The Best and Worst Fabrics for Sensitive Skin

The Best and Worst Fabrics for Sensitive Skin

Having sensitive skin can be painful and irritating, and trying to find the right clothes for your skin can be frustrating and overwhelming! Thankfully there are wonderful options such as bamboo viscose that are perfect for anyone with sensitive skin. Read on to find out why you should consider bamboo viscose, and discover what fabrics you should absolutely avoid!

How to tell if you have sensitive skin

Dealing with sensitive skin on a daily basis can be a frustrating issue.

As it turns out, more people suffer from sensitive skin than we think. Almost a whopping 50% of American women, for example, now report having some kind of symptoms of sensitive skin, so it's a pretty serious issue across the nation.

If you're unsure if you have sensitive skin, these are a few areas to look out for:

  • You might develop itchiness, dryness or rashes when using certain daily products such as soaps, skincare, washing liquid, perfumes or such.
  • When you spend too much time in the sun or cold, your skin might flare up easily.
  • Trying out new skincare products might lead to rashes, breakouts or acne problems.
  • You might sunburn easily and certain types of sunscreen might cause allergic reactions.
  • Shaving might often cause large blotchy, red marks on your skin.
  • You frequently suffer from inflammation, flushing, acne prone skin or dry and itchy skin, not only on your face but also all over your body.
  • Certain types of materials coming into contact with your skin can cause you to flare up or have allergic reactions.

If you're experiencing any of these issues, it's best that you determine the culprit/s and stay away from those situations or products. If you feel that your issues are serious, it's best that you consult a professional such as a dermatologist to get proper treatment.

Why clothing matters when you have sensitive skin

A large number of products in the market today are specifically formulated or at least marketed towards people with sensitive skin. With big, bold labels stating "For sensitive skin", it's easy for you to tell which those are. When it comes to clothing, however, it's not always as obvious.

Yet if you have sensitive skin, the fabric you choose to wear matters greatly. The wrong choice of fabric will cause your skin to become irritated and flare up, while the right choice of fabric can put your skin at such ease, you won't even remember that you have sensitive skin.

What types of fabrics should you avoid when you have sensitive skin

Not all fabrics are created equal.

Naturally, you should avoid fabrics that are rough or scratchy against your skin, or tight clothing that doesn't allow your skin to breathe.

A lot of clothing today is manufactured from synthetic materials and goes through chemical processes that might involve formaldehyde, for example. These can not only cause sensitive skin to flare up, but might even trigger more serious skin conditions such as eczema.

Researchers from Stockholm University tested different substances according to "occurrence, quantity, toxicity, and how easily they may penetrate the skin" and the "winner" with the highest concentrations of harmful substances was none other than polyester.

In the same category, people with sensitive skin also frequently react to other fabrics like acrylic, acetate, nylon, wool, latex, spandex, denim, linen and leather.

In general, you should always opt for natural fabrics over synthetic fabrics.

What to look for in clothing when you have sensitive skin

Natural fabrics are generally better than synthetic fabrics such as polyester.

Aside from being processed in harmful chemicals, the problem with synthetic fabrics is that they don't allow your skin to breathe. When your clothing traps your sweat, preventing it from going anywhere else but to remain on your skin, it can lead to skin irritation.

Therefore, one of the biggest factors when searching for a natural fabric that supports sensitive skin is to look at its absorbent properties.

Here are three phrases to look out for when shopping:

  • Breathable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Moisture wicking

Hypoallergenic simply means that the product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, which is a hurrah for people with sensitive skin.

Moisture wicking basically refers to wicking, or pulling, moisture away from your skin. The more a fabric can draw moisture away from your skin, and the faster it can do so, the more comfortable your skin will be in those clothes.

For example, viscose bamboo clothing is said to be an extremely breathable material and four times more moisture absorbent than normal cotton, helping your skin to stay cool all day long.

What fabrics are best for people with skin conditions

 Many people with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, or rosacea find themselves being more mindful of fabric types when shopping for clothes.

While natural fibers are generally better than synthetic materials, many people with skin conditions find themselves unable to wear natural materials like wool if they are scratchy against their skin, in which case, you can try a cashmere sweater instead. It's very important to look for breathable fabrics that you feel comfortable in.

Organic Cotton

100% organic cotton

Cotton can be highly absorbent and moisture wicking, but if you're opting for cotton, go for 100% organic cotton fabrics, as it is the best quality cotton for your skin. Don't forget to look at the label and make sure that it isn't a mix of cotton and polyester or some other synthetic fiber. Some people also have issues with certain types of cotton, such as vintage cotton clothing, or highly processed cotton.


Silk clothes are also a great option that regulates body temperature well and that is also soft and breathable. The downsides to silk is that it is usually more expensive and hard to care for.


Many people report that clothes made from organic bamboo seem to provide the most relief from their skin conditions. Bamboo viscose's natural fibers are long and silky, extremely smooth, and great at absorbing sweat, which makes it a great choice for base-layer clothing that goes directly on your skin.

For example, if you have sensitive skin but still love wearing wool, you may choose to wear a long-sleeve bamboo viscose t-shirt under the sweater so that the wool doesn't actually come into direct contact with your skin.

Bamboo clothing can come as 100% organic bamboo viscose or as a bamboo blend, which is fine, but just make sure that you're purchasing a bamboo textile that is made of more organic bamboo viscose material than it is of another material.

For example, 70% bamboo viscose, 30% organic cotton? Sounds great! But if the label says 70% polyester, 30% bamboo… maybe give it a pass!

Why bamboo viscose is so amazing for sensitive skin

Fabrics made from natural plant fibers tend to be softer, more breathable, and more absorbing.

Just like you, we were also looking for fabrics that our skin would love. And after a long process of trial and error, we finally found bamboo viscose.

Bamboo fabrics come directly from the bamboo plant, which makes it a natural fiber. Bamboo viscose is a great choice of fabric for people with sensitive skin due to its excellent breathability and moisture wicking. It's also hypoallergenic and gentle enough for even babies' skin!

On top of these great properties, bamboo viscose is also thermo-regulating, meaning it will keep you feeling fresh in summer and warm in winter. If you have sensitive skin that flares up due to variation of body temperature, such as a heat rash, the insulating properties of bamboo viscose can be of a great advantage to you.

Bamboo textile is also known for its antibacterial properties that prevent bacteria from building up and causing other issues such as odor and rashes. Being bacteria resistant also makes bamboo viscose clothing resistant to mold and mildew, common allergens that can also trigger flare ups.

Another reason why bamboo fabric is so great is due to how it is grown and processed naturally. Unlike many other plants, the bamboo plant can grow naturally without the use of pesticides, chemicals or fertilizers. After harvesting, many synthetic fibers go through toxic chemical treatments, while bamboo fibers are soaked in natural enzymes before being spun into yarn.

This means that if your skin is allergic to harmful chemicals, you won't have an issue with bamboo viscose because it doesn't get exposed to these toxic substances. It's also a great alternative to fast fashion options for people who prefer to support environmentally friendly fashion.

All these reasons make bamboo viscose a wonderful option for anyone with sensitive skin.

What brands of bamboo products are available on the website?

On our website, you can find a variety of bamboo products from our brand Spun Bamboo. Some of these items include Bamboo T-shirts, Bamboo Underwear, Bamboo Lounge Pants, Bamboo Long Sleeves, Bamboo Leggings, Bamboo Hoodies and many more. 

What else you can do to help your sensitive skin

Besides opting for sensitive skin friendly fabrics, these are some other things to watch out for when it comes to your clothes:

  • Look for soft seams that don't cause abrasion when you move
  • Look for clothes that have their labels sewn on the outside or printed onto the cloth, or simply cut off the labels before wearing to avoid label irritation
  • Stay away from clothing that is specifically wrinkle-free, stain-repellant, or waterproof, as they might have been treated with hazardous chemicals
  • Wash your garments before wearing to get rid of any residues
  • Use 100% fragrance-free laundry detergent and avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets

While there is no actual cure against having sensitive skin, making the right choices when purchasing clothing can make a huge difference in your quality of life. We hope that these useful tips can help you to make better informed choices the next time you're out shopping!

Spun Bamboo is dedicated to offering top quality, sustainable bamboo viscose clothing (even underwear and socks!) that is classic, timeless, and super soft on all skin types, including sensitive skin. Don't wonder any further, put our bamboo viscose clothing to the test today and see why so many people are raving about this luxurious material at such an affordable price point.

Check out our Men's Clothing here -->

Check out our Women's Clothing here →