Allergy symptoms: a red, itchy rash may signal an allergy to clothes



Dermatologist Ophelia Veraitch explains that certain clothes and fabrics can cause itching and inflammation of the skin. Clothing allergies can be more common during the winter months due to the synthetic fabrics and materials like wool often used in winter clothing. Here are the warning signs to look out for this winter.

There are two different causes of clothing allergy – an irritant reaction and a delayed immune reaction.

Dr Veraitch said: “An irritant reaction to fabric fibers is more common with synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester and elastane than natural fibers such as linen, silk and cotton.

“[While] Delayed immune reaction, or contact allergy, is caused by chemicals that are added to the tissue during its manufacture.

The latter is typically caused by finishing agents used in the garment industry to treat fabrics, including formaldehyde finishing resins, flame retardants, and dyes such as paraphenylenediamine.

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The doctor explains that these finishing agents are added to make your clothes waterproof and resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage.

She also cautions that another culprit that can cause a reaction after wearing clothes could be the laundry detergent you use.

“There are a number of different factors that can be responsible for the onset of allergy,” said Dr. Veraitch.

How to detect a clothing allergy

The doctor identifies a red, itchy, scaly, “very uncomfortable” rash on the skin as the main symptom.


Here are some other symptoms to watch out for:

  • Rash on the skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Tearing
  • Runny nose.

The dermatologist said, “Sometimes symptoms appear within hours of clothing touching the skin, other times it can take days or weeks.

“The areas most likely to be affected are the places where the skin is in closest contact with clothing, where the fabric rubs against the skin.”

According to the doctor, the areas most commonly affected by clothing allergy are the back of the knees, armpits (area under the joint where the arm connects to the shoulder), groin and buttocks.

When you experience such symptoms, Dr Veraitch advised, “It’s always best to use your common sense and try to avoid tissues that you know are causing a reaction on your skin.

“If you’ve tried this and the skin reaction persists, I would see a dermatologist.”

The constant itching associated with this condition can in some cases lead to skin infections or even be a sign of another more serious condition.

How to relieve the symptoms of clothing allergy?

The doctor said, “It is important to maintain the skin barrier with a soap-free wash, regular moisturizer, and a topical steroid.

“Weaker ones like 1% hydrocortisone are available over the counter, and anything stronger should be prescribed by a doctor.”

Other tips she offered included sticking to natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk when shopping, avoiding tight-fitting clothing, and wearing undyed fabrics when clothing. are in close contact with the skin.

Examining the labels and ditching anything with the “wrinkle resistant”, “dirt repellent” and “wash separately” labels might also help, as they are often treated with problematic formaldehydes and dyes.

Veraitch The last tip was, “If you have a clothing allergy, it should go away once the offending tissue is removed.” “


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