If you have textile dermatitis, you are not alone, more and more people are becoming sensitive to the clothes they wear. Generally, it is not the cloth itself people are allergic to, but the dyes and finishes added to the fibers. Textile dermatitis also can be caused by detergents used to wash your clothes and fabric softeners.
Textile rashes usually occur at friction points on the body: Under arms, inner elbow areas, behind knees, around waist and inner thighs. Luckily it is usually the areas are hidden by clothes most of the year. The rash can damage the skin to the point that a residual change in texture and color is evident on the skin for several weeks or months after the irritating clothes are removed.
New textile technologies have recently been developed with the goal of giving additional functionality to garments. Textiles have been “improved” to protect against UV radiation, wrinkling, soiling, fading, fire retardancy and many other modern conveniences. All these technologies can cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Certain dyes, especially disperse blue 106 and 124 and some red dyes which are combined in acetate and polyester clothes in all color families except pure yellow and light creams and beige.
Many blue jean brands use a blue dye that gives me a rash. I have read that Levis 501 Jeans use indigo dye which is advertised to be hypoallergenic. Levis 501s do not fit me well so I haven’t been able to test this. I find Eddie Bauer Jeans that do not cause irritation for me.
There are no guideline by the FDA for a definition for hypoallergenic. One is definitely needed for any clothing item, cleaning product or cosmetic that comes in contact with the skin. Sensitive individuals should wear 100 percent natural-based fabrics, such as, cotton, linen and silk. 100 percent silk long-sleeved undershirts and slip pants, and loose-fitting clothing really help. All of these items should be washed three times prior to wearing with a dye-free, perfume-free detergent. Also double rinse all clothes that come in direct contact with your skin.
I do all these things for my textile dermatitis and it really helps. I order 100% silk undershirts and long johns from Winter Silk. They have a full line of styles from very thin and light to heavy weight for winter warmth. I use a dye-free and perfume free detergent like Nellies Washing Soda and Natural Anti Static Dryer Ball for Dryers instead of fabric softener.
If you have found other ways of reducing irritation from textiles, please comment below, I always appreciate comments.