Eczema is a long-term condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked, according to the NHS. It most often appears in children before their first birthday, but could also develop in later life. Symptoms vary between small patches of dry skin, and large areas of red and inflammation skin all over the body. But you could help to reduce the painful signs of eczema by avoiding certain clothes – including those made from wool.
Wearing woollen clothes could aggravate your eczema symptoms, according to LloydsPharmacy pharmacist, Pareena Patel.
It can scratch the skin, and actually make eczema worse. The same applies for other synthetic fabrics, added the National Eczema Society.
Instead, eczema patients should choose lighter, cotton clothing, as it’s less likely to cause painful flare-ups.
“Winter clothing, such as jumpers and tights, are often made with wool which can scratch and irritate sensitive skin,” said Patel.
“Try opting for cotton clothing instead or wearing layers of cotton or silk under woollen garments.”
The National Eczema Society added: “Many people with eczema find cotton clothing and bedding preferable, as it is more comfortable than wool or synthetic fibres.
“Cotton is smooth and cool, as it allows the skin to breathe and prevents overheating.
“Most people prefer 100 per cent cotton, but some can tolerate a mixture of cotton and another material. Many people with eczema can also wear silk, linen or soft acrylic next to their skin.”
You could also reduce the itchiness of eczema by using a non-bio washing powder, and by avoiding fabric conditioner, it added.
It’s also important to use moisturisers straight after showering or bathing, as keeping the skin hydrated is crucial.
Moisturising is especially important during the winter months, when rapid changes to temperatures can aggravate the skin and make it feel itchy.
There’s currently no cure for eczema, but treatments aim to reduce symptoms.
Some emollients and creams could be used to treat dry skin. Alternatively, a doctor may prescribe a topical corticosteroid cream to reduce swelling.
It’s crucial that patients avoid scratching, as it could damage the skin and make symptoms worse.
Keeping nails short and wearing light clothing over affected areas could help to reduce damage from habitual scratching.
Speak to a pharmacist if you’re worried about the signs of eczema, or for advice on the best over-the-counter treatments.