Eczema treatment and silk clothing. Expert facts from Chris Steeples MD of Espere health

Over the 11 years that I’ve been selling DermaSilk to the NHS and members of the public, this is one of the most commonly asked questions.

It usually follows the question “Can’t I just buy silk clothing from M&S” or “What makes DermaSilk so different?” when I say “…because of the antimicrobial protection.

It’s a good question and the answer is relatively straight forward.

Firstly, studies have shown that the skin of children with eczema have more bacteria on them than children without eczema. These bacteria, commonly staph aureus produce a substance called a “super-antigen” which has been shown to irritate the skin and cause it to itch. Anything which would promote the proliferation of these bugs would therefore be bad news!

Silk may be made up of smooth filaments but it is a fibre of animal origin, being secreted by the silk worm. Like all animal based products, it can act as a food to microbes, causing them to grow and reproduce.

Put a piece of silk in a petri dish of bacteria and they grow all over it! This is one of the reasons why dermatologists do not advise parents to buy silk from high street shops to put on their children.

Just imagine, increased levels of staph aureus being fed by the clothing that was supposed to be smooth enough to soothe the eczema!

There is therefore a sound and valid reason for the silk to be protected.

As DermaSilk is designed to be washed and worn for many months before it is replaced (usually because it is outgrown) it is vitally important that it is antimicrobially protected with a finish which does not wear off and does not leave the fabric to move onto or into the skin.

DermaSilk uses a product which meets all these requirements.

It is a product which forms a microscopic lattice over the surface of the silk, binding to itself and the silk fabric like chainmail. It cannot be washed off or worn off so it protects the silk from bacterial and fungal attack by means of tiny, tiny spikes which puncture the bugs, killing them on contact, to be washed off the fabric at the next wash.

Without nourishment, the bacteria die off and so the silk is protected.

This all sounds good in theory – but is there any proof of this having a positive effect on the skin of eczema patients? The answer is yes.

In a ground-breaking (and some would say commercially dangerous) move, clinicians examined the effect of 2 different DermaSilk sleeves on the arms of 30 patients aged between 3 months and 31 years. The sleeves were colour coded, one green and one red and the patients were instructed to use the same sleeve on the same arm (their choice) for the full duration of the study for 28 days.

Nobody knew that one coloured DermaSilk sleeve had the antimicrobial attached and the other didn’t. Measurements were taken at 7, 14, 21 and 28 days using a method called SCORAD and by a patient’s own perception of itch.

When the study was finished the code was broken to see how the 2 different sleeves affected the eczema severity. Interestingly, both arms showed some reductions in eczema severity for 2 weeks but after that, only the DermaSilk with antimicrobial arm improved.

Similarly, the itch scoring was statistically significantly better under the DermaSilk sleeve treated with the antimicrobial, again indicating that the antimicrobial was making a positive contribution to the patients’ feelings of wellbeing.

This is only part of the DermaSilk story. Many individual factors contribute to the benefit of continuous underwear replacement with DermaSilk and thousands of children (and hundreds of adults) can tell their stories of how their lives have been returned to them, simply by changing underwear.

The pull of shiny silk on the high street may be strong but if it doesn’t say DermaSilk on the packet it won’t do what DermaSilk does to the skin.

For much more information and to read heart-warming case studies please visit our website –


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