For anyone suffering from eczema and other skin conditions, finding comfortable, cool clothing that doesn’t irritate your skin can be a life changer.
While your choice of clothing doesn’t address the underlying causes of eczema, it does make a big difference to your comfort and quality of life. It can also help manage flare-ups and prevent the dreaded itch-scratch cycle.
The problem is that finding safe fabrics and clothing for eczema isn’t easy.
Some fabrics have rough fibers that trigger allergies, some are not breathable and make you sweat, and some even dry out your skin and lead to inflammation.
There is a market of specialist clothing for eczema that has appeared to try and solve these problems. However, if you’re aware of such clothing, then you’ll already know they’re not affordable for most people, they typically come in a very limited range of sizes, fits, and styles, and they’re most often only available at specialist retailers.
Thankfully, there are other clothing and fabric options available, and one of the most popular and recommended is bamboo.
Bamboo fabric is considered by the National Eczema Society to be one of the most attractive clothing options for people with eczema.
The first method for turning bamboo into cloth was developed in 2001 at Beijing University. Since then, bamboo has gained increasing attention for its potential to make natural, eco-friendly clothing.
However, bamboo has also been the subject of some scrutiny as it has become clearer that turning the miracle plant into clothing isn’t as natural as once thought.
This is actually been good news for the industry. More transparency about production processes has led to more regulations and more brands working on new, more sustainable, and chemical-free methods of turning bamboo into clothing.
For those with eczema and sensitive skin, these bamboo clothing brands could be some of the first to offer clothing that ticks all the right boxes: soft, breathable, light, affordable, and stylish.
We scoured the world of bamboo clothing to find the brands that are creating some of the most natural and eczema-friendly fabrics on the planet. We then reviewed each according to a set of specific criteria and came out with a selection of winners across the following two categories:
• The Best Bamboo Baby Clothes for Eczema
• The Best Adult Bamboo Clothes For Eczema
Before we get to the benefits of bamboo and our top picks (use the menu links below to skip directly to the top brands and reviews), let’s first explore the advantages and disadvantages of other frequently recommended fabrics such as lyocell / Tencel, cotton, and silk.
Note: These tips and information have worked for several eczema sufferers, but we are not doctors. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms or have a topical infection, it’s always best to seek advice from a medical professional.
Table of Contents
Cotton Vs. Silk Vs. Lyocell / Tencel Vs. Bamboo Fabric
All of the most eczema-friendly fabrics are those made from natural fibers (except from wool). The most popular include cotton, linen (made from flax), silk, hemp, and bamboo.
The fabrics most recommended by The National Eczema Society are cotton, silk, bamboo, and lyocell or tencel. Let’s take a look at each of their main advantages and disadvantages for eczema:
Cotton: the cheap & dirty option
Cotton is one of the world’s most mass produced fabrics (second only to polyester). As it is also soft, smooth, and has better moisture absorbing properties than synthetic fabrics, it’s typically recommended to those dealing with eczema.
However, as the third largest user of pesticides in the US behind corn and soybeans, cotton is also famous for being one of the world’s most dirtiest crops.
According to a report on the Deadly Chemicals in Cotton by the Environmental Justice Foundation, in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network UK, almost 1 kilogram of hazardous pesticides are used for every hectare of cotton.
Clothing made from 100% organic cotton is a better option. However, organic cotton garments still have to be dyed and finished—which can be one of the most chemically intensive steps in the process.
Silk: the luxurious (& not So Effective) option
Silk is another fabric that is often recommended for eczema. Unique among fabrics, silk is made by silkworms when they spin themselves into a cocoon on their way to becoming a silkmoth.
The fibers and the silkworms (unless it’s Peace Silk) are then boiled and stirred until the cocoon unravels into useable threads.
As well as being just downright cruel, silk garments are very expensive and have been proven to show little to no benefits for eczema sufferers. In a 6-month clinical trial on silk for eczema, children between the ages of 1 to 15 were split into 2 groups: one receiving standard care for eczema and wearing 100% sericin-free silk clothing, and one group receiving standard care alone.
The group of children wearing the silk garments did not only see no benefits versus the control group, they experienced more skin infections (28% versus 25%). The researchers also calculated the yearly cost of using silk at a little over $70,000!
Lyocel, Tencel & Newcell: The Future Option
Lyocell is made from the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees, as well as often from oak and birch trees.
Lyocell is the generic name for a particular method of producing viscose fabric from cellulose. It comes in different variations and under different brand names, such as Tencel, Excell, and Newcell. Lyocell doesn’t use toxic chemicals in its processing, so it’s become a popular option for those looking for eco-friendly and safe fabrics for eczema.
Lyocell is hypoallergenic, generally soft, and 50% more absorbent than cotton. One study showed that wearing Tencel lead to a decrease in the severity of eczema symptoms, including redness and itching, and an improvement in quality of sleep.
The main downside of lyocell is that eucalyptus, oak, and birch trees are typically grown using pesticides and fertilizers (unless organic or Tencel). The fabric is also currently more expensive and harder to come by than other fabrics. The cleanest and most eco-friendly type of lyocell fabric currently available is bamboo lyocell.
Bamboo: the Gentle & Eco-Friendly option
Bamboo is a fast-growing renewable resource that can be cultivated with very few if any pesticides and fertilizers. As the plant also has smooth fibers and natural antibacterial properties, it’s gaining popularity among those looking for eco-friendly fabrics and clothing for sensitive skin.
There are several types of bamboo fabric, including bamboo linen and bamboo lyocell. The most common bamboo fabric is bamboo viscose (also known as ‘bamboo rayon’ or ‘viscose derived from bamboo’).
Bamboo viscose is made by breaking down, dissolving, and spinning bamboo into useable threads for clothing. The term ‘viscose’ describes the method of turning the cellulose of plants and vegetables into fabric.
As bamboo clothing is a relatively new industry, there are still not many regulations in place, and some brands source unsustainable bamboo and have a chemical-intensive production process. Therefore, it’s paramount to only buy from brands that are dedicated to organic and chemical-free production methods.
Bamboo linen and bamboo lyocell are the most natural, chemical-free, and eco-friendly types of bamboo fabric. However, bamboo linen is coarse and rough and so tends not to be used in clothing, and bamboo lyocell is popular in bamboo bed sheets but not so popular in clothing.
Top 3 Benefits of Bamboo Clothing For Eczema
There’s no currently no miracle fabric that heals eczema skin. However, some fabrics are definitely better than others and can even help prevent outbreaks and speed up their recovery.
Bamboo is one of these fabrics. Here are the top three benefits of bamboo clothing for eczema:
1. Bamboo Fabric is Breathable & Thermoregulating
It’s no news to those who experience eczema that variations in temperature can trigger flare-ups. Most often this happens in hot and humid or cold and dry conditions.
However, clothes can also be a huge factor in the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. In particular, eczema sufferers are advised to avoid wool and synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic as they can lead to overheating, irritation, and itching.
Synthetic fabrics can range from being completely airtight to nearly transparent and breathable, according to the type of fiber and the weave. However, as synthetic fabrics don’t absorb or wick away moisture well, they tend to trap heat, sweat, and bacteria, and disrupt your body’s ability to naturally regulate its temperature.
Bamboo fabric, on the other hand, is known for its thermoregulating properties. In a study titled The Future of Functional Clothing, the natural fibers of bamboo are said to be more breathable and absorbent (up to 4 times more absorbent than cotton) due to microholes in the structure of the fibers.
Studies have also proven that bamboo fibers wick moisture away from the body to the outer surface of the bamboo fabric where it can then evaporate.
Bamboo fabric also acts as an insulator, ensuring you don’t get too cold but at the same time not creating a stuffy, sweaty environment. These natural thermoregulating properties mean bamboo clothing is a good choice for staying both cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
2. Bamboo Fabric is Hypoallergenic & Sometimes Antibacterial
There are many types of eczema, and many are related to allergies. Contact dermatitis is one of the most common types, and it’s often caused by reactions to allergens and irritants such as soap, detergent, clothing fabric, and jewellery.
For these reasons, doctors recommend avoiding substances and fabrics that are known to cause irritation and flare-ups. This includes using mild, gentle soaps, and detergents, and wearing clothes made from more natural, organic fabrics.
Bamboo has come to the attention of many eczema sufferers and specialists for its hypoallergenic properties. Bamboo fabric reduces or minimizes the possibility of an allergic response due to several factors:
• It can be grown without the use of pesticides and fertilizers, making it a naturally organic crop .
• The bamboo plant contains a unique antibacterial bio-agent known as ‘Bamboo Kun’ that deters bacteria and pests.
• The fibers of bamboo are naturally light and smooth and bamboo fabric is one of the softest fabrics on the planet.
Most 100% bamboo fabrics are recommended for sensitive skin. However, those suffering from severe eczema should look for fabrics that are organic and OEKO-TEX certified to ensure no harmful chemicals have been used in their manufacturing.
3. More Affordable Than Specialist Hypoallergenic Clothing
It costs a lot of money to research, develop, and test specialist fabrics for skin conditions. Not to mention conducting studies, acquiring the relevant credentials, and spreading the word to clinicians.
The resulting fabrics may be good for eczema and other skin conditions, but they don’t come cheap. This makes them not only out of financial reach for most people, it also means they come in limited sizes, styles, and categories.
Bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing plant. It grows so much and so fast, it’s become an invasive species in some parts of the world. Bamboo also requires little water and energy to grow and is a colony plant of the grass family, meaning it doesn’t need to be replanted after each harvest (it grows out of the existing root system).
These are just some of the reasons why bamboo is a much more affordable fabric option for many people. Due to increasing competition, you can also find bamboo clothes for eczema in a growing variety of sizes, styles, and designs.
Bamboo Clothing For Eczema Selection Process
Our criteria cover 8 of the most important factors in determining the safest and most comfortable bamboo clothing for eczema. Without forgetting accessibility, price, and design.
We gathered the bamboo clothing brands that are most popular with eczema sufferers, some of which we know and use personally, and reviewed them across each area.
The result is a selection of the best bamboo clothing for eczema currently available for babies, toddlers, and adults.
Is the bamboo fabric made in a way that’s suitable for delicate and sensitive skin? Does the brand follow ethical production practices? Does the product have any certifications, such as organic status or OEKO-TEX?
Are the bamboo clothes breathable? How do they respond to heat and sweat? Do they regulate heat well and wick away moisture? Do they offer both ventilation and coverage?
How soft is the bamboo clothing? Does the fabric have the right balance of softness and lightness? Does the bamboo fabric retain its softness after being washed?
Lightness & Fit
Are the clothes light and not too tight fitting? Do the clothes cause friction when moving and even exercising? Do the clothes layer well?
Is the bamboo clothing resistant enough to endure daily wear and tear? Are the clothes easy to wash and take care of? How long does the clothing typically last?
DESIGN & Style
Is the bamboo clothing designed for everyday life? Is it practical and easy to put on and remove? Does the clothing come in a range of styles for all preferences?
Price & Availability
How affordable is the clothing? Is it easily available or only sold in specialist retailers?
Is the clothing made from 100% bamboo fabric or a blend of fabrics? Is the bamboo sustainably sourced? Does the brand have any environmental policies? Are the clothes made in the US or abroad?
Best Bamboo Baby Clothes For Eczema (Babies & Toddlers)
Compared to conventional fabrics like cotton and polyester, bamboo fabric is softer, more environmentally-friendly, and, most importantly, much safer for babies.
In no particular order, here are our top picks in the category of bamboo clothing for eczema in babies and toddlers.
Posh Peanut is a well-known bamboo baby clothing brand that goes the extra mile to create safe, unique, eco-friendly clothing.
Unlike other brands. the bamboo they use is not treated with chlorine-containing bleaches, zinc, sulfate, and other harsh chemicals. Posh Peanut also has one of the widest and cutest selections of bamboo baby clothes ever!
Eczema was the reason Little Sleepies was created. Its founder, Maradith, could not find fabrics that wouldn’t irritate her son Gavin’s skin, so she designed pajamas that are soft and gentle enough for eczema-prone skin.
Little Sleepies use a proprietary, custom-milled blend of bamboo viscose called Lunaluxe™. The Los Angeles-based brand offers a huge variety of nursery, play, and family-matching pajamas and sleepwear.
Founded by another mom whose little one was diagnosed with eczema, Bellabu Bear is one of the few brands to be awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.
Its products are also OEKO-TEX 100 certified, meaning its finished clothing contains no trace chemicals that pose any health threat to adults or babies whatsoever.
On top of this, its fabric is super soft and clean as it comes only from Eco-Cert organic bamboo. Every inch of its clothing, from zippers to tags, has also been designed meticulously designed for babies with sensitive skin.
Few bamboo baby clothes brands are as committed to creating clothing that’s safe for eczema and the environment as Bellabu Bear.
Tenth & Pine is a gender-neutral baby clothes brand that stands out among bamboo baby clothes as its products are made in the USA.
As well as being cut and sewn in Los Angeles by local artisans, its fabric is OEKO-TEX Certified bamboo viscose that comes only from organic bamboo.
The founder of Tenth & Pine, Kerynn, is a mom who, after experiencing complications in conceiving, wanted to create clothing that was fully committed to the health and well-being of little ones.
Best Bamboo Clothing For Eczema (Adults)
Unlike the booming industry of bamboo baby clothing, it’s often much harder to find high quality bamboo clothing for adults (especially for men).
In no particular order, here are our top picks of bamboo clothing for eczema in the adult category.
BAM Clothing is one of the few brands that are fully transparent about its supply chain. The brand traces all its products to the garment manufacturers, yarn mills, and right back to the bamboo viscose suppliers.
They even personally visited the bamboo viscose suppliers to ensure they are OEKO-TEX Level 3 certified, the most rigorous standard of assessing the use of chemicals and environmental and social impact.
I couldn’t find any specific reviews by people with eczema who use BAM Clothing, but the brand is recommended by the National Eczema Society and says many customers have told them that they’re the best solution they’ve found for skin problems such as eczema and rashes.
Bellabu Bear has very few options for adults. However, as it has been awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association, we had to include it in our picks of bamboo clothing for adults with eczema.
The options are currently limited to bamboo pajamas, underwear, and nightwear collections for the whole family. However, some of its designs are ideal for use as base layers or for lounging around the house during the day.
Boody is a certified B-Corp bamboo clothing brand that only uses organic bamboo from Fair Trade-certified factories. The Australian brand offers underwear, sleepwear, and activewear for adults, as well as some bamboo baby clothes.
Boody has one of the most well-rounded visions of sustainability for any clothing brand. The brand prohibits any toxic chemicals from being used in the production of its fabrics, is 100% transparent about its processes, and ensures the processing of bamboo is as safe and eco-friendly as the plant itself.