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  • Writer's pictureChuck Johns

5 Reasons Why Cotton Compression is the Best Material for Compression Garments

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Cotton Compression Garments?

One recent development in design and fashion is the rise of popularity of compression garments. These have long been popular in some shape or form, albeit not in a mainstream sense.

Compression garments were formerly prescribed by doctors to older patients, especially since these patients tend to have particular needs that compression wear would cater to.

However, these applications are not the only ones that are seeing compression wear being popular anymore. People from all walks of life, from athletes to nurses to travelers, have embraced the usefulness of compression wear.

Compression and It's Benefits

Compression is ideal for the body because of its many benefits. When we spend long periods of time standing or sitting, as we do for work or travel, the circulation in our lower limbs tends to slow down and allow blood to pool in the veins, leading to such problems as deep vein thrombosis. Compression helps the body's circulation go back to its normal pace, as the snug fit of the compression fabrics encourage the veins and channels to let blood flow more efficiently, allowing for better oxygenation where it's needed. People whose work involves lots of standing or sitting for long hours (such as on long plane or car trips) tend to appreciate the benefits of compression wear.

Compression wear is useful for athletes, of course, as their physical activity tends to call for good support for knees and elbows. Nurses, whose work tends to involve being on their feet for much of the day, benefit from compression socks and stockings as well. Pregnant women and older clients also need compression to improve their circulation. However, many are susceptible to the pitfall of picking compression gear made with synthetic fabrics that can cause irritation of the skin, which is particularly troublesome for such tight garments.

For others, however, cotton is a far better choice. While compression garments are usually made of Spandex or Lycra as a matter of course to create the compression effect, ones made with a cotton blend are usually preferable to those made with other fabrics.

1. Cotton allows your skin to breathe.

Quality cotton or combed cotton is one of the more comfortable fabrics to have snug against your skin to begin with, mainly because of how it allows your skin to breathe. It does not impede air flow as much as some more "opaque" fabrics do, which allows air to flow through it to the skin. This is particularly helpful for compression attire, which otherwise fits like a second skin -- imagine wearing a skintight sheath over your legs that feels like plastic, and you'll long for the feel of breathable cotton.

2. Cotton allows for dampness to dry.

Being breathable material, cotton is able to absorb the sweat your skin generates, making the material damp and not you. When this happens, you're able to move more comfortably, because your skin isn't soaked in sweat -- imagine being a nurse on the job, an athlete in the middle of a game, or an airline passenger having to stew in your own uncomfortable moistness. Cotton allows you to avoid all that by absorbing moisture instead of repelling it and leaving it on your body. Following this, the breathable nature of cotton will let your compression wear air dry, meaning even that doesn't stay wet.

3. Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic.

One common problem prospective users have with compression wear is that many brands tend to use synthetic fabrics along with Spandex and Lycra to make them. The latter two can be used in hypoallergenic form, but many synthetic materials might cause itching and allergic reactions in users. Cotton literally naturally avoids this problem since it's naturally hypoallergenic, giving people the compression experience without the possibility of snug-fitting garments creating a serious itching problem underneath.

4. Cotton helps keep you warm.

While cotton can actually have the opposite effect when it soaks up sweat and before it dries, cotton can actually help keep you warm as it breathes. It's breathable but can be thick enough -- in compression wear especially -- to keep the skin snug and warm without being irritating. It's particularly pleasant when you're not wearing compression socks or sleeves for athletic use -- cotton compression socks can keep you toasty warm around the house.

5. Cotton feels comfortable on the skin.

There's a reason most of your other garments are made of cotton, and it's general comfort. You might find yourself having trouble imagining people wanting to wear shirts and pants made of itchy, non-breathable synthetic fabric. Compression wear is best worn for long stretches -- remember, the people who need it are likely those who will be standing or sitting for long periods -- and the more comfortable the fabric they're made of, the better, because you'll be putting up with that for a while.

So, if you are to choose a compression garment for whatever need, it is best that you get the most comfortable compression garment there is.

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