An allergy to textile dye is a usual trigger of textile allergic contact dermatitis. It is important to note that textile dyes are utilized to add color to fabrics as well as incorporated during the fabric processing along with other chemical additives and even finishing agents and flame retardants. An allergy to textile dyes can trigger skin symptoms such as severe eczema if unbound dyes from colored clothing bleed onto the skin. Various dyes are water soluble and sweat from the body can cause the same effect which leads to the leaching out of the dye as well as increasing the risk for developing an allergy.
Causes of textile dye allergy
It is important to note that textile dye allergy is triggered by various types of textile dyes that are available today. The textile dyes are classified into various groups such as chemical class, natural/synthetic and dyeing methods.
Remember that the azo dyes are highly allergenic. These dyes are seldom utilized in fabric dyeing due to the increased cases of allergy. Other dyes that are linked with allergic contact dermatitis are the group of disperse dyes such as disperse blue 106 and disperse blue 124.
Symptoms of textile dye allergy
The symptoms of textile dye allergy are typical of allergic contact dermatitis. The symptoms might manifest within hours of contact with the material or a reaction will not occur until days after.
The dermatitis that develops is often widespread and typically occurs in area that comes in contact with clothing. Take note that dermatitis is often worse in areas where there is consistent rubbing with the fabric and sweating. The upper thigh, waistband and buttocks are typically involved.
Do I have textile dye allergy?
An allergy to textile dye is confirmed by special allergy testing such as a patch test. When this testing is performed, it involves the use of a number of various chemicals due to the variety of potential allergens that might be present in the fabric.
The allergens specific for textile dyes are not included in the standard-series patch testing. Even though studies are limited, it is clear that disperse blue 124 and 106 might be good screening allergens for textile dye allergy since positive reactions in most dye-related cases are known to occur.
Treatment for textile dye allergy
It is important to note that contact dermatitis must clear up within a few days up to weeks once the offending fabric/clothing is removed. There are over-the-counter ointments and creams that contain mild topical steroids such as hydrocortisone can help manage the swelling, itchiness and redness. In severe cases, a prescription steroid cream might be needed as well as oral antibiotics if the dermatitis becomes infected.
Individuals with contact allergy to textile dyes should wear light colored clothing that is made out of natural-based fabrics such as linen, cotton and wool. In most circumstances, all new clothing must be washed at least 3 times before wearing to eliminate any excess unbound dyes. It is best to consult a dermatologist for further advice especially if the individual is extremely sensitive to a specific textile dye allergen.