Clothing allergy is a very common phenomenon. Allergic reaction sometimes can appear within hours after the clothes come into contact with the skin, other times it can take days. The symptoms include redness, itching, dryness of the skin or blisters.
Different fabrics from which clothes are made can provoke allergies. Nevertheless, some fabrics also have increased risks.
Wool, synthetics and nylon fabrics are the most common culprits for allergic reactions, which can also be very unpleasant.
Elastin is a common causative agent, containing the remains of metal dust, soap or preservatives that are related to the textile production process or the maintenance of fabric properties during storage.
Wool can be an allergen in itself, but more often skin reacts to lanolin alcohol used in wool processing. It is important to have in mind that wool retains a large amounts of dust, pollen and other allergens. Also, people with sensitive skin may feel discomfort in the form of burning or itching sensation when in contact with wool fibres, but this is not a true allergic reaction.
Polyesteris a synthetic fibre such as acrylic, nylon, and spandex. The culprit can be the material itself or the agents used in the production process. They are used in socks, skirts, underwear and often cause skin irritation.
Silk, however, very rarely causes allergies. This natural material is light, translucent and allows the skin to regulate well body temperature.
Cotton wardrobe is made of natural fibre, it is soft and almost never causes allergic reactions. If an allergic reaction does occur, most often the causative agent is formaldehyde, used to preserve cotton from decay and parasites.
That is why it is very important to wash newly bought cotton clothes before you put them on. Washing, especially at high temperatures, reduces the amount of formaldehyde absorbed by the fabric. Patients who are allergic to formaldehyde should not wear wrinkle-free clothes, since they are most often a combination of cotton and spandex (lycra). It is recommended to wash clothes at high temperatures (if they support them) due to the presence of dust mites and dust, animal hair or pollen.
To test the allergic reaction to various fabrics, skin patch testing is performed. It takes 48 hours from the moment the test is placed on the skin of the patient’s back for the results to be available.
It should also be noted that following factors can intensify allergic reactions to clothes: obesity, excess sweating, tight clothing and skin damage.