clothing allergy

5 Reasons Why You are Allergic to Certain Clothing and What You can do to Resolve it

5 Reasons Why You are Allergic to Certain Clothing and  What You can do to Resolve it

Allergic reactions or dermatological problems due to certain types of clothing are actually a common concern. However, many may misdiagnose their skin problems and will not think that the cause can actually be found in their clothes. These mysterious rashes and itches in the body can be very annoying so it is very important to properly pinpoint the cause in order to resolve it.

The allergic reaction caused by clothes usually results in a skin inflammation which is otherwise known as textile contact dermatitis. Other symptoms include rashes, prickly skin, visible redness, itchiness and scaling just to name a few. Some of the symptoms may manifest just within a few hours after contact while there are also instances wherein the reaction may appear after a few days or so.

The usual areas of the body which are normally affected include the backs of the knees, buttocks, groin area, armpits or at the crooks of each arm. Dermatitis or skin irritation may even worsen when there is constant rubbing by the fabric or when the wearer sweats a lot due to hot or humid environments.

5 Clothing Allergens


Formaldehyde is used to prevent cotton fiber from being attacked by parasites. It is also added to strengthen the cotton material against deterioration. This resin is actually quite important especially in conventional clothing materials since it can make the clothes resistant from wrinkles. However, clothes which have been processed with formaldehyde are one of the leading causes for skin allergies or irritation.

If you are not too sure if the clothes have been processed with formaldehyde, then the best solution is to wash them first before using. This is quite effective especially for new clothes straight out of the racks. The amount of the formaldehyde resin is greatly lessened through high temperature washing. By washing new clothing, you can also get rid of pollen, dust, animal hair or mites. If you are allergic to formaldehyde, it is best to check the label and avoid creasing resistant clothes which are usually a combination of spandex (Lycra) and cotton.

Wool Based Clothing

Wool is not really the problem but the issue lies in the process by which wool was manufactured. The method usually utilizes lanolin, a type of alcohol. People who are prone to allergic reactions or those who have sensitive skin may experience a nasty reaction to the wool. The usual symptoms include itchiness or formation of prickles.

If you really need to buy clothing made from wool, always check the label and see if there are any indications that lanolin was used in the process. It can also help if you conduct further research and search for other clothing materials that are similar to wool minus the allergens.

New Clothes

Most people will not wash newly purchased clothes before wearing them. But if you are prone to skin allergies, it is best to wash the clothing first before using. There are reports which state how numerous clothing companies coat clothes with although most companies which practice such do claim that they only use a negligible amount of formaldehyde. To be on the safe side, make sure to wash new clothes first and ensure that you use skin friendly detergent.


Some people are also allergic to dye in general due to the presence of paraphenylenediamine or PPD. Although all colored clothing definitely contain a fair amount of dye, black dye contains more PPD compared to other dye colors. PPD can cause severe skin reactions especially to people who are susceptible to skin allergies. If you are allergic to PPD, then it is best to pick other colors like neutral ones or even just plain white colored clothes. You may also find a clothing line which does not use PPD on their dyed clothes.


Latex is an important material in many clothes since it is used for elasticity purposes. Unfortunately, some people can get allergic to latex and even the elastic in the underwear. Being allergic to latex can be very challenging since many clothes use this type of material. If you are seriously allergic to latex even through minimal exposure, then it is best to consult a dermatologist so they can recommend any topical ointment or perhaps any preventive measures to avoid allergy attacks caused by this clothing material.


Picking out clothes is more than about fashion or comfort. People who suffer from skin allergies should take notice of even the little details in order to prevent any allergy attacks. Minor allergies can be treated with over the counter medications but it is still highly advisable to consult a dermatologist for serious concerns.

There may be many other reasons why you may be allergic to a specific type of clothing.  For this reason, we recommend practicing the philosophy of “Prevention is better than cure.”

Reading next

5 Benefits of Wearing Skin-friendly Clothing
4 Facts about Textile Contact Dermatitis




] Amoxicillin



Proper care of clothes is also very important for allergy sufferers. They should be cleaned only with mild detergents so as not to cause additional skin irritation. I have atopic dermatitis and it was very difficult to find good cleansers. Recently I have been testing these products and I hope they will help me because I don’t know what to do anymore… :(



If a fabric is bonded with latex, but is sandwiched between cotton quilting fabric to make a face mask, is it safe for a person with an allergy to latex?

Stephanie Fowler-Eagan

Stephanie Fowler-Eagan

I have found clothing labeled “OEKO TEX certified” to be very helpful! This certification means the fabric is free from harmful levels of 300 – some chemicals. While 100% cotton is my go-to, it isn’t always available for certain items like uniform scrubs or jackets. So looking for these in OEKO TEX certified versions has been a must. Just wish they had more availability in the US!



Are your socks PPD free???

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.