Thursday, July 5, 2007

Let Your Skin Breathe

Everyday we put our skin in harm’s way, whether we realize it or not. UV rays and environmental pollutants are common culprits when it comes to upset skin but what about what you wear? Surprisingly enough, the very material your skin comes into contact with can trigger rashes, irritation and other negative skin-specific responses. Learn what fabrics you should stay away from and which ones you should include in your wardrobe and in your life.

Dry skin, eczema, acne prone and sensitive skin types often have the toughest times maintaining happy skin. When the use of a daily skin care routine isn’t enough, look around your home to see what factors may be contributing to the problem. This includes the clothes you wear, the sheets you sleep on and even the pillowcase you rest your head on at night.

When it comes to clothes, completely avoid harsh fabrics such as wool, which can easily irritate any skin type and cause severe itchiness. Although Spandex, Rayon and Lycra don’t pose a direct hazard to your skin the way wool does, it’s still important to limit how long you wear this type of material throughout the day. These fabrics are widely used in leggings and athletic wear and are being used more often in dresses and other form-fitting fashions. As stylish and comfy as Spandex, Rayon and Lycra can be, your skin is not able to breathe properly and wearing these restrictive garments for too long can trap sweat and other surface debris, leading to breakouts and zits on the chest and back. Make it a point to never lounge around the house in these fabrics and remove them as soon as you get home so that your skin can breathe - the same goes for all clothes that are designed to fit tightly on your body. Hop in the shower or bath soon after so you get a head start in washing away the sweat, oils and other dirt that may have accumulated underneath the fabric.

In order to avoid putting your skin at risk, be sure to wear safe and natural fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, tencel (this fabric is made from wood pulp and is cool, smooth and dry), linen, silk/satin and hemp. Because these contain natural fibers, the chances of irritation or contact dermatitis is greatly reduced, not to mention that the cool and soft feel pacifies upset skin.

In addition to the clothes you wear, you also need to be mindful of the sheets you sleep on, the pillowcases you use and even the furniture you relax on. Before you start to get worried, switching out harsh fabrics for gentler ones is a simple task. To ease your nights, turn to satin pillowcases and silk, linen or cotton sheets. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe at night and are restrictive so you can toss and turn as you please. If you own a couch or comfy recliner that irritates your skin but you don’t want to toss it out, buy blankets made of cotton or another skin-friendly material that you can wrap yourself in so you can enjoy the coziness of your furniture without putting your skin at risk. By following these tips you’ll be able to simplify your life and your skin care.

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