As I’ve adopted a holistic lifestyle over the past decade or so, I’ve become more conscious of what I put on my skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and it absorbs… everything! 

Over the years, I switched out my hair products, makeup, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and laundry soap to natural, toxic-free options. I stopped using dryer sheets and perfumes and I stopped painting my nails. 

As a result of all these changes over the years, I’ve significantly decreased the toxic load absorbing into my skin and gave my liver a break from having to process an onslaught of chemicals each day. 

Given all these changes over the years to prevent toxins from absorbing into my skin, it took me a while to consider another major component coming in contact with my skin every day: my clothing. 

In today’s blog let’s explore the impact of toxic chemicals in clothing and some alternative cleaner and healthier options for you and the environment.

The Impact of Toxic Chemicals in Clothing

Over the past couple of years I’ve started to pay attention to the materials of the clothing that I wear and how this can impact me on a physical and vibrational level.

A lot of that connects to my overall sensory sensitivities when it comes to what touches my skin. I want to be comfortable and struggle when clothing is uncomfortable, clingy, or triggering in some sensory manner.

But beyond comfort, I honestly hadn’t given much thought to fabrics and the impact they could have on my health until recently. Given clothing is next to your skin pretty much all day long, it is a factor to consider.

Non-organic fabrics and synthetic fabrics have toxins in them. These chemicals have been linked to health issues. What does that mean as these toxic chemicals in clothing cover your skin?

What Are Synthetic Fabrics?

Synthetic fabrics include acrylic, polyester, and nylon clothing, which are made from a kind of plastic and generally derived from petroleum.

When products from these synthetic fabrics are made, used, or washed they release microplastic fibers into the air that we breathe and deposit in water into the environment.

Outdoor and indoor dust can contain these microplastics. When you breathe those in it can cause an inflammatory response in your body.

Rayon and modal are considered semi-synthetic fibers, made from regenerated cellulose, such as wood and agricultural products. 

Synthetic Fabrics… Stink!

Have you ever noticed when you wear clothing made from synthetic fabrics that you… stink? Haha. I say this from experience.

Body odor happens when bacteria on your skin break down acids in your sweat. This bacteria that causes you to stink grows better on polyester and other synthetic fabrics. It’s an ideal habitat for them. Microbes love the cozy warmth of your armpit! And they love synthetic fabrics. 

I started to notice that some of my clothing made from synthetic fabrics continued to stink in the pits after washing, or that I started to stink quickly after wearing them. Now all I can think of is the colony of bacteria that continued to live in that area! Was it ever really “clean”? Eek.

Breathability of Polyester 

Additionally, these synthetic fabrics are not breathable. Plastic does not absorb water. That’s one of its primary features. 

So, that’s a fantastic combination, right? A non-breathable fabric that makes you sweat and microbes that love hanging in your armpits on plastic fabrics. Where does all that go? Your armpits are your primary source of detoxification for your skin. You sweat out the bad. 

Polyester traps sweat and bacteria against your skin and because it doesn’t allow your body to breathe, this can lead to inflammation. That’s not a great situation for those of us with chronic illnesses. We want to get inflammation down!

Polyester is suffocating your body’s natural detox channels, chemical-laden next to your open pores, and a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Natural Fabrics to Choose Instead

A better choice for breathability is cotton, but organic is best.

Organic cotton is a better choice since it’s not grown with the same amount of chemicals and uses less water when you go to wash it. Organic cotton reduces health risks from exposure to highly toxic pesticides. 

Compared to conventional farming, organic farming results in cleaner air, better soil and fewer toxins in your clothing. Plus, it uses 81% less water and 62% less energy to be produced.

Organic Linen Clothing is the Best Choice

The best choice for breathability and sustainability is organic linen. Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. It’s naturally resistant to bacteria and fungi and requires no pesticides and little fertilizer.

Linen is stronger than cotton. It’s one of the few fabrics that is stronger when it’s wet, rather than when it’s dry. It absorbs moisture better than other fabrics, even cotton, and dries quickly. 

Since linen is a natural fabric, like cotton, it’s breathable and better at keeping your body cool. Naturally grown fabrics are better at drawing moisture away and allowing heat to escape from your skin. 

Both cotton and linen last longer than synthetic materials. They are durable and sustainable, which is better for the environment. 

One thing I noticed with my clothes made from synthetic fabrics was the piling that happened after a few washings. I later learned that piling is a result of cheap fabrics. While these clothes can be soft at first, they don’t last! Once they started to pill they didn’t look good anymore. We have a huge waste issue with cheap clothing. 

Frequencies of Fabrics

In consideration of these factors, it’s clear to see that the fabric that comes in contact with your skin could play a role in your physical health, but what’s not as clear to “see” is the impact of fabric and frequency. 

In 2003, a study was done on the frequencies of fabrics by Dr. Heidi Yellen. Frequency was determined through the use of a digital instrument that analyzed the signature frequencies of agricultural commodities to aid the farmer in determining the right time of harvest growth.  

Each fabric gives off a frequency that can be measured in mHz (megaHertZ). 

According to this study, the human body has a signature frequency of 100, and organic cotton is the same—100. The study showed that if the frequency of the fabric is lower than 100, it can put a strain on your body. 

A diseased, nearly dead person has a frequency of 15, and that is where polyester, rayon, and silk register. Non-organic cotton registers around 70.

Higher frequency gives energy to your body. This is where linen comes in as a super-fabric. Its frequency is 5,000! Pure flax cloth is an antenna for energy. It has been used throughout history over wounds to accelerate the healing process. 

Holistic Clothing Makes a Difference

To sum up, in a nutshell, fabric matters. In pursuit of a healthier life, it’s another label to check and read.

I’ve become more conscious of toxic chemicals in clothing over the past couple of years and have slowly been shifting the fabrics in my closet, bed and bath to natural options.

A couple of my favorite natural, organic brands are Pact for organic cotton clothing and Under the Canopy for towels, sheets and more.

Check out some other of my recommended holistic products here.

Have you made changes to what comes in contact with your skin? Do you choose holistic options? Drop some of your favorites in the comments below.

Much LOVE,