Can clothes trigger contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis might be triggered by certain types of clothing. Even though the cause might be a minor irritation, it might be contact dermatitis. When it comes to this condition, it arises when the skin is exposed to something that triggers irritation and inflammation.

What are the indications of contact dermatitis?

There are 2 forms of contact dermatitis but it can be difficult to differentiate them both since the symptoms are almost identical such as:

  • Dry, scaly rashes
  • Cracking or peeling skin
  • Redness and swelling
  • Itchy bumps or blisters
  • Warmth
    Contact dermatitis

    Certain materials and chemicals can trigger skin irritation without causing an allergic reaction.

Even though the indications of the 2 forms of contact dermatitis are strikingly the same, they are instigated by different triggers.

Allergic contact dermatitis

A response occurs if the immune system fights something that it perceives as a threat. Materials such as rubber, wool or latex can trigger a reaction. These materials are typically found in articles of clothing such as:

  • Pants
  • Bras
  • Gloves
  • Shirts
  • Shoes
  • Waistbands

Nickel is also a common allergen that is present in jewelry and fashion accessories. Items in clothes such as zippers, belt buckles, buttons and snaps also include nickel.

Irritant contact dermatitis

Certain materials and chemicals can trigger skin irritation without causing an allergic reaction. Even though it can be triggered by latex or wool, it is likely due to the following:

  • Soap
  • Clothing dye
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener

Management

The treatment for both the irritant and allergic contact dermatitis is the same. Once the culprit responsible for the rash is determined, it must be avoided. Remember that this might involve a period of trial and error.

Once the potential allergen is determined and avoided, the skin should settle in 1-3 weeks. Other options to relieve the symptoms include antihistamines, corticosteroid creams or moisturizers.

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