Skin sensitivity is serious business! A person with this condition can suffer a negative skin reaction at any time, from any source. Despite this fact, many (mainstream) information outlets focus only on health and the modification of diet and body care products to minimize issues. The provided information is helpful but it neglects to provide the full picture of all possible triggers. And this neglect does not help all of you [who are on the sensitive skin spectrum] to effectively take care of your skin and control your health.
We want you to have more good skin days than bad. Knowing about more possible triggers may help you minimize the number of realized negative skin reactions. So, it’s important you know, that in addition to food and body care products, some clothing materials/accessories can also cause itching, rashes, hives, discoloration, peeling, lesions or minor irritations. The offending fabrics and how they are made are provided below:
- Wool – An animal product that is produced from the follicles of sheep, goats, muskoxen, rabbits and camelids. Today, it’s believed that very few people have an actual allergy to wool (rash on parts of the body that have been contacted). Instead, the discomfort people realize is due to sensitivity to the large, prickly wool fiber.
- Polyester – Plastic fiber that can made from coal, petroleum, water and air. Made from polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET) molecules. It’s hydrophobic and can be used for waterproof shipping. This means your skin many not be able to ‘breathe’. And, although the “fabric” does not contain BPA, it is believed that it may release estrogenic chemicals.
- Spandex (aka Lycra) – Stretchy polyurethane that is said to be stronger and more durable than natural rubber. It is made from chemicals known to trigger allergies but experts are still working to pinpoint the exact chemical trigger. Historically, TDI and MDI were the known triggers but those chemicals are said to be rarely used today.
- Rayon – Artificial silk that’s made primarily from wood pulp. Chemicals used to create the finished product are believed to trigger allergies.
- Nylon – Grouping of polyamides that are processed to create a plastic. It’s raw materials consist of coal, petroleum and sometimes castor oil. Dyes along with chemicals to prevent the growth of bacteria have been known to trigger negative skin reactions.
There is no cure for an allergy. Over time, some people simply grow out of them or are no longer triggered. So, when choosing your next outfit, look at the product tag. If avoiding offending fabrics is not possible, select the material wisely. Your skin will thank you!
What is Polyester Fabric?; naturalclothing.com; https://www.naturalclothing.com/what-is-polyester-fabric/
Wool Allergy or Sensitivity? What You Need to Know.; thespruce.com ; https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-a-wool-allergy-2116305
Clothing Allergy: 5 Reasons, 7Symptoms, and 6 Ways to Control; naturalclothing.com ; https://www.cottonique.com/blogs/blog/draft-clothing-allergy-5-reasons-7-symptoms-and-6-ways-to-control
Latex/Spandex; cottonique.com ; https://www.cottonique.com/pages/latex-spandex
Polyester; wikipedia.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyester
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