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Which kind of clothing lets your skin breathe?

Dr. Sanjeev Gupta 86% (25 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Medicine, POST GRADUATE CLINICAL COURSE IN DIABETES MANAGEMENT
General Physician, Delhi  •  17 years experience
Which kind of clothing lets your skin breathe?

Between a woman dressed in a satin dress and another dressed in cotton, who do you think was more comfortable? The lady dressed in cotton ofcourse! It isn't the length of the dress that dictates this answer but the breathability of the fabric.

Breathability can be defined as the fabric's ability to allow air and moisture to pass through it. This is determined by the composition of fibers and how tightly they are woven together. Wearing breathable fabric helps your skin breathe by allowing sweat to evaporate rather than block skin pores. This also helps regulate your body's temperature. So, when you go shopping for your summer wardrobe, look out for these fabrics.

  1. Cotton: Cotton is a natural fiber hat can be found in a number of varieties. However, not all of them are breathable. For your skin to breathe, avoid cotton blends and stick to 100% cotton fabric. Seersucker and madras cotton are great for summer. Cotton clothes are ideal for dry summers as well as humid conditions.
  2. Linen: The light weight nature of linen makes it an extremely breathable fabric. This natural fiber also absorbs moisture very well.
  3. Light Silk: Silk is often termed as a winter material but light silks are ideal for any weather. Silk is highly absorbent and dries quickly thus allowing your skin to breathe. It also has natural climate regulating properties that allow it to stay cool in summers and warm in winters. Silk is also the most hypoallergenic fabric available.
  4. Chambray: Chambray is a breathable alternative to denims. While heavy weight chambray has a rugged appeal, light weight chambray can have a casual as well as dressy appeal.

On that note, here are a few fabrics to avoid

  1. Nylon: Nylon is a completely synthetic material with low absorption and a water repellant nature. Thus not only will it not allow sweat to evaporate, it will trap your sweat within your clothes. This is both uncomfortable and unhealthy.
  2. Polyester and Polyester blends: Like nylon, polyester is water repellent and thus allows perspiration to between your clothes and your skin causing the garment to stick to the body. Don't assume a polyester cotton blend to be any better as even a 40% synthetic presence can keep the fabric from absorbing sweat.
  3. Viscose or Rayon: Both these fabrics are often passed off as cotton. However they do not have the absorption or breathability nature of cotton. While it will not trap heat like nylon and polyester, rayon also repels water thus leading to a perspiration build up.
  4. Satin: Satin is produced by weaving nylon and polyester together and hence is synthetic and does not allow the skin to breathe. Also satin is thick and heavy.
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