Does Skin Actually “Breathe”? 1
Here at Cottonique, we make a big deal about letting skin breathe, especially if you want to avoid the symptoms of atopic dermatitis showing up. That’s why we make sure that our 100% organic cotton apparel is not only soft, but breathable as well. But what exactly does “breathable” mean? And why is this so good for the skin?
Skin doesn’t breathe in the traditional sense, that is, inhaling and exhaling air. It does, however, need to maintain healthy levels of heat and moisture, and that’s where breathable clothing comes into the picture. If you’ve ever been inside a stuffy room, you know what it feels like – it’s hot, humid, and a little harder to breathe in that sort of environment. That’s because all the heat and moisture generated by whatever’s inside, including yourself, isn’t exiting the room fast enough.
It’s the same situation with your skin and clothes that aren’t breathable, like apparel made of synthetic fibers. These garments tend to keep the heat from your skin inside, rather than let it leave. At the same time, they also can’t draw excess moisture away from your skin fast enough, and suddenly it feels like your outfit is a miniature sauna.
Put the excess heat and moisture retention together, and you’ve got the recipe for a heat rash. The humidity underneath your clothing can make your atopic dermatitis symptoms flare up, and that’s certainly no fun.
We at Cottonique strive to develop clothes that not only help your skin stay cool by letting heat flow freely outwards, but also maintain a decent amount of moisture through our fabric’s moisture-wicking properties. Even better, our all-natural cotton is extremely soft to the touch and, coupled with our advanced stitching techniques, is very non-abrasive.
Give your skin a breather today!
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Can Bathing Too Much Worsen My Eczema? 2
One of the golden rules to managing eczema is “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize” – so it makes sense that a good, long soak in the tub is best for your troubled skin, right? It might surprise you to learn that too much bathing can actually have the opposite effect: your skin might get dryer the longer you keep in the tub.
How does this happen? It’s important to keep in mind that the outer layer of our skin is held together by lipids, which are basically fatty compounds. These lipids are composed of the natural oils our bodies produce, which help keep our skin moist while also warding off potentially harmful bacteria. That’s right – oily skin is actually a good thing.
When we bathe, we’re effectively removing the lipids from our skin. That’s why your face stops feeling oily after a good washing. If we remove too much of the lipids, however, we run into some problems.
Because the lipids work partially as the cement that binds the cells on our skin’s protective outer layer, we risk exposing the more sensitive skin underneath to the elements. What’s worse, our skin can’t produce the oils fast enough to make for how much we remove. This leaves skin exposed and lacking in the vital oils that keep it moist – which in turn makes us more vulnerable to the dry, cracking flakes people with eczema are all too familiar with.
So how frequently should we bathe? Some experts say once a week is a good rule of thumb. Others say that it’s not how often we bathe, but how we conduct our baths that matters. Hot water, for instance, can break down skin lipids rather quickly, so it’s best to stick with lukewarm water. A 10- to 15-minute shower or soak will also keep you clean without harming your skin’s “armor”; any longer, and you risk losing some of that protection. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t be scrubbing too roughly, either.
However you choose to bathe, make sure that you do two things afterwards: moisturize your skin with a (preferably organic) lotion, and allow your skin to breathe by putting on all-natural cotton clothing. With proper skin care, you can minimize eczema conditions to a point where it’s hardly even any bother.
Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bubble_bath.jpg