Are your clothes causing an itchy rash?

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.

Colored TextilesTextile 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.

See another blog of mine with more information about what to do for rashes and irritating fabrics.  Also I have an Allergy Store on Amazon with lots of products I use and recommend.

If you have found other ways of reducing irritation from textiles, please comment below, I always appreciate comments.

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104 Responses

  1. My daughter seems to only have this issue when she wears clothing with Hello Kitty on it. Would it be likely that a company would use the same dye and additives in all their clothing?

    • Hi,

      Yes, certain brands use the same dyes and fabric finishes on most of their clothes. If it doesn’t help to wash them several times, I would not let her wear them. If she likes the images on them, frame them for her wall.


    • My Issue stems from the threads used even 100% cotton causes problems itching around the neck .printed logo or screen printed shirts the only comfort afforded is turning plain cotton shirts inside out .. some hemp made products are nice but they’re usually the high end products Canadian and US made

  2. What a great blog! I wish I’d seen this a year ago! My son never had a problem untill he was about 2 1/2 and got a new shirt for christmas, it was grey and 100% cotton, and everytime he wore it, (even after probably 10 washes), he would break out it little red bumps, that were crazy itchy, would keep him up at night and would last for about a week after wearing the shirt. My son is now 3 and after ALOT of investigating and several NON-helpful doctor visits, we have realized our son cannot wear ANY new garmet, no matter the color or material, unless it has been washed more like 20 times and some shirts like the grey and blues he can never wear! It is great that this information is here for people! Thank you, it’s good to read we are not alone, the doctor looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned clothing being the cause!

    • I certainly sympathize with you. It is very hard to be so diligent about everything that touches your son’s skin. Don’t forget to treat bedding and towels with the same care. I wash everything using dye-free and perfume-free detergent and double rinse. To save money buy used clothing for your child, you won’t have to wash it as many times. Be careful if the previous owner used fabric softeners, they take a while to wash out. Good luck.

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  4. I am so glad I found this! I bought a pair of skinny jeans at Walmart last fall. They are indigo blue and fit snug on the bottom. Soon after wearing them I started getting rash on my lower legs. It was just a mass of raised bumps that itched like crazy. I’m no stranger to itchy rashes, having had eczema flare ups most of my adult life. This rash was different. It wasn’t the usual little dry red bumps. I tried unsuccessfully to get rid of the rash myself by using over the counter cortizone but nothing helped. I went to my doctor and she gave me something to treat fungal infections. It didn’t do anything but make it itch worse. My doctor sent me to a dermatologist and she took a biopsy… Haven’t got the results yet. She gave me a very strong steroid cream and it started going away after about a week. Since I got stitches where they did my biopsy i have not worn those jeans in a couple of weeks. I can’t help but wonder if it’s not a coincidence. No jeans, no rash. I’m not taking any chances. Those jeans are going!
    Thank you for the information you have posted here!

    • I am glad you are better and have some relief. Your rash sounds just like mine. Go easy on the steroid cream, I used it off and on for about 3-4 years on most of my body and have permanently damaged my skin. Luckily I did not use it on my face and neck. The skin, where I used it on my legs, arms and around my waist is thinner,crepey and darkened. I haven’t used the steroid cream for about 3 years now and it hasn’t returned to normal.

      I am doing better by just watching what clothes I put next to my skin and washing them in non-perfume, no dye detergent ad rinsing twice. Summer’s are better for the rash, because I’m not as covered up in clothes, but everyone can see the damaged areas.

      Good luck, stay away form those jeans unless you wear silk long johns under them.


  5. Spring is around the corner and I feel I am having an allergic reaction to everything especially when I wear clothing. I was wondering whether it would be better to switch to an all-natural organic wear. I seem to get this crazy itch every time I am wearing variety of clothes even if the clothes had been recently washed and dried from the laundromat.

    • I believe that new clothes have more and more finishes on them that we are allergic to. Many last through several washings. Be careful of wrinkle-free, stain resistant and microbial finishes. I always wash all new clothes two or three times before wearing. I am also allergic to certain dyes used on textiles. I try to stick with very light colors and neutrals. In the winter I wear 100% silk long underwear, under all my clothes. Yes, all-natural and organic clothes help, but they are very limited as to style.

      Also be sure to use dye-free and perfume-free laundry detergent and no fabric softener. I use Nellies dryer balls to soften my clothes. Here is a link to my list of suggested products (go in a few pages to see the dryer balls)
      Hope this helps. Look at some of my older posts about itchy clothes, there are a lot of hints. Good Luck

  6. Hello,

    I went to the computer to do some re-search and here is where I ended up. I’m writing in concern of my five year old son. Last night before bed, we put some regular comfy clothes on him for bed. They were brand new and never washed, but I never had a problem with this before. When he was a baby, he would break out occasionally and we just thought he had sensitive skin like his father. He is fair skinned and got rashes from crawling on carpet. Now this morning, he woke up with a spotty rash on his mid section, leading all the way up to his hair line and behind the ears. I checked the shirt, it’s a white shirt with black sewn in long sleeves to look like an under shirt. The tag said the body was 100% cotton, but the ‘hangdown’ was 60% polyester. I was reading previous comments about dark fabrics, especially dark blue. He was wearing brand new dark blue sweat pants. But for some reason, the rash isn’t anywhere on his legs or groin area, just above his underwear line is where the rash starts. The pants were 80% cotton and 20% polyester, made in Bangladesh. He is in the bath now, trying to make sure to cleanse his body. I will put cortizone on his rash to take any precautions. Does anyone have any ideas, as i’m kind of new to the whole rash thing. On a side note, about a month ago he got his measles shot, and then exactly a week later he broke out in a similar rash, and the doctor said it was common for the child to get the rash associated with the measles, after getting the shot, but it’s not really the measles. However, the rash is nearly identical.

    • I”m glad your research has sent you to this site. There is very little on the Internet about skin conditions caused by fabrics or other things that come in contact with our skin, that’s why I started this blog.

      I find it strange that your son got the rash mainly on the area covered by the seemly most innocent parts of the shirt (the 100% white cotton parts). Almost all new clothes have a fabric finish on them to make them look new and fresh. He could be allergic to this finish. I don’t know why he didn’t break out from the darkly colored and polyester fabrics also.

      I would get his rash to clear up first. Carefully wash the shirt in dye-free, perfume-free detergent two or three times and try again. The rash may not have anything to do with the shirt, it may be something he ate or wore before bedtime. The chest or back is a very popular place for a rash to happen from most things. I break out in a rash on my chest and back whenever I take penicillin.

      On the other hand, fabric contact allergies usually are the worst in the areas of friction and dampness: Underarms, inside elbows, the groin and behind knees. Keep me posted on what happens. We can all learn from each others’ experiences.

      • I have some other blog posts about this problem I forgot to mention. and

        Look through the site there are several others. Also, please do not go overboard with the hydrocortisone cream. I have had a bad experience with using it for a long period of time.

        Hope I have helped. Dayne

  7. The other day while wearing roots sweats my legs started itching really bad. I immediately threw them in the laundry bag and during that night rashes started appearing all over my body. I got Benadryl the next day and it definitely helped with the itching but rashes would still appear randomly, without itching. They had mostly gone away until the day I did my laundry. The sweats are in the washer now, but when I came up, rashes reappears all over my wrists and hand (probably from touching the sweats).

    This probably has nothing to do with the material in the clothing, but what could this possibly be? I have never been allergic to anything, I’ve never had rashes before.

    And, more importantly, whatever it is, will washing the sweats even help? I’m washing them with the rest of my laundry, I really hope it doesn’t just spread and contaminate all the clothing.


    • You probably know your answer by now. All clothes, even 100% cotton can have fabric finishes on them. Many people are allergic to these compounds. There is a first time for everyone, even if you have never had a problem before.

      Usually washing (sometimes several times) will help. Always us a dye-free, perfume-free detergent. Also, think about what you have eaten recently that may contribute to your rash. Several years ago, when I was taking penicillin for an infection, I broke out in hives on my chest. I thought it was something I was wearing, so I took off all my clothes and put on old well-washed workout clothes. I found out later I was having my first reaction to penicillin (I now must stay way from it entirely).

      Let me know what happens.

  8. MY reaction has happened only on my neck (really bad, after I shave)… AND, since I moved into this new home (new to me) the home was left vacant for 2 years, in very good shape and pretty much turn key when I moved in. MY CLOSET, however, when I put on clothes – shirts in particular, makes me break out in HIVES around my neck. I Thank you for any help you all can give.

    Should I wash everything in my closet ? That would be very expensive and time consuming.

    • Robert,
      It sure sounds like there is a problem with your closet. Unfortunately, this is all trial and error. You just find what you think is the problem and try to fix it. If that doesn’t work, try the next thing. Even if you went to a doctor, they would have you do the same thing. If you do wash all your shirts, be sure to carefully wash down all the walls in your closet and vacuum all the carpet with a HEPA filter vacuum. You don’t want to put your clean shirts back in a contaminated closet.

      Do you have your shirts professionally washed? Have they started using a new product? Call and find out, it may save you having to empty your closet for nothing.

      Good Luck, Keep me posted.

      • Thanks so much. I will wash all soon. I am moving into a new house soon… and I will clean very well then. I found out that I am ONLY allergic to the items that have gone to cleaners. Thats a big help too… now I will change cleaners and see what happens. THANKS.

        • I try not to send things to the dry cleaners that come in direct contact with my skin. It is amazing what you can wash in cool water and Woolite. I have washed fine silk blouses, lined wool trousers, bedspreads, duvets, wool and cashmere sweaters. Just be sure to use cool to the touch water, the amount of Woolite suggested and DO NOT twist or rub. Then roll them in a towel to take out water and lay flat to dry. It helps to dry heavier things on a clean screen so air can reach both sides.

          For things that MUST be dry cleaned, they are healthier for us after they have aired out a bit. So take them out of their plastic bags and hang in an airy dry place. Don’t let moths lay eggs in them.

  9. Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share
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  10. Hello everyone I’m dealing with the same issue,my uniform shirt irritated my arms,back,neck I started to freak out then I went to my local Dr. I was told its the fabric to wear crew neck T-shirts under my uniform or purchase my own cotton Shirt. I’m using the Aloe plant to help the itching and what did you guys use to heal this itching feeling?

    • Hi, so sorry to hear of your problems, join the group. Wearing a 100% cotton t-shirt underneath that has been washed several times may help. I like silk undershirts because they are not as bulky. has many styles.

      The rash you nave right now can be helped with over the counter Hydrocortisone cream. It works very quickly. BUT!!!! Be careful, do not use it for very long, I used it for several years off and on and have permanently damaged my skin. You may end up with a darkened “tanned” area from the rash, it will go away in a few months. Good Luck.

  11. I really hope somebody can help me with this. Does anybody else get a rash all over after wearing clothing from Victoria’s Secret? I’ve noticed every time I bought anything from there I develop a moderate to SEVERE rash of very itchy, bumpy lesions all over, not just where the fabric touched. I must admit I don’t usually wash the clothing or bras before using them. The thing is, the rash isn’t always located in the same place. I just wondered if there was a connection or if anyone else experienced this. I love their PINK clothing and their bras and products but it really has happened every single time I wore clothing from there this summer! I read about problems back in 2008-2010 but nothing new has come up while searching.

    • I hope someone will join in about their experience with Victoria Secret. I do not use their products, so I don’t have first hand information. It is VERY important to wash all new garments before they are worn. I wash all new garments three times to make sure all fabric finishes are removed before wearing.

      • It’s been just about a year of suffering with incredibly itchy, hives , scaling, and rashes from who knows what. I’ve been ruling out soap, fragrance, dust, food… when it just came to me today…I started wearing Victoria Secret jeans about the exact same time this started happening! I noticed that there jeans always had a very strong, yucky odor to them that wouldn’t come out until I washed them a 3-4 times. Anyways I am going to put away my Victoria Secret jeans until I can rule them out. Wish me luck as I am starting to feel depressed having to live with this constant itching and scarring!

        • I understand what you are going through. I have had to put away or give away a lot of clothes I used to love. I find Levi and Eddie Bauer jeans work for me. Not as sexy though.


    • when I wear their yoga pants I get a rash right below my bottom.

      • What fabric are the yoga pants made of? Are they dark colored? What do you wash them in? These are a few of the things I would have to know before making a suggestion. The usual areas of reaction to clothes are the back of knees, underarms, around waist, under the butt, inner thigh, inner elbows. These are the places where friction happens and sweat collects.If the pants are synthetic, it could be the fibers reacting in an area of you body that have a lot of friction with the fabric and sweat collects. The same coud be said of certain textile dyes used on the pants. Also look at what detergent you are using. Try a detergent without dyes or perfumes and do not use fabric softeners in the wash or softener sheets in the dryer. Also some people have a reaction to the salt in their own sweat, is this an area that collects sweat. Hope these suggestions help. Let me know what you find out.

    • i just read about a lawsuit filed againt VS in 2008 for the high formaldehyde use!

      • 600 people developed severe rashes and scarring and sued.

        • Do you have a link for this?

      • Hi,
        By VS I assume you mean Victoria Secret. I know a lot of companies use formaldehyde to keep their clothes wrinkle free. Research everything you wear and WASH EVERYTHING SEVERAL TIMES before you wear it. No one else is looking out for those of us with sensitive skin, be your own advocate.

        Organic cotton should be a good bet for comfortable clothes.

  12. Hello,
    Two years ago I found out I was allergic to dispersed blue dye 106 that only seems to affect my upper torso. I have eliminated all of my dark colored clothing and only wear white 100% cotton undershirt and underwear. I still very frequently get a rash especially when I sweat. Could my white undershirts be picking up any residual blue dye from our clothes dryer?

    • Hi,

      I have problems with disperse dye 106 also, so I am interested in your problem. I have found that when I wear white undershirts or pants liners under darkly colored clothes, they pick up some of the dye. I imagine this dye could transfer to your skin. It would seem that washing the undershirts would remove any rub-off. I guess the drier could transfer some of the dispersed dye from the original garment to your clean undershirts if they were dried right after each other.

      Do you use dye-free and fragrance-free detergent for laundry? I also double rinse all clothes. Do not use dryer sheets or fabric softeners.

      • Hello… some thoughts,

        1. I only wear white 100% cotton underwear and undershirts.
        2. I wear no blue or dark colored shirts of any kind. I wear no synthetic fabric (however my famity does).
        3. My white cotton clothes are double rinsed, separated from my family laundry, and we only use fragrant free and dye free detergent.
        4. My rash is always above my waist concentrated around my upper chest, shoulders, lates, upper back, neck (t-shirt rub zones).
        5. The rash always seems to be worse in hot humid weather or whenever my skin is moist.
        6. A couple of years ago my children’s school uniform changed to a dark blue shirt, dark blue sock, and dark blue plaid (not cotton) skirt.
        7. After two years of relentless searching for the cause of my irritation I recently noticed that our clothes dryer has a very noticable blue stain. My thought is that when my t-shirts are in the dryer some of this dye is transferred to my cotton t-shirts. When I wear the t-shirts any small amount of body perspiration causes the dye to release onto my skin.
        8. I am going to thoroughly clean the dryer drum (and keep it dye stain free) and hope for the best.

        • Hey thanks for sharing your observations and hopeful way to solve the problem. Your symtoms are very much like mine. Maybe I should run a load of white towels with bleach after the colored clothes. Using bleach with a double rinse doesn’t seem to bother my skin. Towels are another thing to look into for causing irritation. We were using rust and navy blue towels until my husband suggested we try white instead. I can tell a difference.

          My hope is that people with the same symtoms can come together to discuss their problems and things we have tried to solve them.
          Thanks again, Dayne

  13. I absolutely an thankful for all of the tough labor that you’ve devoted to keeping this site here for everyone. I honestly hope this is online for a long time.

  14. Can you help me with my problem?..Is there an allergy to satin textile?…I got my new uniform made of satin coloured yellow,blue and white…from the 1st day I wore it, I got the rashes on my thighs,neck,underarm and chest..

    • Hi Anonymous,

      Satin is not a type of textile it is a special weave that gives a smooth shiny look. You can buy 100% organic cotton satin sheets and they are very comfortable. You can also buy 100% silk satin which is an expensive and luxurious fabric which should not cause problems. Then there is polyester satin, nylon satin, acrylic satin (which is probably the cheapest). These synthetic fabrics use special dyes that some people are very much allergic to. Also there are fabric finishes or coating used to make them feel softer and wrinkle less, all these things are terrible for some people’s skin (including mine).

      I don’t know what your uniform looks like, but if you can wear silk or cotton underwear under the parts that touch your skin. Or if the uniform is skimpy, line the inside with soft cotton or real silk.

      Good luck, Dayne

  15. I have just worked out that I have some type of fabric or dye allergy and discovered this post investigating the problem.

    A few months ago I bought a new pair of work shorts ‘Men at work ‘ by Yakka to try. I was having a groin rash problem that would come and go but I just put it down to fungal infection as it was summer. In hindsight it was probably going when I was wearing my older shorts.

    I liked the fit of them so bought two more pair and switched to just wearing the new shorts. I have had allergies to plants in the past, I’m a nurseryman but never to anything else.

    Well, over the next few months I had to visit the doctor a few times to try and control the problem, fungal creams didn’t work but cortisone type creams did, it was incredibly itchy and at one stage I developed a bacterial infection that I had to use antibiotics for.

    It didn’t gell to me about the shorts being new, by this time they had been washed many times and I had never had a problem with work shorts in the past.

    It wasn’t till I drove to another city 1000km in a pair of the shorts that I saw a new doctor and the idea of had I done something new arose. I make my own detergent so that couldn’t be the problem as I know exactly what its made of and then the penny dropped, the shorts were new!

    I stopped wearing them and the problem is gone except the damage to my skin from the infections , scratching etc, it is quite discoloured now but that may fade.

    The shorts are 100% cotton Preshrunk/ Mercerised, dark blue dye. The seams in the groin area are overlocked and I suspect that the thread used for the overlocking is the culprit as the problem started and was worst there.

    I intend writing to the manufacturer/retailer with the details as I am sure that I am not alone! I thought this post might be handy if someone else was having the same problem with this product.

    • Very nice comment, I love to hear about others who are having some of the same problems with allergies and how they solve them.

      I think you are on the right track. It may very well be the thread that sews the shorts together. Most 100% cotton articles of clothing are sewn with polyester or cotton/polyester thread. The type of dyes used in polyester is different from the dye used in natural fabrics. I have problems with any highly dyed dark fabric, but the dyes used in synthetic textiles are worse for irritation and tend to last wash after wash.

      Stick with natural or white for any clothing that comes in close contact with skin, check out, they have items that are all natural, including thread & no elastic at all.


  16. hi Dayne,
    thanks for this post and your website.

    After 1 year of having on and off rashes in my armpits, 3 months ago patch testing revealed I’m allergic to the disperse dyes used in synthetic clothing.

    The dermatologist said – wear only natural fabrics OR if I wear synthetic fabrics they must be white so I immediately went into “detox” mode and sorted through my wardrobe. Luckily (for now) only my underarms and chest have the reaction, so I have not yet moved onto trying to deal with pants or socks – just concentrating on trial and error on my torso.

    In the first 4 weeks the rash cleared up. As a barrier layer between me and colored fabrics I wore Wintersilks white silk long sleeve tops or Gap white cotton/modal long sleeve Tee-s. A few times a week, in the evenings, I wore colored clothing directly next to my skin, but it was only 100% cotton or cotton/modal blend. (oh, yes, all my bras are white too)

    After about 4 weeks of that regime, the rash was gone as if it had never even been there. Then a few weeks later I noticed I was a little itchiness in the same spots again when I wore a few certain pieces of dark colored cotton or cotton/modal blends. 2 of these items were 100% cotton and washed many times over at least 4 years, but they were dark blue and dark red. the other 2 were new, dark blue, dark grey, and black though washed at least 5 times before wearing.

    I freaked, figuring it’s not just synthetic dyes – it must be all dyes (although the patch testing did not indicate as such). So for the last 10 days I have removed ANY color next to my torso even if it’s all cotton and I have worn only white next to my skin on my torso. white Wintersilks long sleeve undershirts, or 100% cotton or cotton/modal blends long sleeve Tee-s, and only 100% cotton white to sleep in (including the sheets).

    it’s been 10 days of this ONLY white regime on my torso, yet in the last 3 or 4 days I’ve developed a rash around my collar bone area and it’s getting worse. it’s itchy, and the irritated areas are slightly raised and red.

    the only new things I’ve done different from the first 4 weeks when it originally cleared up is that I’ve worn an old white blouse (97% cotton/ 3% spandex) directly on my skin (but it was WHITE and washed at least 20 times) and in the last week I bought a white cotton/poly blend Nike hoodie sweatshirt (washed 3 times in fragrance/dye free soap before wearing).

    Question – just because it’s white, does that mean there is NO dye? (and I do mean white, not cream or off white). I think white is cotton’s natural color, right? But what about silk? does it come out of the silk worm white?

    Question – maybe the problem is the new 80/20 cotton/poly blend Nike hooded sweatshirt.
    - maybe there IS dye in white, or is that crazy talk?
    - maybe something in the finishing is bothering me. I always have something on under the sweatshirt. most of the time it is a long sleeve crew neck cotton barrier. But there have been a few times I’ve worn it over just a white cotton short sleeve V neck T-shirt. On those occasions, it is in direct contact with my biceps, forearms, and my chest (where the v neck doesn’t cover). but the spots that have become irritated would have been covered by the body of the V neck t-shirt. If it is the sweatshirt, could the irritant have gotten on the exposed skin of the open V neck and then TRAVELLED a few inches away? or is that crazy talk?

    Question – I’ve read your advice about wearing white and/or light colored clothing. Do you find that light colored dyes bother you LESS than dark, or doesn’t bother you at all?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Wow, what a great comment.

      Question 1. Just because it’s white doen’t mean you won’t break out. It could have wrinkle resistant or soil resistant finish. It could also be bleached with chlorine bleach and you are sensitive. You might also be sensitive to the polyester or spandex. I don’t have problems with spandex or bleach, but do with some polyesters (usually dyed).

      I believe the silk that comes out of silk worms is ivory or tan. It is then treated (bleached??) to make it white. Brighteners may also be used. I usually go with the cream or ivory color from Winter Silk. Silk dyes in general are supposed to be safer for skin, because they are natural.

      Question 2. I do think that if you are wearing a v-neck undershirt and the dye or synthetic fabric in the top shirt touches your skin in that area, it can also effect the skin right next to it. Clothing moves around some when you are wearing it.

      Also, don’t forget that some cotton clothes are sewn with polyester thread that could irritate your skin. Did you read my blog about wearing the red and white striped t-shirt? I really did break out in stripes.

      Question 3. I find that pale colored items washed 3 times are safer than highly colored clothes washed hundreds of times. The more dye the more irritation. Also red and blue or combinations of these colors are the worst. Don’t forget, Green contains blue, and orange contains red, purple contains both blue and red. Browns and blacks May also contain both colors. I am usually safe with light colored Khaki pants that have been washed 3 times, unless they are wrinkle resistant. Eddie Bauer Jeans have worked well for me also.

      Hope this helps, please write back, maybe together we can solve both our problems.

      • Thanks for your reply Dayne. I’ll post an update after a week or two of not wearing that new Nike white sweatshirt which I think may be the irritant.

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  22. The trigger for my eczema is not the clothes themselves, but the yeast spores they entrap. Yeast spores thrive in dark damp places, so it seems sensible to me that you deprive them of their breeding ground at every opportunity. At last dermatologists are beginning to recognise that yeast is one of the major causes of eczema. Whilst they recommend going around nude and gentle sunbathing in the treatment of psoriasis, they have not yet seen the benefit in keeping eczema at bay. I have found that it is vital to ensure that you are completely dry before you get dressed after showering etc. and remove wet or damp clothes at the earliest opportunity.

    I appreciate that people have to go to work and leave their home, but time spent nude first thing in the morning and/or upon returning home helps to prevent a yeast infection taking hold.

    • I guess I was so distracted with the nude thing in the middle of winter, that I failed to see the point of your comment. (It’s snowing and below freezing where I live) I can see now how yeast could be the cause of some if not all of our eczema problems. I will have to look into this and do some research for a future blog post.

      Thanks, Dayne

  23. After 2 years of puzzling and experimenting, I believe I have just solved my skin mystery!!! I have tried eliminating just about EVERYTHING from my lifestyle and diet, it’s maddening as you all know. I just knew intense itchy spots couldn’t be normal :-)

    • So what have you come up with to help?

      • Well, seeing as I only had my Eureka moment last night, so far I am steering clear of dark coloured clothes to see if that helps. But I have to say that the pics I have seen from people allergic to Disperse blue textile dyes are the only ones that resemble my own rash. So fingers crossed that I’ve cracked it. Huh, I look better in white anyway ;-)

        • Good Luck,

          It’s easier to wear white in the summer and winter. In Winter you can wear white (or un-dyed naturals) under darker clothes. In the Fall it’s harder, because two layers is sometimes too much and white is a little light to wear on it’s own. Well washed Khakis and a white top looks fairly decent in most weather. Good Luck.

    • Alice,do you mean that yeast could be the culprit?

      • Hi Peter, funnily enough I do have problems with yeast, in a dietary way – I feel much better when I leave it alone but this is really difficult. It could be a factor in my skin problems I suppose. I suspect I have an overgrowth of yeast, but keep putting off the inevitable restrictive diet to try and reduce it, as I find it a real chore.

        • What foods, other than the obvious contain yeast? Beer, Bread, and I’m guessing sugar, because yeast likes sugar, what else?

        • There are small amounts of yeast in lots of foods, even crackers, stock cubes and flavourings. The biggies though are wine, beer, bread and anything fermented or brewed – soy sauce for one. Also yeast is generally present in and on fruit skins, especially grapes. You’d be amazed how many packaged foods contain it! It is very hard to cut out yeast and sugar altogether :-(

        • That sounds like a very restrictive diet. I for one would not want to give up wine, bread and fruit. If chocolate is on the bad list forget it, I’m addicted.

        • Yeast in the atmosphere is the cause of candida (thrush), which can affect men as well as women, but it can also cause eczema and doctors/dermatologists seem to have problems differentiating them. Whilst outbreaks of yeast infection can be treated, it seems, that if you are susceptible, it is sure to return, so I feel that it best not to give it the opportunity in the first place! Peter

  24. I normally go around the house and garden completely in the nude. However during the Winter 2004/05 for the first time in ten years, I wore clothes at home virtually continuously and it was not long before I developed quite severe seborrheoic eczema with the worst areas being my lower legs and elbows, although I did have small areas on my upper thighs, chest and waist. In the past I had noticed that if I wore clothes for more than a couple of days I developed spots on my legs, which would disappear once I went around nude again. On this occasion I developed spots around my ankles, which my doctor and I both initially thought were cat flee bites, but leaving them untreated they progressed to full blown eczema: I have since discovered that acne type spots can be a symptom of eczema. I had been prescribed various steroid creams, but all they did was exacerbate the condition. I believe that clothes encourage yeast spores, which it is thought may be factor, to multiply and when the skin become sensitive the clothing acts like an abrasive. I have virtually kept eczema at bay for the past 8 years, by going around nude whenever possible and just apply moisturisers: zinc and castor oil cream is the best, but messes up clothes if worn. I have resolved not to wear clothes at home unless absolutely necessary: fortunately most of my friends, relations and neighbours accept my lifestyle and in future any visitor will have to express a strong objection in order to make me dress. If I am away from home, I find that just an hour nude in my room will help, but I am aware that there is a fine balance and it could flare up. It has not been warm enough for the past week or so the go around nude for any length of time, as my shins are showing signs of redness and itch, so I have rolled up my trousers and, applied some Tea Tree ointment, but feel itchy around the waist.

    • I guess if we could all go around nude all the time, it would help with textile dermatitis and eczema. Unfortunately a lot us work away from home and live in colder climates. My house is rather cold and drafty in the winter. What happens when you sit on things you are allergic to? I think wearing “safe clothes” next to the skin is a better solution for most people. By “safe clothes” I mean; clothes that are made of natural materials like silk and cotton, with organic dyes or very pale colors, no finishes on the fabric for wrinkle resistance or stain resistance. Washing the clothes several times before wearing in detergent or soap that is dye-free and fragrance-free and double rinsing.

      If nude works for you, that is good. I prefer comfortable organic natural fabrics if possible.

  25. I purchased a pair of Disney red footed pajamas from Walmart. I noticed the red dye all over my sheets, even after washing them. Also, there are tiny rubber balls on the soles of the feet to provide traction. These little balls have come off and are all over my sheets also. I think I may be allergic because I have extremely itchy, irritated, and red eyes, a rash on my forehead, and respiratory symptoms. I’m going to stop wearing these pj’s and see if I improve.
    Best wishes to everyone else suffering.

    • Yes, sounds like a case of textile dye allergy. The dye that is used on synthetic fabrics is usually the culprit. The non-skid balls could be laytex, another potential allergy problem. You didn’t say if you actually had the rash on the area coved by the pj’s? Good luck, hope everything clears up when you stop wearing them.

      • Thank you very much for your reply! You made me realize that it was probably the non-skid balls because they were all over the sheets, including by my pillowcase, and I do NOT have a rash anywhere else besides my face and hands. If it were the dye it seems likely I would have broken out all over. I’m unaware of having a latex allergy, but I will keep this horrible experience in mind.

        Last night I washed all my bedding and threw away the pj’s, and already I’m noticing an improvement. Again, thank you! :)

  26. I have all these allergies: textile dye, fabric finishes, nylon, some spandex. I went through a period where I could only wear white cotton clothes washed over several times. In the summer time, I am now able to wear the naturally-dyed clothes from earth creations though I can’t wear the ones with spandex. Also, the German company hessnatur carries some items I can wear. Footsmart carries 100% cotton socks that I wear underneath regular, spandex and nylon-containing socks so they don’t fall down. I have not tried WinterSilks but I will give it a try. The allergic reaction I get is like a sunburn feeling on my skin. If I accidentally scratch my skin while it is irritated like this, I get scratch scars on my skin that scab over. If I wear the offending item too long, I get a butterfly rash on my face as well, followed by hives. One tip I have learned: after coming in contact with a skin allergen, I of course change clothes and then go do some aerobic exercise that makes me sweat and then I shower with something mild. Getting those toxins out of the skin really helps.

    • Joan,

      Thanks for commenting. I will look into the companies you mentioned that carry white cotton clothes. Your rash sounds just like mine. I always describe it like a bad sunburn, that leaves a darkened “tan” area after it heals. I’ll have to try the aerobic exercise to flush out the toxins. Thanks again for your comment. Dayne

  27. A few days ago I bought a new pair of “Riders by Lee” bluejeans at Walmart (RN 130273, Made in Mexico) 74% cotton, / polyester / spandex . A sticker instructed to “wash before wear”. The jeans are a very dark blue. I followed instructions and washed once, but noticed when I wore them the first time that the blue came off on a note i had in my pocket. In the next couple of days I developed a rash and intense itching all over my body. I have had problems before with laundry detergent and suspected the problem to be with the linens in our temporary beach condo that we had moved into the prior week, so I took all the linen and washed it three times (with my own detergent which is “All, Free & Clear”, rinsed, and no fabric softener. Then it dawned on me that it was the JEANS that was causing the dermatitis. The jeans haved been washed three times with my “ALL” laundry detergent, but now I’m not sure about trying to wear them again :( When the jeans are wet I can still rub dye from them using a dry paper towel and scrubbing the jeans with it. This is terrible! Why are these products allowed to be used when they are causing all these skin problems? I’m thinking about trying to return them to Walmart to get a refund!!

    • Hi,
      I agree with you, I wish there were stricter standards on what is put in and on our clothes. I never know when I buy new jeans (or aything else) if I will have problems with the dyes and textile coatings. Usually the darker the jeans the more problems. I have had good luck with Eddie Bauer jeans, I have at least 3 pairs of their jeans and two corduroy pants in different colors. I have a pair of dressier dark jeans from another company that I always wear silk long-johns under. I suggest you get thin silk long-johns to protect your legs, the silk is thin enough so it doesn’t look bulky. I even wear the thin silk in the summer with brightly colored pants.

      I also use ALL Free and double rinse all my clothes and use no fabric softener. I would continue to wash the jeans until the color doesn’t rub off any more. The color may end up lighter than you wish. Hope this helps.

      You have nothing to lose, but your time if you take them to Walmart and try to return them. Good Luck.

  28. Got a rash on my legs from Levis blue jeans.
    Then bought a new pair from Sears, and through advise from google I tried to soak them overnight before wearing them. I got a chock. The water was yellow brown so you could barely see the jeans in an 8 inch deep sink.
    I had not added any detergent so this was purely “run-off” from the jeans.
    Looked like the water you see in rivers in Asia. I am guessing that they wash them in this water during fabrication. Even after have put the jeans through two machine washes I still got the rash but far less than on the previous pair which I did not pre wash. The rash takes 7-10 days to disappear, while not wearing jeans, and looks like red dime size areas that itch and the skin will eventually peal of and fresh skin will appear underneath.
    I have never had an allergic reaction to anything before and I believe it is from pesticides or other pollutants in the water they use when manufacturing the jeans.

    • Hi,
      The reaction you had with the jeans is pretty normal. Most people don’t have problems, but those of us with sensitive skin will have allergy reactions to any irritant that rubs against our skin. I always wash my jeans several times before wearing, the dye in some brands and other irritants on the jeans will wash off with time and repeated washings. Some designer type jeans will have a brown over-dye over the blue dye to make them look aged. So even if the jeans look like pre washed jeans, still give them a wash before wearing. Putting a little salt in the water will help to set the blue dye so it won’t come off on your skin, but I’m not sure what it will do for your rash.

      I have a similar rash to the one you describe. After it heals and peels, it will leave a darkened (tan) area on my skin that lasts for months. The worst irritant for me is wrinkle resistant coatings on fabrics. My best luck so far has been with Eddie Bauer jeans. After washing, I can wear them without wearing silk long underwear under them. Yes, I wear very thin silk long underwear under almost all my colored clothes in the winter. In the summer I only wear white or very pale colored cotton, linen, silk or rayon.

  29. I’m allergic to nylon. Seatbelts give me a rash if they touch my skin, sunglasses do if the arms are nylon, a pillowcase with nylon thread gave me bad rashes on my face, and the stitching in many clothing items also gives me rashes. It took a long time before I realized that many of the rashes really are from contact allergies. I also have allergies to some foods and for a long time assumed that was the cause of all the rashes.
    I had Winter Silks but the stitching on the seams of the long-sleeve shirts gives me a bad rash on my hands/wrists/forearms. It’s really hard to find clothing with non-synthetic stitching. Since the contents of the stitches don’t have to be labeled, nobody does. I’ve resorted to burning bits of thread from inside seams to determine if it’s synthetic or not.
    It’s really hard to find clothes that don’t make it worse for me. I can’t wear bras at all. I suspect I might be reacting to dyes as well. Any advice would be welcome!

    • Hi,

      I didn’t know used nylon thread to sew their items. I don’t have an allergy to nylon unless it it dyed with certain synthetic dyes. Have you tried They claim their products are 100% cotton and synthetic-free and chemical-free. They even sell an all cotton bra without latex, spandex or elastic. Then there is organic cotton clothing. Another site for undies and bras:

      I’m sure you could ask any of these sites about the kind of thread they use. They are used to working with people who are allergic to all sorts of things.

      I use a silk pillow case I have sewn myself with silk thread. I bought the silk charmeuse fabric and washed it several times before sewing it into a pillow case. Be sure to have the opening overlap quite a bit. The case will be slippery and the pillow may slip out. I love it because my hair isn’t messed up in the morning and it feels good on my face.

      I wish you well, Have a happy and comfortable Holiday.

      • Hi, thanks for your responses. I do not know for sure that Wintersilks uses nylon thread. A burn test shows it to be synthetic but I haven’t written to ask what it is. It gives me a rash whatever it is :/

        I have not tried Cottonique, or the other 2 you mentioned. I will write and ask what kind of thread they use. I did write to ONNO which has some nice looking things but they use a nylon/cotton blend thread which I am sure would be bad for me.

        I like the idea of making my own pillowcase, I will try that. Do you look for fabric of certain colors to avoid dyes that cause problems?

        thank you

        • Yes, I have problems with the type of dyes used on synthetic fabrics. The dyes used on natural fabrics are “usually better” but nothing is for sure. I wish manufacturers would have to list all components used in a garment just like they are “supposed” to list all ingredients in a food product. I have problems with darker colored dyes on all fabrics, especially reds and blues.

          Before I knew for sure I was allergic to fabric dye, I wore a long sleeve knit top with 2″ red and white stripes. That evening when I took off my shirt, my skin where ever it touched the fabric, was striped. That’s when I started paying attention to the dyes in fabrics. Not everything is that easy to track down. Fabric coating like wrinkle release (formaldehyde resin) are invisible. Most reported allergic reactions have been to dispersal dyes with azo and
          anthraquinone structures. These dyes are loosely held on the fabric structure and easily rubbed off on the skin. Disperse Blue 106 and 124 are used in the 100% acetate and 100% polyester blue, black, green and violet liners of women’s clothing.

          Let me know about the thread in the different natural fabric clothes and I will post the results. I find it interesting that a company would advertise hypoallergenic clothes, would have synthetic thread in the seams.


    • I didn’t comment on your remark about seat belts and eye glasses. Make a cover out of cotton for the belt where it comes in contact with your skin. You can use snaps to hold it on (be careful the nickel in the snaps). I’m also allergic to nickel.

      Also the side pieces of eyeglasses and the nose pads, My mother has an allergy to these. She now wears titanium glasses with a nose piece that sits directly on her nose (no pads). The ear wires must curl around the ears somewhat to hold them in place on the nose. They are quite comfortable.


  30. I just started this year getting itchy small bump rashes on my back, waistline, under breasts etc. Are your itchy with bumps too?

    • Yes, my rash starts with areas with small red burning itchy bumps, then drys out over a few days or weeks and turns into a dry flaky area that itches. Then it leaves a damaged scared or tan area on the skin. It sounds like you have your rash in the perfect areas for textile contact dermatitis, the places where your clothes rub your skin. See my blog on Skin allergies, read down the page to the blog “Are your clothes causing an itchy rash” written on 3/17/10. The blog about blue jeans might also have some good hints. Also read “Textile allergies, Are you allergic to your clothes?” 6/15/10. I wish you luck. Let me know how your rash is doing after you try a few of these things.

      • I got a rash 2 1/2 years ago. It happened 5 times, my family doc and dermatolagist had no clue what it was from. Then a few weeks later when I got it again after wearing a new shirt, I realized that it had happened after wearing clothes that had been sitting in the closet. I went to try on new clothes in a store the other day and got it again after 2 1/2 years of carefully washing clothes before wearing! Anyone have an idea what in the clothes caused this?

        • Hi,
          I always have this problem with new clothes and highly colored clothes or clothes that are treated with wrinkle-free or stain-free coating or have certain kinds of dyes. When I try on new clothes at the store I always break out in a rash.

          Wash all new clothes three times with a dye-free, perfume-free detergent. Do not use fabric softener. If after washing your new clothes several times you still have problems, wear something soft and white underneath. I wear silk long johns under my clothes in the Fall and Winter. In the summer, I just stick to white, off-white or old well washed clothes. Blue jeans can be a problem, I find the silk long johns don’t make the jeans tight or lumpy. Go to they have a good selection, their colors are beautiful, but stick to white or beige. Hope this helps, let me know. Dayne

  31. i seemed to have that problem with the tagless shirts, on my back, just right under the neck, i thought was allergic to down linen or something else, it seemed the brand new shirts were the ones that caused the most until after several washes, but still my skin is coming into contact with the ink, its very uncomfortable, almost a burning sensation sometimes, it seems clothes are now going for the tagless style, i wish they start regulating the ink that their using on clothes nowadays, or improve it to where some of us don’t have reactions, i’m resorting to covering up the tag with sport band-aids, it should stay i mean its suppose to stay on you even after sweating, u just got to by a lot of band aid boxes, thanx for reading

    • I think the ink used on the new tag-less shirts has latex in it to thicken it. A lot of people are allergic to latex. Make use you use latex-free band-aids to cover up the tag. Have you tried ironing until it is soft then scraping off the printing? I have had some success with this technique.Wintergreen oil still works best.

      Yes, I wish manufacturers would tell us exactly what in in, or on clothing. In fact, I wish I could tell what is in everything I use. Thanks for your comment.

  32. Thanks a lot for the info. I get very HOT and itchy when I wear dark clothes and always have. I have told my girlfriend how I feel and that I have rashes right away. She thinks I am crzy and it is all in my head. I was very glad to read your post. I wear whites shirts every day and feel fine until we go out and she wants me to wear black… Now I can show her I am not the only “Crazy” person out there and this is for real. Thanks a lot.. STEVEN IN AZ

    • Hi Steve,
      Yes, I think you may have an issue with dyes, synthetic fabrics or fabric finishes. Have you tried wearing a light weight white cotton or silk undershirt under these itchy shirts? You can go v-neck or low u-neck if it don’t want them to show. It should help with everything but the inner bend of your arm.

      Good Luck,

  33. Sometimes a rash to elastic can be from any number of natural rubber latex proteins and/or to the chemicals used to process rubber latex. The same chemicals are often used to process some non-latex elastics and some spandex/lycra.

    Cottonique sells the tie-front bras which aren’t bad. But the worst is not having elastic in underwear or in leggings – so you’re pulling up your britches every few minutes!

    I don’t know if some of the chemicals used to make elastic have similarities with chemicals used to make clothing dyes.

    There are organic clothes made with vegetable dyes, but I don’t know what types of chemicals are used in conjunction with the vegetable dyes.

    Cottonique whites remain the safest for me.

    • Thanks for the great information, you know a lot about this issue.

      • Clothing dye is a new issue for me, so I happened to find this website while researching colorants.

        While raw and peeling skin may not be life-threatening, we are at greater risk for infections because of open wounds in our skin. Skin simply doesn’t heal well when faced with a contact allergen on a regular basis.

        There is a TV show called WHAT NOT TO WEAR which offers fashion advice. Those of us with clothing reactions would put a whole new spin on the concept.

        • “What not to Wear,” one of my favorite shows. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if I was on the show. A real challenge for them, to find clothes to accommodate all my allergies. Going shopping with me is not any fun at all, I don’t think they would approve of my white on white summer outfits. Then everything would have to be washed three times before I could even try it on.

  34. Yes, it’s always “which white under clothing do I get again” at – since I can’t wear 99% of the clothes that have tagless finishes, fabric finishes, coloring dyes, elastic/latex, spandex.

    People don’t realize that these things can creep up on you. One minute – you’re normal, and the next minute – you’re getting rashes from most of your clothes!

    • Summer is the worst for me. I end up wearing very boring white wrinkled cotton clothes, because it’s too hot to wear long johns underneath colored things. At home I always look like I just got out of bed in my white on white, wrinkled, soft, many times washed outfits.

      Do you have problems with the “tagless” printing on clothes? Why can’t the manufacturers realize that so many are allergic to the ink they use for these labels? The synthetic tags drive me crazy, but I can at least cut them out.

      • I actually haven’t developed a rash from the tagless stamps – yet. But I’m leery now of most things because I react to elastic, spandex, wrinkle-resistant finishes, and dark dyes.

        For those of us with dye issues, we really look as though we’re wearing white bed sheets every day. And sheer white summer fabrics reveal our under clothing, too.

        • I’ve been wondering, what women do when they are allergic to elastic? I can’t figure out how they can make a comfortable bra without elastic. I have started to get breakouts under my bra straps, I hate to think this may be the start of an elastic allergy. Is the allergy actually to rubber (latex)?

          I’m enjoying this conversation.

  35. I get crusty, weepy rashes from certain synthetic fabrics, synthetic dyes, and fabric treatments. IT IS A NIGHTMARE!

    I order from

    • It sounds like the same rash I get. After the rash goes away does it get dry and flake or peal off, then leave a darkened area on your skin (like a tan)?

      I also like to wear clothes from, they don’t have any fabric finishes. Other cotton clothes must be washed several times before they can be worn. I also get protective garments from Winter Silk. I wear thin silk long johns under my lined or dark colored trousers and undershirts under my blouses. Silk can get pretty warm, it is best for winter.

      Synthetics are out because of the dyes that are used. Also it helps to wash your clothes in a dye-free, perfume-free detergent and don’t use fabric softener.

      If you have any more hints, please write again.

      • Long johns are not an option because of the elastic. Even latex-free elastic and spandex bother me, so you are luckier than I am.

        I hate the peeling and flaking of the skin after a reaction. And the skin takes months to recover.

        • Sorry to hear you also have problems with elastic in clothes. The long johns I get from http://www.cottonique do not have elastic at all, they use draw strings. The long johns I get from has a covered elastic. There are several styles of long johns to pick from, look carefully.

          Good Luck, Dayne

      • Do the silk long johns you wear have the lace at the top or do you buy the plain waist with the cuffs at the ankle? I’m interested in trying them. I just had a serious allergic reaction over the weekend – my skin was covered in wheals – Now my clothing is making marks on my skin – esp. at night when I am laying on them.

        Thanks for this site.

        • Hi,

          I get the silk long johns with the covered waist band and the cuff at the ankle or my favorite is the low rise with the v front. The lace waist is scratchy and it rolls. Read carefully, they have quite a few styles. I have also ordered a large in the kids sizes (I’m small),they had one that was silk and cotton at the time I ordered it. Be sure to wash everything several times with dye-free, perfume-free detergent or soap and rinse well before wearing.

          Hope this helps for you. It really is nice to have something you can be completely comfortable in to relax and something to sleep in that’s safe, other-wise you get no relief.

  36. Haha I am honestly the first reply to your incredible writing?!?

    • Hi Jenny,

      You are the second to reply to the post about Allergy to Clothes. Do you have a problem with a reaction to fabric dyes, fabric coatings and detergents? I’d like to hear more.

  37. If only more people would read about this..

  38. Hehe I’m really the first reply to this incredible post!?

    • Hi,
      It would really be great if you would have added something to the discussion or asked a question. I want to start a dialogue about these subjects, I guess it takes a while.

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