemp fibres, for example, are also durable. And when you add in the cost to the environment – a price we all pay – suddenly those polyester slacks don’t seem so cheap.

Sustainably produced, non-toxic fabrics are not only friendlier to the planet: many of them can be downright loving to your skin.  Since plant fibres form the basis of natural “eco-fabrics,” there is a greater likelihood those hemp bedsheets or organic cotton socks won’t cause skin irritation or other discomforts.

These same eco-fabrics are also naturally hypoallergenic. For allergy sufferers this is crucial, especially when you consider that a synthetic fabric like polyester can actually inflame allergies.

Let’s tick off the boxes for those of us with sensitive skin. On the one hand, we have natural fibres: Breathable and moisture wicking? Yes. Hypoallergenic? A big check mark here. And non-toxic (and non-irritating)? Oh yes.

And for synthetic fabrics? No, no…and let’s see…no.

So now that we’ve established the gentle qualities of natural fibres, let’s take a look at your best easy-on-the-skin fabric choices when shopping for clothes and bedding.

Keep your friends close, and your skin-friendly fabrics closer

Our top fabric picks that are kind to both the environment and your skin:

Hemp: The long strands of this ancient fibre, derived from the cannabis plant, are known for both their softness and durability. Your skin will appreciate hemp’s antimicrobial qualities and natural UV protection, along with the fact it’s non-toxic and hypoallergenic. And did we say soft?

Cotton: This most versatile fabric often pairs well in blends with hemp. Both are breathable, durable, easy to care for, soft on your skin, and hypoallergenic.

Linen: Derived from the flax plant, and one of the oldest known fabrics, true organic linen is produced without harsh chemicals and is non-allergenic. It also helps your skin retain its natural pH balance.

Silk: “Silky smooth” is more than just an expression for this protein-based fibre spun by silkworms for their cocoons. Besides its natural beauty, silk offers your skin a temperature-regulating fabric that’s hypoallergenic and (of course) incredibly soft and gentle.

You and your skin are together for life. Don’t make it irritable.

Choosing any of the fabrics listed above will greatly reduce chances of skin rashes or irritations. There are other natural fibers you may encounter, such as angora, cashmere, mohair, or wool. Just keep in mind that those allergic to animal fibers or especially sensitive to “prickly” materials may want to steer clear of clothes or bedding made from these sources.