Clothing Allergy Guide: Latex, Elastic, & All The Other Common Clothing Allergies


Anyone with clothing allergies would understand how frustratingly uncomfortable things can get when putting on certain kinds of clothes just sets you scratching and itching.

Some of us have sensitive skin types that are allergic to some of the chemicals, dyes, and resins commonly used in textile manufacturing. The first step to managing this situation effectively is knowing what allergies you might have. This guide has been compiled to help readers understand the basis of common clothing allergies like;


  1. Polyester allergy
  2. Nylon allergy
  3. Latex/Elastic allergy
  4. Nickel allergy


1.   Polyester allergy

skin allergy

If you’re often experiencing rashes or itchy red skin after exposure to polyester fabric or other clothing products made from synthetic fiber, you likely have a polyester allergy.

While polyester allergy can affect any part of your body, the impact is mostly felt wherever the product rubs against the skin. This could be your buttocks, elbows, groin, back of the knees, and skin folds, among others. Here’s what to do if you develop a reaction to polyester;

  • Avoid scratching the rash to avoid spreading it further
  • Consider OTC medications like topical steroids, calamine lotion, and antihistamine, among others.
  • Do away with the polyester clothing product you suspect might be causing the reaction.
  • Consult a dermatologist if symptoms persist.


2.   Nylon Allergy

latex allergy

Nylon is another synthetic fiber known to induce allergies in some people.

While nylon itself does not have allergenic substances, the dyes and chemicals used in the manufacturing process are usually the culprits for nylon allergy in clothing materials. Some of those dyes include azo and anthraquinone dyes which are used in dying nylon products brown. Some chemical preservatives used to inhibit the growth of bacteria may also induce nylon allergy in individuals who are susceptible to those chemicals. Itching, inflammation, redness, and other skin irritations may point to the presence of nylon allergy if you develop these reactions on exposure to nylon fabric.


3.   Latex Allergy

latex allergy

Generally, allergic reactions are induced when the body’s immune system reacts to a foreign (albeit nontoxic) substance. In the case of people with latex or elastic allergy, they are susceptible to developing reactions to the natural substances in rubber.


While rubber is sparingly used in the clothing industry, you can still find them in shoes as well as in clothes and undies with elastic bands.


These products have several potential allergens that range from mercapto compounds to carba compounds, black rubber, thiuram, and mercaptobenzothiazole. Rashes around your wrists, waist, ankles, feet, and shoulder might indicate the possibility of latex or elastic allergy.


4.   Nickel allergy

nickel allergy

About 17% of women and 3% of men are allergic to nickel.

Nickel, chromate, and cobalt are the three commonly experienced allergies for people with metal allergies. If you’re wondering how this should concern you because it’s well… metal, nickel can be easily found in your clothing from the snap and rivets on your jeans and pants to the buttons and zips on your jackets and shirts, the buckles on your belts, and other clothing accessories, etc. That itchy rash around your belly button might probably be because of a nickel allergy.


Other common causes of clothing allergies

While some fabrics already contain natural substances that can induce allergies, textile manufacturers also incorporate certain products into their manufacturing process that can further cause allergies even in fabrics that ordinarily should not induce allergies.

Examples of these chemical products include formaldehyde, a chemical present in new clothes and usually used to keep the fabric crease-free while on display. Others include dyes and chemicals like phthalates. Brominated flame retardants, as well as perfluorinated compounds, are also some examples. Perfluorinated compounds are used to make fabric products more breathable. They are not only allergenic, but they can also be carcinogenic.


How to avoid allergic reactions to clothing

Now that you know all the common culprits responsible for clothing allergies, you want to be able to stay away from them, especially if you feel you can develop allergies to them.

How can you prevent contact dermatitis that could result from these allergenic clothing materials? Here are our best tips;

  • Always wash new clothes properly before you wear them.
  • Try to identify the materials responsible for your allergies and replace them where possible. You can replace nickel buttons with another non-allergenic button, for instance.
  • Do away with fabric products that induce your allergic reactions.
  • Wash your clothes properly before wearing them again and use only allergy-friendly detergents.
  • Invest in allergy-friendly clothing from allergy-friendly organic bras, knickers, and briefs, to actual dresses you wear daily.

allergy free bra

Allergy Free UK certified bra set 

Allergic reactions are not funny at all. It’s the last thing you want when you’ve finally dressed yourself to the nines, ready for whatever the business of the day is.

It’s easy to prevent this when you know what can cause it. And that is why this expo on polyester allergy, nickel allergy, and the other ones have set out to do.


You’re better off investing in allergy-friendly clothing.

allergy free bra

The line of comfort bras from Julie May, for example, are made from cotton and pure silk to ensure maximum comfort. Cotton, as well as pure silk, is hypoallergenic and won’t trigger skin irritations of any kind. These bras don’t have elastic shoulder straps that can also induce elastic allergy in some people. They are also wrapped in a double layer of organic Pima cotton. With products like this, you know your comfort is guaranteed all day, regardless of whatever clothing allergies you might be prone to.

JulieMay bra sets are certified by the Allergy Free UK:


allergy friendly



GOTS Certified Organic Pima Cotton as the main fabric. Comfort with Support.

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Accredited by AllergyUK to be friendly for people with allergic reactions to synthetic fibres and sensitive skins.

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Ethically handmade and support UN sustainable projects

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