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3 Ways Clothing Can Irritate Skin

3 Ways Clothing Can Irritate Skin

You look good in that outfit. Interestingly enough, though, with the rise of synthetic fabric came a rise in skin issues. In fact, even the style of clothing we tend to wear now can lead to issues like folliculitis and yeast infections.

Here's a mini lesson in the ways your clothing can wreak havoc on your skin.

1. Allergies

In the 1950s, detergent was essentially just soap. Then things like dryer sheets and fragranced detergent came on the market. Now, laundry detergents can protect colors from fading, prevent wrinkles, and give marriage advice (kidding). But with the complexity of modern detergents came an increase in allergies.

If you've noticed you have itchy skin, bumps, or any other irritation, it could be a sign of contact dermatitis, which happens when your skin becomes sensitized to different chemicals or fragrance in your detergent. You could even become allergic to the dye in the detergent (yes, everything is an illusion: your detergent isn't blue. It's dyed that color). 

It's difficult to know for sure if detergent is the reason you've developed a rash or an irritation, but if you're experiencing issues in the places your clothing rubs against your skin, it's worth switching detergents. Luckily, fragrance-free detergents are readily available in most stores. 

Oh, and ditch the dryer sheets—which are filled with fragrance—for dryer balls. They're way healthier for your skin and for the earth. Plus, they help your clothes dry faster.

2. Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be caused by a number of things, such as shaving or even hot tubs. This inflammation of the hair follicle leads to an uncomfortable, itchy rash sometimes called "razor burn." If you've noticed red bumps on your thighs and they've started popping up after you've shaved, there's a good chance it's because your clothes are too tight.

And that's tricky because we love a good pair of yoga pants. But if you're going to wear clothes like yoga pants, only wear them while you go to the gym; otherwise, you could notice folliculitis start popping up as a result of the friction between the cloth and your skin. This happens with other materials, too, so we can't blame it all on yoga pants, but try wearing looser clothes for a week and see how quickly your folliculitis improves. If you notice a difference, start wearing looser clothing.

3. Ingrown hairs

Ah yes. Ingrowns. They can make a bikini wax go bikini whack in no time. Ingrowns are usually caused from tight clothing and from synthetic fabrics. So let's talk about your unmentionables. Do you wear tight, spandex-like underwear? That synthetic fabric doesn't allow your skin to breathe, which means you're contributing to ingrown hairs, folliculitis, and yeast infections. Woof.

Make a switch to organic cotton underwear. The bummer is that you won't have as many options when shopping because synthetic fabrics are cheaper, so manufacturers like using them, but organic cotton underwear feels so much nicer against your skin and allows your lady parts to breathe. And you'll notice fewer ingrown hairs, so it'll be totally be worth it.

  • Post author
    Jennifer Diffley