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Why should I use silk instead of cotton underclothes? Whilst both fabrics are natural products, silk has the advantage over cotton as it is a protein fibre of animal origin rather than a vegetable fibre and has the ability to mimic human hair. The long strands of silk provide a smooth, friction free garment which will not irritate the skin, even on the most active toddler. In addition, DermaSilk is capable of maintaining a stable body temperature in whatever climate and absorbing up to 1/3 rd of its weight in moisture before it begins to feel damp. These are important features for children with eczema as cotton garments can feel cold when they get damp and encourage the child to sweat more and lose further moisture to keep warm.
Why should I not use ordinary silk underclothes instead of DermaSilk? Conventional silk underclothes are made of tightly woven threads which do not allow for the free passage of air through their weave – rather like the material used in parachutes. DermaSilk uses a specially designed knitted construction with plenty of ventilation capacity. You can breathe through 48 layers of DermaSilk without too much effort. This is very important for eczema patients who need to maintain a stable temperature and moisture levels close to their skin.
Why has the sericin been removed from the silk?
Medical grade silk, used as stitches in surgical operations, is made of pure fibroin, the central core of the silk thread. This is because the outer sericin coating of conventional silk has been shown in the past to be linked to some allergic reactions. There has only ever been one report of a single allergic reaction to Fibroin silk in the whole world. DermaSilk therefore uses pure fibroin silk for this reason.
Are any dyes used in the manufacture of DermaSilk? DermaSilk is manufactured using pure un-dyed silk. It is only available in its natural light cream colour. We made this decision as some dyes can generate allergic reactions in sensitive skin and this is the last thing you need with an eczema child!
Why do I have to wear the clothing all the time?
The benefits of DermaSilk are most pronounced with continual use as its activity depends upon close contact with the skin. DermaSilk can be worn for shorter periods of time or removed for those occasions where it would not be appropriate.
Why is the fabric so fine? If it were made thicker then surely it would be stronger? It is the fine knit of DermaSilk which gives it the ability to allow the skin to breath and act as a “second skin”. Thicker knits would only be bulkier and interfere with the lifestyle of the patient. DermaSilk is discrete and allows wearers to escape from their condition and wear normal fashionable clothes over the DermaSilk.
I am used to loose fitting clothing. Will there be any discomfort from wearing close fitting garments? Loose fitting cotton clothing can be very bulky and difficult to hide under outer clothing. DermaSilk, by contrast, is designed to act as a second skin. The smooth nature of silk means that the wearer will be unaware that they are wearing DermaSilk and the ability to wear today’s fashionable clothes over DermaSilk means that the rest of the world will be unaware too.
Do I have to wear any special clothes on top of DermaSilk? No. DermaSilk clothes are designed to be worn discretely under any form of outer clothing. Just pick the style that suits your needs.
Are the seams going to irritate the skin? No. Special attention has been paid to the design of the garments. For infants the seams are on the outside of the garment and the clothing for children and adults use very small seams with over-locked stitching to prevent any raw edges coming into contact with the skin. In addition, the thread used in the manufacture has no lubricating oil on its surface. whilst this makes the manufacture of DermaSilk a little slower it is worth it as mineral oil allergies have also been described in medical journals.
What would I use the undersocks for? DermaSilk undersocks perform a number of functions. Firstly they help to keep the feet fresh and free of odour since the Microbe Shield is capable of killing the bacteria responsible for foot odour. They are also effective against the fungi responsible for Athletes’ foot and so they help relieve the itching associated with that condition.
What is the Microbe Shield? The Microbe Shield is a specially designed antimicrobial substance which protects the garments from contamination from a number of common bacterial and fungal microbes. It is non-toxic to humans, is permanently bonded to the silk fabric and does not wear out over time.
Will the Microbe Shield irritate sensitive skin? The Microbe Shield has undergone extensive sensitivity tests and has been used in hospitals for nearly 30 years. Furthermore DermaSilk garments have been available in many parts of Europe for nearly a decade and no reports of any adverse reactions have been recorded.
Does the Microbe Shield leave the DermaSilk? The Microbe Shield is permanently bonded to the silk by a patented process. It has been shown not to leave the silk – even after over 50 washes. Other antimicrobial coatings are designed to leave the fabric and kill organisms on the skin, but DermaSilk retains its killing power throughout the life of the garment.
Can I use all my medical creams with DermaSilk? DermaSilk is designed to complement the majority of dermatological treatments. However as DermaSilk works best when in direct contact with clean skin, we advise that all medical creams and ointments are fully absorbed into the skin before putting on the DermaSilk.
Is DermaSilk suitable as a replacement for Wet Wrapping? No. Wet Wrapping is a specialised technique used by people with specific needs for extensive emollient therapy. In this type of treatment patients have large amounts of emollient applied to the skin and then covered with a damp dressing. As the DermaSilk would not be in direct contact with the skin its positive effects would be blocked by such large amounts of emollient. DermaSilk can be used as conventional underwear once the eczema flare-up has subsided and the Wet Wrapping discontinued. Many nurses are now finding that the use of DermaSilk prior to moving on to Wet Wrapping actually reduces the need to move to more severe and time consuming treatments such as this.
How often should I wash DermaSilk? DermaSilk can be washed as often as necessary. With some forms of weeping eczema it may be necessary to wash it more than once a day to remove any discharge.
Why should I not wash DermaSilk loose in the washing machine? Silk is by nature a delicate fabric and washing by hand will help prolong the useful life of the garment. The major concern is that the shearing effect caused by the silk tangling with other clothes might rip the seams. However, if you do wish to use a washing machine please put the DermaSilk in a net laundry bag to help prevent the shearing and wash on a delicate (silk) cycle in the machine.
Why should I not use a fabric conditioner? Fabric softeners add chemicals to the fabric of any garment and can block the gaps between the individual fibres which help to regulate temperature. Silk will stay soft for many washes without the need for a fabric softener which could irritate the skin.
What is the reason for using a bicarbonate of soda soak every 10 washes? In many areas there are minerals in the water which can remain on the silk fibres after washing and rinsing. The bicarbonate of soda soak, every 10 washes removes the hard water residues from the silk and prolongs the life of the garment and helps to maintain its softness. An overnight Bicarbonate soak in water at 60 degrees C can also be used to remove stubborn stains from the garments.
How long should a garment last? This is very much dependent upon the type of garment worn, the nature of the wearer and whether the garment is worn alone or under other clothing. It is generally expected that the garments used for infants are more likely to be out-grown rather than worn out. We have heard of some families passing the garments down to younger siblings once they have been outgrown.
How long will the Microbe Shield last? Microbe Shield will retain its effectiveness throughout the life of the garment.
Has DermaSilk been tested medically? DermaSilk has undergone a series of clinical trials in a number of different medical conditions and has been shown to offer a positive benefit to the wearer compared with those patients who were not selected to wear it. These results have been presented at medical meetings around Europe and several have now been published in medical journals. It is this clinical information which has given the UK authorities confidence in approving DermaSilk for prescription.
My child doesn't like to wear cotton undergarments because they look unfashionable. Is DermaSilk different? DermaSilk garments have been designed to be discrete. They are a neutral colour, so they match with most clothing and are made of a fine knit which can be “hidden” under even the most skin tight clothing. With no bulky seams, coloured stripes or loose fitting underclothes, even the most fashion conscious child or teenager should get on with DermaSilk. One of the major problems told to us by families is how they manage to get their children to take them off as they are so comfortable!
What age range does DermaSilk cover? Eczema and dermatitis can affect any age group. DermaSilk garments are therefore available in varying sizes and designs to suit infants from birth with Atopic eczema right up to the elderly who may experience the discomfort of Varicose or Asteatotic eczema.
I have hand eczema caused by contact dermatitis. Can DermaSilk help? It is thought that upwards of 5% of the UK population may suffer from some form of latex allergy and many others suffer from contact dermatitis associated with chemicals such as cleaning detergents and hair preparations. DermaSilk is almost unique in that it has a range of fingered gloves, especially designed to be used in hand eczema. These gloves can be worn alone or under protective rubber, latex, nitrile or household gloves when the hand could come into contact with skin irritants. The gloves are available in child and adult sizes and are available on a doctor's prescription in the UK.
DermaSilk seems expensive, is it good value for money? Whilst the initial cost may seem expensive, you should remember that the garment is made of pure medical grade silk with an added anti-microbial permantently bonded into the fabric and this is what makes DermaSilk durable, long lasting and so clinically effective. The durability of DermaSilk means that they often outlast many of the cheaper alternatives.
Are there any other materials used in DermaSilk? Some elastane and lycra may be used in certain items but they are covered in the DermaSilk material in such a way that these other materials do not come into contact with the skin.