May 20, 2018

Allergy to Polyester: What Are the Symptoms?

An allergic reaction is the immune system’s response to certain substances called allergens. Normally, these substances are not harmful, but in allergic people they may cause a range of symptoms from sneezing and nasal congestion to low blood pressure and anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. In most cases, allergies are triggered by pollen, mold, dust or pet dander, but there are also people who are allergic to certain fabrics, e.g. polyester.


Allergies affect millions of people all over the world. However, it’s still not clear why some people develop allergies, while others don’t. According to experts, the factors contributing to the development of this condition include genes and the environment. Thus, if both parents are allergic, their child is at a high risk for allergies, as well.

The diagnosis of an allergy requires special allergy testing, such as skin or blood testing. Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergic disorders. You can control your symptoms by avoiding the allergen, using allergy medications, or taking immunotherapy.

What Is an Allergy to Polyester?


Fabric allergies, also known as textile dermatitis, may not be as common as, for example, pollen allergies, but they do cause annoying reactions in some people. Usually, these reactions lead to irritation of the skin, as well as contact dermatitis caused by the chemical additives found in the fabric. Such additives may include dyes used in the manufacturing process, or a laundry detergent. Besides, skin reactions can also be caused by perspiration or animal furs found in the woven fibers.

One of the types of fabric allergy is an allergy to polyester. Polyester allergy develops when your skin surface is exposed to a clothing or other item containing polyester.

What Are the Symptoms of a Polyester Allergy?


Normally, the symptoms of a polyester allergy are limited to the skin surface. People allergic to this fabric often experience skin rashes, tenderness, abnormal warmness of the skin, red marks on the legs, bright red hands, hives (especially around the upper body), as well as itching ranging from mild to severe.

In addition, allergies to fabric can cause tightness or pain in the chest, swelling, and trouble breathing.

In case you have a fabric allergy, the symptoms can also be worsened, if you overheat your skin, moisturize it too much, wear tight clothes, and don’t bother follow hygiene standards. Obesity may also contribute to the allergy-related complications.

How Can You Control Your Allergy?


While there are no treatments designed specifically for people allergic to polyester, it is also quite challenging to determine a polyester allergy. Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best way to control the symptoms is to avoid the trigger.

In order to do so, pay attention to the content labels on any fabric product you are planning to buy. Keep in mind that polyester is common contained in shirts and blouses, khaki pants, exercise clothing, pajamas, bedsheets. Carpets, and toy made with hair or fur.

If you are looking for something to replace polyester, there are various alternatives available on the market. For example, you can consider trying cotton, silk, linen, wool (for instance, in carpets), denim, spandex and other natural fabrics.

Which Medications Can Be Used to Treat a Polyester Allergy?


If your allergy seems to be too annoying, you can try various over-the-counter medications that help to reduce the symptoms. This can be a hydrocortisone cream, steroid cream, calamine lotion, topical corticosteroid cream, or antihistamines.

However, before using any allergy medication, you are better talking to your doctor first. Describe your symptoms to a specialist, and he or she will suggest a corresponding allergy treatment option.

Prior to applying any topical treatment to your skin, make sure to wash your hands and skin properly using soap and warm water. Experts recommend using a mild soap to avoid strong chemicals that may irritate your skin even more.

In order to soothe your skin and reduce the redness, you can apply wet compresses to the affected area.

After applying the cream or lotion to your skin, wash your hands thoroughly again.

The Bottom Line


An allergy to polyester may be difficult to determine, since there are many potential triggers of the reaction, including chemical additives used in the manufacturing process.

If you notice having the symptoms of allergy, contact your doctor as soon as you can to determine the culprit and find out about treatment options.

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