When people think of allergies they tend to think about pollen or food related allergies. Rarely do people think of clothing as holding the potential for setting off allergic reactions. However, many people today suffer from textile related allergies. These allergic reactions are something that people should keep in mind when doing things like providing costumes for a play, taking advantage of t-shirt printing for school or sporting events, and even when they’re simply lending a dress to a friend.
While some textile blends and fabric choices are pretty much safe across the board, others can cause serious skin irritant issues for certain people. Here are five of the biggest offenders of these types of reactions:
1. Wool or Wool Blends: This is one of the most typical textile related allergies. For some the reaction may be a simple rash, for others it may manifest itself in hives or something more serious. Medical doctors and dermatologists suggest replacing wool garments with cotton blends instead.
2. Spandex Textiles: While spandex in and of itself is not a type of fiber many are allergic to, spandex textile and garments are usually not 100% spandex fibers. Many incorporate latex into the piece as well. Latex allergies are some of the most serious amongst those allergic to materials, being kind of the peanut allergy of the fabric world. If someone who is highly allergic to latex comes into direct contact with a spandex-latex textile blend, it could mean a trip to the E.R.
3. Polyester: As with the other two above, whether or not this textile induces a reaction to those with clothing related allergies is highly dependent on the exact blend and composition of fibers involved.
4. Alpaca: Alpaca fur is becoming more and more prominent in the fashion world. Its characteristic softness and the ability for it to be used in very similar ways to sheep’s wool make it a versatile and generally easy to work with material. However, just as with sheep’s wool, those who have allergies to animals or furs might have allergic reactions to products containing alpaca fur.
5. Hemp: While some rashes are caused by allergic reactions, others are simply caused by irritants. Those with sensitive skin might find that hemp clothing causes irritation and redness when worn.
Allergies are something that should not be taken lightly, and which should be worked around as much as possible. That includes allergies related to fabric, textiles, and clothing. If you think that irritation or redness on your skin could be caused by a cloth related allergy, please contact a doctor or dermatologist today.
Photo by Stephen McLeod Blythe