Your undies might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering your skin health around your stoma or surgical wound, but they can have a very critical part to play in keeping your skin healthy. Lets uncover why?
When it comes to our skincare routines, we often focus on the products we apply directly to our skin, the lotions, moisturisers, or scrubs etc but have you ever considered the role of the fabrics you wear in promoting skin health? Fabric wicking, a remarkable feature found in many modern textiles, offers significant benefits to our skin. So let’s delve into the world of fabric wicking and learn exactly why it is essential to your skin health.
Understanding Fabric And The Wonders Of Wicking:
First of all, YOU CAN’T SEE IT…Fabric wicking refers to the ability of a textile to quickly and efficiently draw moisture away from the skin and transport it to the outer surface, where it can evaporate. We have created a short video demonstrating this process in action.This process enhances the fabric breathability and the wearers comfort which is why it’s often used in sportswear or active wear clothing. Comfizz originally specialised in sportwear over 20yrs ago when breathable fabrics were a fairly new thing. So being in the know early on meant they knew to incorporate wicking into their medical support wear and have continued to increase wicking and breathability wherever possible in their support wear range. There are now lots of support wear companies to choose from and on first appearances some products look almost identical, but they are NOT. Watch the wicking video that demonstrates this.
JUST BECAUSE THE GARMENTS LOOK THE SAME DOESN'T MEAN THEY PERFORM THE SAME.
Watch the video of two identical looking garments where one wickes beautifully but the other does not wick at all.
The Importance of Moisture Management:
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and proper moisture management is crucial for maintaining its health and vitality. When sweat or excess moisture lingers on the skin's surface, it creates an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth, skin irritation or even infection. Here are some of the ways that moisture management can benefit the skin
- Moisture Control:
Wicking fabrics excel at moisture control by pulling sweat away from the skin and allowing it to evaporate quickly. By keeping the skin dry, these fabrics help prevent the accumulation of sweat/moist skin, reducing the likelihood of bacterial growth and skin irritation.
Wicking fabrics are often made from synthetic materials or blends that promote enhanced breathability. This breathability factor enables air circulation, facilitating the evaporation of moisture. Improved air circulation prevents sweat from becoming trapped against the skin, reducing the risk of clogged pores and allowing the skin to breathe more freely.
- Temperature Regulation:
Wicking fabrics help regulate body temperature by effectively managing moisture. During physical activity or hot weather, the body perspires to cool itself down. Wicking fabrics aid in this process by swiftly wicking away sweat, which cools the skin through evaporation. By maintaining a comfortable body temperature, wicking fabrics reduce the risk of heat-related skin conditions such as heat rashes and discomfort.
- Skin Irritation Prevention:
The moisture-wicking ability of fabrics can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitive or reactive skin. By minimizing prolonged contact with moisture, wicking fabrics reduce the risk of skin irritation, chafing, and friction-related problems. This makes them an excellent choice for people prone to eczema, dermatitis, or allergies.
FABRIC WICKING IS EXTRA IMPORTANT FOR OSTOMY SKIN CARE AND POST SURGERY. Here's why:
After undergoing surgery, the skin needs proper care and attention to facilitate healing. Wicking fabrics play a vital role in this process:
- Wound Healing: Fabric wicking helps maintain a dry environment around the surgical incision or wound, preventing excess moisture buildup. This can reduce the risk of infection and promote faster healing.
- Comfort and Sensitivity: Post-surgical sites can be sensitive, and regular clothing fabrics may cause irritation or discomfort. Wicking fabrics provide a gentle, soft touch against the skin, minimizing friction and reducing the likelihood of irritation.
- Scar Management: Moisture control is essential for optimal scar healing. Wicking fabrics help draw away moisture from the wound site, allowing the skin to breathe and minimizing the risk of excessive scar formation.
Stoma Skin Care:
For individuals living with a stoma, fabric wicking is of special importance due to the unique challenges they face:
- Moisture Management:
Proper moisture management around the stoma is crucial to prevent skin breakdown, irritation, and infection. Wicking fabrics excel at drawing moisture away from the skin, keeping the peristomal area dry and reducing the risk of complications.
- Skin Integrity:
The skin around the stoma is more vulnerable and prone to damage due to constant exposure to bodily fluids. Wicking fabrics help protect the skin by minimizing prolonged contact with moisture, reducing the likelihood of skin breakdown and promoting healthy skin integrity.
- Odor Control:
Fabric wicking also aids in odor control for individuals with a stoma. By efficiently wicking away moisture, these fabrics help reduce the accumulation of bacteria and prevent the development of unpleasant odors.
- Comfort and Confidence:
Wicking fabrics provide comfort, flexibility, and a secure fit for stoma appliances and accessories. They offer a smooth, breathable surface against the skin, reducing irritation and enhancing overall comfort. Feeling comfortable and confident in clothing can have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of individuals with a stoma.
Choosing Wicking Fabrics:
To reap the benefits of fabric wicking, look for clothing items made from moisture-wicking materials such as polyester, nylon, or blends incorporating these fibers.
The cotton myth… Many people think that cotton is the best most hygienic fabric particularly for underwear, believing it’s soft and cool to the skin but that is so untrue.
There’s a saying “Cotton in the hills kills” The meaning behind this is if you are wearing cotton when hiking in the hills, which causes you to sweat, then the cotton holds a lot of moisture and can't wick it away from the skin. If the weather turns cold and you become stranded, your clothing will be damp and you are more at risk of becoming chilled and developing hypothermia.
Many activewear brands now offer a wide range of wicking apparel, including t-shirts, leggings, socks, and undergarments. Integrating these fabrics into your wardrobe will ensure that your skin stays healthy and comfortable, regardless of your daily activities. Comfizz specialise in medical support underwear which is all breathable and highly wicking to enhance skin health.
When considering clothing options for post-surgical or stoma care, prioritize the use of wicking fabrics to provide the necessary support and comfort for these specific needs. Skin that can perspire efficiently and stay dry is happy skin.