Are you allergic to clothes? It sounds like a comedy routine but this is no laughing matter for those of us who may break out in a rash when we wear certain types of clothing.
This happened for me when I was a child. The elastics on clothing caused me to break out in a severe case of hives. This podcast offers some tips for finding a solution to clothing allergy. You can also read the transcript below.
Hello everyone, and welcome to the My Sensitive Skincare Show. I'm speaking to you from my outdoors. It's an absolutely gorgeous day. I decided to do a podcast because of a reader question that came in a couple of years ago.
I noticed that a lot of people are visiting this page that has to do with being allergic to your own clothing. It's a really upsetting, disturbing thing. Apparently, there are more and more people that are experiencing this kind of challenge.
I've also had some issues with this myself. It actually started when I was age two. Apparently, what my mother said was that the elastic around certain types of pants. I think it was mostly that around my waist would cause these really awful welts.
This was quite a long time ago, so there were probably even more chemicals in some of the clothing and elastics back then but I wanted to reply to the many questions.
First, also remind you that I do have a page on clothing allergies with a lot of really helpful reader comments from other people that have experienced this.
Clothing Allergies - Simple Tips To Start With
If you find yourself breaking out from different types of clothing, sometimes it's just as simple as not using that type of clothing, but there could be a lot of other things going on.
So first of all, what I would recommend is to notice for that particular piece of clothing, if you stop using it, if your skin rashes calm down.
If not, I would also recommend looking at your laundry detergent, because perhaps you switched laundry detergents or the detergent that you use might actually have changed their ingredients.
There's an ingredient in a lot of laundry detergents that's called sodium laurel sulfate. It can cause skin allergies and reactions in a lot of people.
I do want to say a little bit about the chemicals in clothing because I've noticed more and more people becoming more sensitive to chemicals.
I have had this issue myself and it's one of those problems that's a bigger issue. I'll refer you to some other writings on my website about this. (See our page on Strange Allergy Stymptoms and also my own nightmare of becoming hypersensitive to everything which details how I recovered).
There are unfortunately lots and lots of chemicals that are used to manufacture textiles, even 100% cotton. It's going to be very individual for each person what your body can tolerate.
I would recommend, first of all, when you shop for any piece of clothing that you get, that you try and wash it first.
I know that that becomes very expensive if you wash it and you're still having trouble with it, but the other thing is to notice what types of clothing seem to cause you to break out. Is it only cotton?
Apparently, 100% cotton has quite a lot of chemicals in it. It can be extremely expensive to purchase organic cotton clothing but there are people that do that.
Also, there are people that do better with used clothing that's been washed quite a number of times, so you might find that you simply have to wash the clothes a lot.
There are a couple of tips that I have if you're suffering from a problem with your clothing and allergies. One of them is to soak your clothing in a little bit of Zeolite Powder.
Zeolite is something I discovered when I was having a really terrible problem with chemical sensitivity. It does pull out a lot of the chemicals including the chemical odors in clothing.
You don't need a whole lot. You could use a teaspoon or less in your washing machine or in a bucket and soak the clothes, then wash them.
Even try it a couple of times. You can also add a little baking soda. I've found that that's very helpful. Those two things have made a big difference for me.
(You can also hang the cloths outdoors in sunlight which will aid in the offgassing of the chemicals.)
If you're still suffering with this problem even after all of the different things that you've tried, you may actually have to start experiment with purchasing organic textiles.
Now, I don't know a lot about that because it is more expensive than what I can tolerate. But I have found as long as I keep my overall body healthy and there's not extreme stress, that I can tolerate the chemicals.
When Stress Goes Too Far
There's one other thing that I want to talk about that has to do with when you start getting really overly sensitized to things. This can also be a cascading effect.
If you have, for example ... I'll just share with you my experience because I guess it's actually pretty common. So I had the experience back, I think it was 2007. Well, mine have started earlier than that. But in 2007, I took a really bad fall.
I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs. I don't see very well and it was dark. It was a pretty bad injury including whiplash and a number of other things.
Then around that time, there started to be some other health challenges that I noticed like I ended up needing a lot of root canals. Oh goodness, that was awful. It was very stressful.
So after this, I noticed a number of other issues starting to happen with my health. I started becoming more sensitive to chemicals. And of course, that's how this website started.
I started getting more sensitive to foods. I started to need to change my diet. But even being very careful, I noticed that my health was really declining. So what can happen, what I have since learned is that our bodies can become overly hypervigilant.
We can have so much stress that our brain, our nervous system and our llimbic system gets actually gets overly activated and it can start producing an inflammatory response; a hypervigilant response to all kinds of things: to chemicals in clothing and chemicals in food.
Even some people become overly sensitized to light and sound, electromagnetic fields from computers and wireless devices. So this is something that can really snowball.
There are actually ways to deal with this now, thank goodness. I wanted to share that also because I wrote about this on My Sensitive Skincare tos hare my story.
It's way beyond the topic of skincare but it actually made a huge difference for me in recovering from being horribly chemically sensitive, which there was a long process of various injuries and my health going downhill. Then some repairs in my home triggered a whole thing that became a crisis.
That crisis actually taught me a lot. So I wanted to share this with those of you that may be going through this bout of clothing allergy.
It isn't that we want to wear clothing with lots of chemicals but there are certain chemicals that our bodies can tolerate when we're in a relatively healthy state. But if there's been a lot of different stressors all coming at once, it can really start to negatively affect our health.
I hope that that's helpful to you in dealing, just looking at the problem of dealing with clothing allergies and sensitivities to clothing. There's a bigger picture, so you want to take a look at your own life and just look back a little and see the progression of things.
It may be that there have been a number of issues that have contributed to your skin problems and these other allergies and sensitivities.
With that said, I send you lots of blessings. Here at this moment, it's a beautiful spring day and I'm hoping to send you some of that wonderful sunlight.
Maybe you can hear the birds singing. I hope this is helpful for you. Please leave me comments and questions. I look forward to our next podcast. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.
1. Find the cause of your clothing allergy. Was it a particular piece of clothing, or did it arise at a stressful time in your life? If you're not sure, keep a diary of your daily activities and notice when you break out.
Visit our page on Why Sensitive Skin for some tips on how to look deeper to find the causes of your allergies.
2. If you have a mild clothing allergy, it may resolve simply by avoiding that particular fabric that you've found irritating, and building your health by miminizing your exposure to environmental toxins.
It is amazing how much our bodies can heal when given love, a healthy whole foods diet, and plenty of rest and fresh air. Our bodies know how to heal themselves if we listen.
3. If this does not solve the problem, or if you find yourself with a situation where you are overwhelmed and sensitive to all clothing, then I highly recommend Dynamic Neural Retraining.
This training is what saved me from a really terrible bout of chemical sensitivity, and works well for many situations of extreme hypersensitivity. According to the creators of this system, approximately 90% of the people who undertake the training find partial or total recovery. You can read my story here.
4. You may find it helpful to read this page on Clothing Allergies which I wrote in response to a reader with serious clothing allergies. You will also find the community comments from others to be very helpful.
I hope these tips are helpful. Blessings to you!