Mysterious rashes and itchy waist bands could be caused by the very clothes on your back. If you’re desperately trying to pinpoint what is causing a mysterious rash there are a few quick win things to check.
- Have you changed washing powder recently? - Many people are allergic to biological washing powder so stick to non-biological and you should be fine. Avoid fabric softeners too and things that add fragrance – if you’re clothes are being washed they don’t need these extra things. Keep it simple. Better for you skin and much better for the environment too.
- Are the clothes that make you itch new? – You might be shocked to hear that new clothes often have formaldehyde coated on them to prevent them getting creased. Yes, you heard me. Formaldehyde! The poison! ‘Why is this even allowed?’ I hear you cry… I have no idea, but it seems that manufacturers are somehow claiming that it’s such small quantities they’re using and that it can’t possibly harm people. Oh yeah? It makes me itch like crazy. I’m now sadly never surprised at the crazy things that are allowed in our foods and industry practises. To get around this nasty little problem simply wash new clothes before wearing, though there are people who are so sensitive that they will only wear second hand clothes which will have no trace of formaldahyde left at all. I really worry about the effect this might have on small babies and children.
- Did you buy some sourmilk clothes? – Yes, again, you heard me correctly. Anke Domaske, a 28-year-old biologist and fashion designer from Germany is making clothes from fibres that are extracted from substandard milk that is usually thrown away. She uses these fibres to create a milk yarn fabric, manufactured without the use of any pesticides or chemicals. She then uses the silky smooth fabric to make her clothing designs. On the face of it this sounds like a great idea. Anke says: “Milk is underrated because people only view it as a food-stuff. But you can make a lot more from it – milk is a wonderful, natural raw material. The special thing about milk is that is has a lovely silky feel. The fabric falls wonderfully, and it’s cheaper than silk.”
Cheaper than silk it may be, environmentally friendly it may be, using a waste product of milk that would otherwise be thrown away, but these dresses are not for the milk allergic. Can you imagine? If you’re interested you can find out more about Anke’s designs and how she makes the fabric by watching the Clothes made from sour milk video.
- Uniqlo Heattech thermal clothes contain milk – Japanese company Uniqlo mix rayon and milk protein to create a unique system which traps moisture enabling the garment to retain heat.
Read more here: http://www.esquire.com/style/uniqlo-heat-tech-series-1208#ixzz1lK71fex0 and be careful which thermals you buy. I think these thermals are only available in Japan and America but watch out! I’m not sure if this is stated on the label.
- Latex allergy from elastic in clothes – Imagine if you were allergic even to your knicker elastic? If you have a serious latex allergy many clothes could cause you a problem, and I’m not just talking about your rubber fetish outfits.
- Nickel allergy a problem with clothes – Studs in jeans, zips and buckles can cause problems for those with serious nickel allergies. I find that if I keep small change in the pocket of trousers or jeans it will eventually work its way through and cause me a slight rash. If you have a nickel allergy this just might be what’s causing you the problems
- A woolly problem – If you have sensitive skin it’s often a good idea to avoid wearing wool next to your skin too, as it can cause an itchy rash for some people. You may find however that pure merino wool will be fine. I have some merino wool thermals and a jumper and they don’t itch at all and amazingly warm.
- Black dye in clothes can also cause allergies – Apparently black dye in clothes contains more PPD than any other dye colour. If you’re allergic to PPD stick to neutral colours and plain cotton clothing.
- Phthalates found in plastic logos and shoes – Linked with hormone disruption such as reducing male sperm count, phthalates are found in some clothes with plastic logos and also, many new shoes and clothes have a strong, plasticky smell which can indicate they are full of phthalates.
- Perfluorinated chemicals used to make some breathable fabrics are also dangerous — they accumulate in the body and are known to be carcinogenic.
- Fabric treated with brominated flame retardant - This chemical has been known to be used to treat childrens sleepwear but it’s highly toxic. Far safer to take proper precautions and fit a smoke alarm than have your child wear anything treated with this.
You can find out more about two ladies who are so allergic to these toxic dyes and chemicals added to our clothes. Read “Toxic dyes, lethal logos, cotton drenched in formaldehyde… How your clothes could poison you.”
Unfortunately it seems clothing manufacturers are under no legal obligation to disclose the chemicals used to treat and process garments.
I’ll be looking into chemicals in our environment in a later blog. You might be surprised to know that formaldehyde is commonly found in mattresses, bedding, carpeting, MDF, furniture and in most of the clothes that we buy – how do all these separate exposures to this colourless gas affect our health in the long run? Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen so in my view it should be banned from use in all the above listed products, all sold for use in our homes. Our homes where we think we’re safe, cosy and warm in an insulated box which doesn’t allow these gasses to get out. A toxic soup!
Rashes can be caused by many things as well as foods, stress, viruses etc. and it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where they’re originating from. Ever found new clothes irritating and wondered why? Shocked that formaldahyde is permitted for this use? I’d love to hear what you think about these crazy allergy clothes problems.