This post is under review and in the process of being rewritten.
Benefits of Cotton/Bamboo Sleeves for Topical Steroid Withdrawal
Although topical steroid withdrawal can affect the whole body, flares commonly appear on the face, scalp and limbs. The limbs are perhaps the most functional parts of our body and are in constant motion and contact with objects and spaces. This makes them susceptible to rash and irritations.
Cotton or bamboo sleeves can help manage the discomfort and protection of the skin during topical steroid withdrawal. Cotton and bamboo sleeves are comfortable, snug-fit but not compressed materials that wrap around the inflamed area, protecting it from direct contact with allergens and keeping treatment in. Typically, a gauze roll can be wrapped around the forearm, however it is not very durable and may quickly come loose. A cotton or bamboo sleeve is snug and firm and can help maintain the functionality of your limbs while protecting your skin from external allergens.
How can cotton or bamboo sleeves help manage topical steroid withdrawal?
1. Improves quality of sleep
Sleeves are more commonly used at night, even though they can be used during the day. Cotton is a highly absorbent material, and bamboo is four times more absorbent than cotton (1). This makes cotton and bamboo sleeves a favourable option for an overnight therapy for those who wet wrap overnight.
During the night, when cortisol levels are lower, flare ups can often happen which can trigger unconscious scratching during sleep. Sleeves can help physically obstruct your nails scratching the surface of your skin – protecting the healing progress of your skin.
2. They enhance pharmacological outcomes of eczema therapy.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition often managed with topical and systemic therapy. The use of cotton or bamboo sleeves for eczema falls under non-pharmacological treatment. Still, it has been proven to improve the effectiveness of topical treatment for eczema. In one study, paediatric patients treated with wet therapy did not require any systemic immunosuppressants to manage eczema flares. (2)
Experts recommend using wet therapy with cotton and bamboo sleeves as a component of multidisciplinary treatment for Atopic dermatitis.
3. They can prevent acute scratching
Cotton and bamboo sleeves are lightweight and made from breathable material. Wearing a sleeve during the day stops you from scratching triggering a flare up. Some cotton and bamboo sleeves also come imbibed with antimicrobial agents like zinc oxide, known for their soothing activity. (3)