There’s really nothing wrong with sweating. Our bodies release toxins and regulate heat when temperatures rise by releasing perspiration. But let’s face it, in the right conditions sweat can acquire, ahem, a certain ripeness. A combination of moisture, warmth and sloughed-off skin breeds the bacteria we associate with body odor.
When Rose Gerstner began Sympatico in 2006, she experimented with both hemp and Tencel clothing before finding a blend of the two fibers achieved even better results.
One of the things I love about the Sympatico blend of 55% hemp and 45% Tencel is its ability to keep those odors at bay. Both fibers have natural antimicrobial properties that will give you extended wear without the need for laundering. I recently put this to the supreme test on a trip to Southeast Asia with its extreme temperatures and humidity levels. I found that spritzing my Sympatico apparel at night relaxed the day’s wrinkles and aired out the garment so it looked, felt and smelled fresh in the morning.
Hemp fiber has an extremely porous structure with countless nooks, crannies and spaces. This creates a great amount of surface area, accounting for both hemp’s ability to absorb moisture as well as allow air to flow freely. Its breathability hinders the growth of anaerobic bacteria.
The Tencel content in my fabric does its part similarly. With 50 percent more absorbency than cotton, it releases moisture quickly, allowing it to evaporate into the atmosphere. It conducts moisture directly from our skin to the interior of the fiber where bacteria is less likely to flourish. Unlike synthetics, it allows our skin to regulate its own body temperature. By the way, though it’s manufactured, Tencel is not a synthetic fiber. It’s produced entirely from farmed Eucalyptus trees whose pulp is converted to fibers using closed-loop processing that prevents environmental damage. The trees themselves need little water and do not require artificial pesticides or fertilizers.
Perhaps best of all, the combination of hemp and Tencel acts naturally to prevent bacterial odors without any of the dubious chemical treatments you’ll find in some sports and technical apparel.
When you consider the time and energy savings of less frequent laundering combined with its breathability and odor resistance, Sympatico’s fabric is a smart and sustainable solution to combating the swelter factor.