When it comes to compression garments in recent years, the debate has been strong regarding different materials. If you’ve ever wondered which you should choose between PowerNet and ComfortWeave®, you’re in the right place.
In this guide, we want to discuss both materials while looking at some findings from an important study in the niche. By the end, you should have a better idea of how they differ.
What’s PowerNet and ComfortWeave®?
For those who are unaware, these two materials are used within the compression garment industry. With PowerNet, this was considered the ‘industry standard’ for many years as an elastic fabric. However, ComfortWeave® then came along and took some of the spotlight. With new elastic fabric technology, it quickly captured the imagination of experts, which led to an important study across 2006 and 2007.
Between these two years, a total of 70 patients took part in the study; while 50 had recently undergone a suction-assisted lipectomy of the thighs and abdomen, 20 had minor liposuction whether in the knees, neck, back, or another area.
Ranging between 138 and 170 pounds and between ages 17 and 39, patients were each given a control garment (PowerNet) and an F5-certified experimental garment (ComfortWeave®). Covering the area between the breasts and the mid-calf, patients were asked to change garments every 24 hours over the course of one month. In the weeks after the study, the patients attended consultations and filled out a questionnaire.
Now that we understand the basics surrounding the study, what actually happened? Firstly, we can say that the results were accurate since 94% of completed surveys were consistent in answering the questions. Ultimately, one garment came out on top for three main reasons:
Over 8 in 10 said that the ComfortWeave® material was more comfortable and conformed to their body shape. On the other hand, the PowerNet garment caused itching and irritation for the skin.
Both garments were measured for softness, compression, stretch, healing, comfort, and aesthetics; the ComfortWeave® material obtained a score of ‘Good’ or above in every single category. From the study, one message was clear; participants would generally select ComfortWeave® if given the choice.
Key Differences in Fabric
Interestingly, both materials actually utilize a knitted fabric, but they differ widely when it comes to the mechanical structures of the fabric as well as fibre quality. As with most garments in this niche, the balance between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ fibres is vital; soft fibres are highly elastic like spandex (a.k.a. elastane) while hard non-elastic fibres are similar to nylon. Here’s the composition for each;
- ComfortWeave® – 49% Spandex, 51% Nylon
- PowerNet – 25% Spandex, 75% Nylon
With ComfortWeave® having nearly double the amount of soft fibres, the results of the study are perhaps not so surprising.
Along with the content proportion, the type of fibres used in production also plays a role in the final result.
- ComfortWeave® – Soft LYCRA® Spandex, TACTEL® Nylon
- PowerNet – Standard Spandex, Standard Nylon
Soft LYCRA® spandex and TACTEL® nylon are advance engineered versions of the standard spandex and nylon fibres used in PowerNet, providing the tactile properties that contribute to better fabric performance.
TACTEL® nylon fibres are three times more durable, at least two times softer and at least 20% lighter than other nylon fibres. Furthermore, TACTEL® nylon is naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial.
There are two features to Soft LYCRA® Elastene – a flat stress-strain curve and high elongation. With these two features, it provides more comfort, control and freedom of movement. With the ComfortWeave® product using Soft LYCRA® Elastene (spandex), there’s a more consistent fit regardless of size. Users can now enjoy a soft stretch with enough power to outperform the standard stretch fibres found in PowerNet. While other spandex products lose power over time, the unique fibre structure of Soft LYCRA® retains its strength making your investment last longer.
If we look at the PowerNet construction, it’s a formula created many decades ago. Essentially, the visible nylon (non-elastic) yarns are wrapped around the hidden elastic spandex yarns rather tightly. For this reason, it can be quite harsh on the skin (as proven in the study!).
Comparatively, ComfortWeave® uses a very different knit structure. A floating spandex grid is formed by fusing together Soft LYCRA® spandex yarns. This can be seen from the top view. Viewed from the back, TACTEL® nylon fibres provide the required strength and protection after being laid loosely. With this patented construction from the manufacturer, the skin comes into contact with more of the Soft LYCRA®, giving it a smoother surface.
In simple terms, the PowerNet material has an open structure allowing the skin to push through the tiny openings (thus the irritation). For ComfortWeave®, the face is more compact, and the skin can enjoy a smooth fabric surface.
For comfort, support, and softness, most people prefer ComfortWeave® and hopefully now you have a better understanding exactly why. Since the results of this study was published, Marena has improved their F5-certified fabric innovation to F7. For the full F7 lowdown, follow us @aestheticinsiders on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks to fabric innovation, ComfortWeave® is now the alternative for the traditional compression material – one your skin will love!