Sometimes hidradenitis suppurativa can be worsened by the clothing we wear. Some fabrics contribute to friction. Other materials may not be breathable or absorbent. The wrong fabric, especially in undergarments, can make HS more uncomfortable than it already is.

This is because some fabrics can cause friction. Sometimes, your hair follicles become blocked. Bacteria can cause infection, and active lesions can leak. So, the aims of choosing the right fabrics are:

  • to reduce friction,
  • decrease the build-up of bacteria on the skin.
  • Reduce moisture
  • Keep the skin cool

Today we will look at the pros and cons of some common fabrics. As well as what to look for in fabrics. We will also talk about modal, the material HidraWear uses. If you don’t know cotton from polyester, don’t fret, we have you covered.

Cotton

Cotton Fabric

Cotton is one of the most commonly recommended fabrics for people with HS. It is breathable, and in the right size, it doesn’t rub. Many people who live with HS recommend cotton underwear.

However, cotton may not be absorbent enough to deal with sweat and leaks.  If you choose cotton, make sure it is loose-fitting. And buy 100% cotton where you can. For pesky leaks use extra support like dressings or period pads as needed.

Polyester

Polyester Fabric

Polyester can be a breathable fabric but only on sweat. According to EJIS, polyester is lightweight and water repellent. But it doesn’t absorb sweat, the sweat evaporates. So, if sweat is a problem for you, polyester may be the right choice of fabric.

But, as polyester is not absorbent, it won’t help with leaks. As well as that polyester does retain odour. And according to EJIS, contributes to the build-up of bacteria. Most activewear is made from polyester. So just be aware of the drawbacks when choosing workout gear.

Bamboo Fibre

Bamboo Fibre Fabric

On HS, bamboo fibre has the benefit of being very soft. So, it is a good fabric for reducing friction. As well as that some studies have suggested that bamboo may have antibacterial properties. But this is not a well-researched finding. One 2012 study found that the bamboo extract inhibited bacteria but didn’t kill it. So I’m afraid, more research is needed to confirm this.

On the plus side, bamboo is inexpensive and grows quickly. So, lots of companies call it sustainable. But the production of bamboo uses solvents which are harmful to the planet. So, bamboo may not be the best option for the environmentally conscious. Especially when there are better options.

Micro Modal

The HidraWear AX garment is made from micro modal. Modal comes from beech trees and is known for its softness. It is 50% more absorbent than cotton. Modal is highly breathable so, it is less likely to hold moisture or odour. This is called high wicking.

As well as that modal wears a lot better than cotton or synthetics. It holds shape, keeps colour and doesn’t pill, even after repeated washing.

Plus, if you are environmentally conscious, we have good news. Modal is biodegradable. And HidraWear material comes from ethical sources. If you want to know more check out the HidraWear website for more information.

Comfort Checklist.

The fabrics you choose are a personal choice. Over time you will get to know what suits your body and condition. But if you are new to HS, then you may want to consider a few points before making clothing choices.

  • The fabric you wear should be breathable
  • It shouldn’t rub or cause friction
  • It allows for a variety of movement
  • You feel happy and confident wearing it

After that, it’s over to you. As a consideration, your comfort is essential. But clothing that allows you to live your life the way you want is your main goal. And the whole reason HidraWear exists.

 

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About the Author

Shannon hidradenitis suppurativa patient

Shannon Sweeney is a psychology and sociology student from Ireland. She is also living with HS and has a keen interest in lifestyle, wellbeing and hidradenitis suppurativa