Could You Have a Clothing Allergy?

Do you notice that your allergies are worse when you put on certain items of clothing? If so, it's probably not a coincidence. Many people find that their allergy symptoms can be traced back to the fabric, treatment or even color of the things they wear.

All in the Weave

If you prefer wearing silk tops and 100 percent cotton sweaters rather than wool or synthetics, it could be because the natural fabrics feel better against your sensitive skin. People who are prone to eczema may find they get a rash and suffer from itching that's caused by certain fabric content. In addition, dressing in heavy clothes or too many layers in the winter can further worsen the problem, since sweat gets trapped against your skin. Therefore, winter dressing can pose particular challenges.

Clothing Allergy and Color

It's not only winter fabrics that can be irritating to your skins, either. Colors can also make a difference in how clothing articles feel against your arms and legs. This is because there are variations in the dyes used for different colors and certain ones are known to be harsher than others. In fact, blue clothing seems to be the one that causes the most reactions, at least according to a study performed by the researchers at the University of Ottowa in Ontario, Canada. The results, which were included in the American Journal of Contact Dermatology in March 2000, revealed that when certain blue pigments are contained in clothing lining that's made from acetate or polyester, the likelihood or having a reaction is at its height.

Meanwhile, another study revealed that in addition to the fabric and color of your clothing causing a reaction, certain clothing items could also serve as magnets to attract other allergens. This can put you at increased risk of having a clothing allergy reaction, according to scientists from the Institute of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia. Their findings, which were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) in November of 2000, revealed that items such as wool sweaters attracted high levels of dust mites and cat dander, while freshly washed T-shirts attracted significantly less of these common triggers. So what you wear can truly affect how you feel on several levels.

Why Care What Others Wear

Further, a separate study that appeared in the June of 2004 issue of JACI, found that it's not only your own clothes that can make you sick. If you're allergic to animals yourself and spend time in close quarters with someone else with a pet, researchers discovered that the animal dander could be trapped right in his clothing, sparking your allergic reaction from a distance.

Washing Hazards

Finally, in some cases, washing clothes frequently can help to reduce the amount of allergens they attract from the air. However, proceed with caution before you do your next load of laundry. In addition to having allergies to the materials used to make your clothing, you can also find yourself having a reaction to the laundry products themselves.  This is because some detergents contain chemicals, scents and dyes, all of which can spark a reaction in people with sensitive skin.

Therefore, if you notice you have allergy symptoms when you wear certain items, before you give these pieces away you might try switching to a hypoallergenic detergent that's free of chemicals. You can also try newborn laundry detergent, which is especially made for highly sensitive skin.




The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI)

U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health