We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat”, but what about what you wear? Does it make sense to stop eating processed food to avoid additives and ditch plastic water bottles to avoid BPA, yet continue to wear synthetic clothing treated with chemicals?
It is worth remembering that our skin is the largest organ in our bodies. It just makes sense to take care with what we wear against our skin.
Here are a few steps you can take to detox your wardrobe.
Choose Natural Fibers
Let’s be honest. We don’t like synthetic fabrics at all, so call us biased. Polyester, acrylic and nylon are all offshoots of the petroleum industry. Rayon is recycled wood pulp that must be treated with chemicals like caustic soda and sulphuric acid. Who wants to wear this stuff on your body?
Choosing natural fibers such as cotton, linen, silk and cashmere means far less chemicals next to your skin. You can take this one step further by choosing fabrics made from organic fibers that have been grown without pesticides.
Natural fibers allow your skin to breath. Not only will this make you more comfortable, it actually helps get rid of toxins. Your body eliminates fat-soluble toxins through the sebaceous and sweat glands. So allowing your skin to breath helps your body to detox.
It’s worth noting that natural fibers are also more biodegradable than synthetics, making them a good choice for the environment. Plus synthetic fibers are far more flammable than natural fibers. Some synthetics actually melt and meld to your skin. In fact, the US Armed Forces have banned marines in the Middle East from wearing synthetic fiber clothes after numerous cases of disfiguring burns caused by synthetic clothing. (Why doesn’t this stuff make the news?)
Look Out for Chemical Finishes and Dyes
Fabrics with claims such as “water resistant”, “wrinkle free”, “no iron” and “flame retardant” may be convenient but they aren’t necessarily great for your health. Some studies have suggested that the chemicals used in these fabric finishes may cause asthma and cancer.
Sometimes natural fibers are treated with chemical dyes that may result in a reaction if your skin is chemical sensitive. Ideally look for fabrics that either use natural dyes or no dyes at all.
Use a Natural Laundry Detergent
Most laundry detergents contain chemicals and fragrances that can be a problem, especially for people with skin sensitivities. Dry cleaning is known to use carcinogenic compounds perchloroethylene (PERC) which has been associated with migraines, nausea, respiratory irritation and organ damage.
We suggest that you launder your clothes with a natural laundry detergent…and try to avoid the dry cleaner.
Wash Before Wearing
Even when you try, it can be difficult to completely avoid chemicals in fabrics. It’s a good practice to wash new clothes before you wear them, especially if they contain synthetic fibers or have been treated with a fabric finish.
This is not new advice. In 1931 an Adelaide doctor landed in hospital, close to death, after wearing a pair of new woolen underpants. He had worn them without washing them first, and suffered a severe allergic reaction to the sulphites in the fabric. The doctor sued and won a case against the manufacturer in one of Australia’s first consumer law cases. But we are quite sure he would have been better off if he’d just washed his underwear first.
At Galleria we are very careful about the clothes we make available to you. Whenever possible, we choose natural fibres and work with local suppliers, who are transparent about their supply chains and production processes.