People with eczema, contact dermatitis and other allergic skin conditions are celebrating a recent scientific breakthrough in the manufacture of silk clothing. DermaSilk Therapeutic Clothing has been shown in published clinical trials to be more effective than traditional cotton clothing in helping to reduce the itching and scratching symptoms so often associated with these conditions, plus they also help speed up the overall healing process.
Espère Healthcare Ltd (esperehealth.co.uk) are the exclusive distributors for DermaSilk in the UK & Ireland and are now also responsible for marketing the product in the USA and Canada. Since September, Espère have seen a steady and progressive growth in DermaSilk online and mail order sales of approximately 30 per cent each month.
So how does DermaSilk work? The garments are made in Italy from a modified knitted silk fabric impregnated with a ‘microbe shield’, a physical anti-microbial which is used to protect operating theatre fabrics from bacterial contamination. As with the silk in surgical sutures, DermaSilk uses a hypo-allergenic sericin-free fibre, and the anti-microbial qualities are permanently bonded into the silk – in other words, they will not leach out of the fabric, even when washed more than 50 times!
The garments are designed to be as close to a ‘second skin’ as possible, and the range, which includes gloves, vests, pants, bodysuits and leggings, comes in all shapes and sizes for babies, children and adults. Espère Healthcare’s co-director Chris Steeples observes, ‘Although most people think of cotton as the natural choice for eczema and other allergic skin conditions, cotton material is actually made up of short fibres which when damp can twist and break, thus irritating the skin. By contrast, pure silk is spun into continuous lengths of up to 800 metres, and the fibres are smooth and cylindrical, causing far less itch.’
The garments are knitted into an open weave which helps to improve the temperature and moisture regulating qualities of the silk. This is very important, because one of the factors which can seriously cause irritation to the skin is excess moisture. Cotton can only absorb about 10 per cent of its own weight, whereas silk can absorb up to 30 per cent. Chris explains, ‘Even people who don’t even have eczema are very interested in this special clothing because, for example, the socks can keep your feet fresh and cool all day. Just right for busy people who are on their feet all day.’
DermaSilk (dermasilk.co.uk) also has valuable health & safety applications in industries where contact dermatitis is seen as an increasing problem. Hairdressers, for example, whose hands are continually exposed to chemical dyes and perming lotions; nurses and other medical professionals who find that the traditional barrier cream does not sufficiently protect their skin – in these cases the specially designed DermaSilk gloves have been found to provide much needed relief for sore, dry and itchy hands.
There are approximately 3 million eczema sufferers in the UK, and one in five children have the condition. Comments Chris, ‘I don’t want to overstate the point, but this really is life-changing stuff! We’ve had parents whose children have eczema contact us to say that their whole family life has improved because their child no longer itches, is calmer by day, sleeps better at night, and is generally happier and more confident about themselves. Eczema and other skin allergies can be such miserable conditions, so that’s why we’re delighted to offer a genuine alternative to steroid creams and emollients.'