April 04, 2023
If you’ve ever suffered from sensitive skin or a condition such as eczema or psoriasis, you’re familiar with the various potential contributors to skin irritation. Foods, soaps, pet dander, and other environmental allergens can cause flare-ups that are painful and embarrassing. Excessive sweating and chemicals can cause adverse skin reactions. Even stress can trigger irritation.
Synthetic fabrics are composed of manmade fibers that are created through chemical processes. They’re often petroleum-based and treated with chemicals to make them “waterproof” or “moisture-wicking.” Common examples of synthetic fabrics include: nylon, polyester, acrylic, spandex, olefin, neoprene, and microfiber.
There are many benefits to using synthetic fabrics depending on the context. For example, they’re relatively inexpensive to produce, they’re durable, and they can easily be waterproofed. The first synthetic fiber to be produced was nylon for parachutes in WWII, and since then, synthetic fibers can be found in countless products ranging from clothing to outdoor gear. In clothing, they’re often chosen for their “moisture-wicking” properties.
On the flip side, their effect on the environment – and our skin – can be detrimental. Because they’re made of chemicals derived from coal, oil, and natural gas, they’re highly flammable. When burned, they emit toxic gasses. On top of that, they don’t biodegrade like natural fabrics do, but instead remain in landfills and leach into the environment.
Waterproofing and moisture-wicking treatments used on synthetic fabrics contain harsh chemicals and resins that can irritate our skin. “Moisture-wicking” is typically achieved by treating the fabric with chemicals that help the fabric absorb moisture (your sweat, for example) and quickly evaporate it. While the sweat dries rapidly, the bacteria from it remains in the fibers of the garment, leading to foul odors and, eventually, deterioration of the fabric.
Sweat is your body’s natural response when it senses the need to cool down, and moisture-wicking material can actually work against this reaction. As it wicks away the sweat that’s meant to keep you from overheating, your body reacts by working even harder to produce more sweat. Not to mention the chemicals used to affect this “wicking” technology can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate rashes and dermatitis.
Natural fabrics are made from materials that already exist in nature, such as plants, minerals, or proteins. Because they’re organic, they biodegrade faster than synthetic fabrics when discarded in normal waste streams. Typically they are free from the harmful chemicals that are found in their manmade counterparts. For this reason, they’re gentler on the environment and on our skin!
A fabric made without harmful chemicals that repels rather than absorbs sweat and keeps you cool when you’re on the move. A durable material that actually soothes your skin rather than aggravating it.
Zenkai’s clothing is made using our Filium® technology – a process through which natural fibers are made into breathable, biodegradable fabric that repels sweat and resists stains, leaving your clothes odorless and irritant-free. Instead of fighting the natural heat-regulator that is sweat, our apparel works with it by repelling instead of absorbing. Keeping a thin layer of sweat on your skin helps you stay cool and prevents your body from working overtime to beat the heat.
If you’re considering avoiding synthetic fibers to help heal your skin, you don’t need to compromise on comfort or performance. Zenkai clothing is soft, durable, and keeps you feeling fresh. Not only are our garments gentler on your skin, but they require less frequent laundering. (A win/win for sensitive skin and the environment!)
If you’ve determined that synthetic fabrics are causing or exacerbating your skin irritation, or you’re simply looking for a way to lessen your impact on our planet, check out our apparel here.
April 20, 2023
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