Your Guide to Textile Dermatitis: Latex Hypersensitivity & Polyester Allergy Explained

Your Guide to Textile Dermatitis- Latex Hypersensitivity & Polyester Allergy Explained

By Laura Dolgy (see bio below)

Imagine this scenario…you just get back home from shopping and purchasing that adorable blouse you’ve been eyeing for a while. You’ve purchased the blouse for tonight’s dinner party and cannot wait to show it off to your friends and family.

You rip off the tag in haste, throw it on and start getting ready, but something is…wrong. Not long after throwing on the top do you realize your neck is covered in hives and itching uncontrollably. You immediately take the blouse off and notice that your skin is inflamed and hot to touch. What the ****!

If this scenario is at all familiar to you, then you may have textile dermatitis and you’ll want to read on. This week we discuss latex hypersensitivity as well as the sometimes lesser known polyester allergy. Learn how to identify symptoms AND get some tips and discover alternative clothing to try!

Please keep in mind that although these tips and information have worked for several eczema sufferers, I am in no way a medical professional. If you’re experiencing severe eczema or have a topical infection, it is always best to seek medical advice immediately.

What is Textile Dermatitis?

Many people who have sensitive skin can develop contact dermatitis, as well as several allergy symptoms due to certain chemicals in clothing and from specific fabrics used in clothing. This is called textile dermatitis. Polyester allergy and an allergy to latex are some of the most common causes of textile dermatitis.

Although symptoms are usually temporary and topical, some individuals can develop more severe systemic reactions such as:

  • swollen and red skin, lips, or tongue
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • shortness of breath (with or without wheezing)
  • abdominal pain and much more

If you develop a more serious reaction, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Which Products Contain Latex/Polyester?

Although latex can be found in several household supplies, polyester is usually more difficult to avoid. Check out our list below to get a good understanding of which products or clothing tend to contain these two allergens.

If you think you have an allergy to latex or a latex sensitivity, you should try to avoid the following products:

  • Clothing containing elastic bands such as pants, underwear, running shoes and coats with fitted cuffs.
  • Certain household products such as zipper storage bags, bathmats, rugs and rubber gloves.
  • Craft supplies, certain make-up, adhesives, erasers and much more.
  • Anything containing elastic (unless made of lycra, spandex or elastane).

There are many accounts of induvial with a latex allergy also reacting to shea butter products. While there is no scientific connection between shea and latex, if you have an allergy to latex, be cautious when trying products containing shea butter.

Read More: The Allergy Scoop: Coconut Oil, Shea Butter & Cocoa Butter

Read More: Should You Worry About a Shea Butter Allergy?

Alternatively, for a polyester allergy, you’ll want to try to avoid the following products:

  • Certain exercise clothing, pajamas, shirts, blouses, etc.
  • Certain toys that include doll hair or plush faux furs.
  • Certain carpets and bed sheets.

Make sure to always read labels before purchasing new household products or clothing. You’ll be surprised at how much stuff out there contains these two allergens!

Latex & Polyester Free Alternatives

Although latex is easier to avoid, it can be a little more difficult to find clothing or household products that do not contain polyester.

Some excellent alternatives to this allergy prone material are fabrics such as Cotton or Silk.

For those suffering with dust mite allergies, these latex and polyester free allergy covers from Allersoft are great! They do contain nylon on the zipper area, so if you have a nylon allergy, best steer clear.

If you are searching for pajamas that are polyester and latex free, 100% Organic Cotton fabrics are an excellent alternative. Check out this One-Piece Footed Pajama for Kids, as well as a Pajama Top for Adults that not only provide comfort, but can help heal your skin by preventing scratching with attached protective mittens. Both are made with latex free elastic.

For the feet, these Hypoallergenic Socks are fantastic! And yes, they are latex and polyester free! The tube sock style comes in white or black and multiple sizing options.

For latex free underwear, opting for 100% Organic Cotton is also a great choice. But it can be difficult to find safe elastic! But we’ve got you covered…these are contain latex free elastic! These Women’s Bikini Briefs are slim fit and perfect for sensitive skin. For men, you can avoid any sort of elastic all together with these Drawstring Boxers. Make sure to also check out Boy’s Latex Free Underwear as well as Girl’s Underwear for Sensitive Skin and Latex Allergy in case your child is experiencing contact dermatitis from either latex or spandex.

Check out this curated collection of Natural cotton wear for eczema sufferers.

If you’re experiencing groin eczema due to a latex hypersensitivity, definitely check out our blog post: 4 Ways to Relieve Groin Eczema.

Other Causes

Aside from latex and polyester allergies, there are several other factors than can contribute to textile dermatitis.

It is not a secret that some clothing contains harsh chemicals and dyes to achieve a desired effect. For example, formaldehyde is used to make clothing that is wrinkle resistant. Yes, that’s the same chemical used in embalming fluid. Yuck! Chemicals are also used in fabrics that are color-fast, stain resistant, as well as in corduroy and shrink-proof wool. None of the clothing above contains any of these harsh chemicals.

Read More: Why Natural Fibers Are Essential For Eczema Clothing

A Latex/Polyester “Elimination Diet”

If you’ve read any of our past blog posts, you’ll notice we discuss food elimination diets very often because we believe in healing from within big time.

An elimination diet is carried out by eliminating food allergens for a certain period of time and reintroducing each individually to determine which food is causing the reaction.

Like a food elimination diet, you can choose to run a latex/polyester “elimination diet” as well!

  1. Start by separating your clothing or household products by allergy prone materials such as latex, polyester, and Spandex. Nylon allergy is pretty common too – so eliminate nylon as well just to be sure.
  2. For the first few days (and to treat possible flare-ups) wear only hypersensitivity-approved materials such as 100% organic cotton or silk.
  3. Slowly, reintroduce one allergy prone material such as latex or polyester over a several day period to determine which material is causing a reaction.
  4. Make sure to track your results in a health diary or journal like this one to really understand what is causing the flare-up.

If you’re not able to determine the allergen or you’re experiencing severe flare-ups, make sure to seek a medical practitioner to get a proper diagnosis on your possible allergy.

Although latex and polyester allergies might be annoying to deal with, thankfully there are several safe alternatives to manage your allergies. Find out what’s safe for you and you can be free from textile dermatitis.

Do you have a latex or polyester allergy? Let us know what safe materials you opt for below!

Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

20 Comments

  1. Lisa Pearson on July 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Do you have any recommendations for good pillows and bedding and dust mite covers that are polyester and latex-free?

    • Jennifer Roberge on July 13, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Lisa – I don’t know of any companies off hand, but I did some quick research and Allersoft looks good. I’d reach out to them to double check, but they seems to be polyester and latex free, but not nylon free.

      • Jane on July 14, 2017 at 11:52 am

        Healthy Child has 100% organic cotton dust mite covers and other bedding that’s latex and polyester-free. And nylon free. You can find the dust mite covers, cotton pillows, organic cotton sheets, cotton mattress protectors, etc. at https://www.healthychild.com/product-category/natural-organic-bedding/

        Jane

        • janet on October 16, 2018 at 9:05 pm

          Bamboo is in the latex/rubber family. If you are as sensitive as I am, this will make you worse.

    • Leslie on January 17, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Lisa. I found some bamboo pillow covers with a zip. I stuffed them with large, folded pure cotton bath towels. I zipped the cases and covered with a cotton pillow case. Prior to this I had resorted to sleeping without a pillow, due to itchy cheeks. I found my bamboo pillow case at Olle’s, a discount store in Michigan. It was only $8 for a two pack!

  2. tracey bedford on July 13, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Found out grandson was allergic to Polyester, so now make sure all his bedding and clothes are 100% cotton, been a lot easier since then. donated all his clothes that were made of polyester to Charity Shops.

    • Jennifer Roberge on July 13, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Tracey – Wow! So great that you found that out – it can be hard to determine.

  3. Leslie on January 16, 2018 at 2:53 am

    I am allergic to latex and polyester. I also seem to have a problem with anything that exerts pressure on my skin–it can be something as benign as a seam. I also have become allergic to most processed foods. I basically do well on chicken, meat, fish, most vegetables and some fruits. I avoid bananas, latex and kiwi because they are said to have the same proteins as latex. I also get swollen lips from almost any stone fruit. I get itchy from eating chocolate. I sometimes get itchy from coconut oil and shea butter so tend to avoid them. I use a moisturizer called Egyptian Magic that I bought on eBay. I also purchased some old fashioned, unscented lye soap on eBay.
    I found some nice 100% cotton, 100% silk and silk/cotton blends from both wintersilk.com and normthompson.com. (Though you have to weed through some somewhat frumpy styles to find the cute styles)Their silk undershirts and camisoles make great liners. And my most recent discovery is that cotton medical scrubs with drawstring waists make great at home loungewear:) In closing, I would recommend that anyone with multiple allergies ask their doctor for both a C Reactive Protein test and an ANA (anti nuclear antibody) test.

  4. Jenna Ahern on January 21, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Have you ever heard of Wicked Sheets? This helped my night sweats and was Certified Allergy and Asthma Friendly. Great product and feels great to sleep in!

  5. Rebecca on May 17, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Has anyone had skin reactions to “tagless” tags? Such as Hanes T-shirts? I’m in a runaround complaint process with Hanes customer service right now trying to find out what’s in these tags, but I think it’s latex. You go through all the trouble of getting 100% cotton shirts only to get bit by the plastered-on tag at the neck that you can’t remove. Don’t these companies have a duty to report allergens?

    • Jennifer Roberge on May 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Rebecca – I wish companies did have to report them, but sadly there are no standards for materials used in clothing and disclosures of allergens. With eczema, it’s best to steer clear of tagless items because if the material itself isn’t an allergen itself, as the material wears down it gets scratchy and irritating, so that’s no good either.

    • Renee on August 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      I am allergic to latex and these tagless-tags make my skin flare up. I saw this on YouTube and now use oil of wintergreen to remove the writing: https://youtu.be/6SxuZDPg24c

      • Rebecca on October 24, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        Oh I just saw this comment… going to check this out, thanks!

  6. Fotogirl on June 25, 2018 at 12:07 am

    A few tips. Please be aware of what is in your mattress. Many memory foam mattresses have latex products in them. My tempurpedic does and I cannot return it. So I bought a all cotton mattress cover. My sis is…and I need advice….where can I find socks without elastic….underwear and bras without elastic or latex? I’m itchy all the time. I try to look for underwear with banded legs and waist but difficult. I’m big breasted. I have to wear a bra…but suffer greatly.

    • Jennifer Roberge on June 25, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Hi there – Great tips about mattresses! There are a few latex free and even a few elastic free options for underwear at The Eczema Company here. And 100% organic cotton socks with no elastic here. I hope this helps!

    • Sarah on October 12, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      I just found a company called Cottonique…they have all the things you mentioned. Blessings, Sarah

    • janet on October 16, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Just recently I found an article on Cottonique and went in on their website. They have 100% cotton underclothing. I also found Buster Brown 100% cotton socks through Amazon just recently. They are light weight which I need for Florida.

  7. Leslie on June 26, 2018 at 6:13 am

    I bought a bra at Cottonique-an online store. However, when I was at my worst, even the non latex stretchy material in their bra bothered me. I was also suffering from contact dermatitis. I ended up liking the ahh bra–because it was less binding. My rheumatologist put me on Plaquenil and I no longer get hives!!!!

  8. Sarah Couture on July 18, 2018 at 6:20 am

    I have a problem, not mentioned here. I am a CPAP user. I couldn’t figure out why my scalp was itching and breaking out. In the night last night, I realized that it was itching badly enough to wake me up!!! I looked up my headgear on line this morning. My headgear for my mask is made of elastane and polyamide!!!! The only help on line was to buy or make covers for the elastic. I’m calling the company as soon as they open today. I woke at 5:30 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep. Sarah

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