Textile allergies- are you allergic to your clothes?

Allergies to clothing is quite common, the reaction is mostly because of the finishes or dyes used on the fabric. More and more fabric finishes are being used everyday, so more and more people are becoming allergic to clothes. This is a subject that I have been very concerned about for the last 10 years or so when my symptoms started.

Textile dermatitis is red bumpy slightly weepy skin rash, usually found in the underarm, inner thighs, inner elbows, around waist, behind knees and under tight clothing. It may dry out when it heals and flake or peel. I always tell people it’s like a bad sun burn. Red painful swollen and weepy at first, later becoming dry and itchy. It then peels or flakes and leaves a darkened, “tan” area for weeks/months. Some people can also have itchy, teary eyes and shortness of breath along with the rash.

• Cotton rarely causes an allergic reaction itself, but azo dyes, disperse dyes and formaldehyde resins used to give a non-wrinkle finish may cause sensitization. White or softly colored soft cotton that has been washed many times is a favorite of mine. http://cottonique.com has a selection of very soft untreated cotton items.
• Silk is one of my favorite fabrics, it’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It comes in many different weights for all seasons. Usually the dyes used on silk do not cause allergic reactions. Silk can be layered to protect the skin from more irritating fabrics. I get my silk at http://WinterSilk.com
• Polyester along with acrylic, nylon and spandex can cause irritation that could be because of the material itself or the dyes or finishes used.
• Wool may cause irritation in some people, because of the roughness of the fabric or because of a reaction to the lanolin. Cashmere does not bother me as much as regular wool, I must be a true princess.  What you can do for Textile Allergy….

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8 Responses

  1. Recently I bought myself out of a rushed need, a convenience store cheap lumberjack poly fur hat (Cross Hatch brand). That is a likely the cause of a severe allergic reaction (also, I straight wore it, without a first wash).
    I may’ve also aquired strepp throat just previously (increasingly sore glands, body aches for a few days, and fever), but on the outside I got:
    More behind-the-ear cebum than usual, the next morning it became crystalized green-yellow, dry on one side, not much on the other but I scratched off dry blood tiny pearls. (To mention, I wore the hat home as I started getting the strepp aches and fever, off to work the next day, came home, got comfortable, dropped to my bed, called in sick, started to feel mildly itchy on my face).
    The next day (today) was a full on neck ears face rash. Went to a walk-in, they said don’t wear the hat. I didn’t. Prescribed meds. I got em.
    I now have welts where the rash started, raging burn-itch in places, I have welts in my arms and the itch is going across my body.
    Any thoughts, help would be welcome?


    • I should add, I called in sick the next day, then Saturday to the Walk-in.
      Another add: never been allergic to any textile, except wool which I got accustomed to as I grew up in Canada.


      • Hi Jose, I read your comment and it sounds like the hat caused the rash. Maybe being in a run-down condition because of the previous Strep Infection could have made you more sensitive. After this you may always be sensitive to the type of fiber the hat is made of or the textile dye that caused the irritation. I am beginning to think textile sensitivity starts when the body is in a weakened condition. The sensitivity may then continue to bother you for years. Hope you are better by now. Happy New Year.


        • Possibly a combination of everything. I didn’t mention that my apartment (very short term) is stank full of mold, and I am always throat-sore, yet stable to just be a bother. So being constantly tender ever exposes the tissue there.
          I have a strong suspicion the origin is on the dye and/or process (corrosive/heavy metals used), anything made in China as in this case, is very much suspect.
          I was given a very familiar hydro-cortisone type cream, used it once and stopped to see if the skin heals alone, it is.


  2. Appreciating the dedication you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.


  3. Textile allergies- are you allergic to your clothes? Allergy Comfort Zone Discussion Forum I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about Textile allergies- are you allergic to your clothes? Allergy Comfort Zone Discussion Forum Best Regards Lawrence Rolf


  4. It is certainly interesting for me to read the post. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more on this blog soon.

    Katherine Karver


  5. There are a lot of comments on this subject under the “”Are your clothes causing an itchy rash?” Blog heading.


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