What is Spandex Allergy?


Spandex, also known as Lycra, is a synthetic fiber. Spandex can cause allergy, resulting in rashes, redness, itchiness and hives. The chemicals used in the processing of spandex are responsible for allergies. If an individual has spandex allergy, he/she should avoid spandex fabrics and switch to natural fabrics such as cotton.

Spandex is used in sock tops, bathing suits, lingerie straps and other elastic clothing. However, usually no clothing is made from 100 percent spandex.

Spandex allergy can result in redness, itchiness, hives and rashes. In severe cases, the skin can also break out in blisters.

What causes Spandex Allergy?
Spandex is made by processing chemical agents. These chemical agents are responsible for irritating the skin and causing allergies. Here are some of the chemicals present in spandex which can result in an allergy:

MDI: MDI is used in the manufacturing of spandex. It can irritate the skin and result in rashes and redness
TDI: TDI is another chemical which is used in the making of spandex and it can cause allergy
Manufacturers have to ensure that there is no residual and unreacted TDI or MDI. This can prevent an allergic reaction.

How to Prevent Spandex Allergy?

Switch to natural fibers such as cotton. You can also choose 100% cotton products
Avoid synthetic fibers as they are more likely to cause allergy
Be careful with clothing containing elastic as they may contain spandex
If you suspect you have an allergy to spandex, try eliminating spandex containing products. If your allergy subsides, avoid spandex products.

If you experience spandex allergy, do consult your allergist. You would be prescribed topical corticosteroids or antihistamines for treating the reaction.


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  • Mikee Mercader
Comments 8
  • MrsS Watkins
    MrsS Watkins

    Looking for cotton swimwear

  • Anita Philbrick
    Anita Philbrick

    Be careful with Elasthanne also—it is just another word for Spandex and I am just on fire.

  • Ruth Hurley
    Ruth Hurley

    I have swelling in my ankles and have worn support hose off and on for the past five years. I always wore them when traveling on airplanes or sightseeing. Last month I developed a terrible rash and welts on my right leg and some on my left leg. After researching the materials used to make the stockings I realized I had an allergic reaction to the spandex. Now I don’t know how to handle traveling by plane or long hours of sightseeing.

  • Jane Nelms
    Jane Nelms

    I am allergic to wool, but thought I was buying nice soft clothing only to find out that it irritated my skin. Thinking that my clothing was pure cotton come to find out it has spandex, or polyester. It’s hard to find pure cotton any more. Looks like goodwill is going to receive most of my wardrobe !

  • Catharine Wallace
    Catharine Wallace

    It would be nice to find clothing with more natural fibres eg. Cotton, but where? Most manufacturers are putting more and more spandex/lycra in our clothing. Too hot in summer! Too cold in winter! Not climate clontrolled! Let alone all the chemicals that goes into making these toxic man-made fabrics. The manufacturers and clothing industries jusst don’t get it! I guess they have suffered with allergies/skin irratations. All they seem to think about is the cheaper to make, the more profits they receive! Wrong!!

  • jimmie montoya
    jimmie montoya

    i have purchased several itemswith 3% and 7 %spandex it took just a few weeks until i was itching not knowing what ws causing it i was prescribed a med for Yeast Infection, wrong it only got worse, it took 3 weeks of agonising ittching, blisters, burning to finally find out it is an allergy to Spandex, from now own i am an all cotton girl

  • Taffy

    We need to get educated!
    Our world is full of toxins!
    I usually always try to buy cotton clothing.
    I bought several pieces of yoga clothing this winter made from nylon and spandex, they seemed comfortable and warm, but I’m itching with hives, like crazy.
    Would have been better off buying only 2 pieces of made cotton or silk items for the same price and spared myself the suffering.

  • Christine Rallis
    Christine Rallis

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there allergy warnings were required on labels. I’m soooo itchy !

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