Do you suffer from (or think you’re suffering from) a polyester allergy? In this guide, we cover some facts about polyester allergies so you can manage!
Polyester is a fiber that most people are familiar with. It’s commonly used on fabric labels, but what is it really?
Well, polyester is the named used in different polymers that has the ester groups as its main compound. The most common polyester is the PET (Polyethylene terephthalate). Since polyester is known for its resistance to shrinking, wrinkling, stretching, and mildew, it’s widely used in the textile industry.
Unfortunately, this man-made fiber is a problem for many people. Not only that, but polyester allergy conditions along with similar ailments cause discomfort and irritation to many Americans.
According to studies, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year and there’s an estimated 18 billion dollars that go towards the annual cost of allergies in the healthcare system.
With that said, if you suffer from a polyester fabric allergy, keep reading the information below to learn how you can prevent flare-ups and find relief.
What Is a Polyester Allergy?
A polyester allergy like other textiles allergies mainly manifests as contact dermatitis. There are two primary categories of the condition, which are:
Allergic contact dermatitis: This condition happens when the body’s immune system reacts to a non-toxic, harmless substance and causes a skin reaction. The allergic response usually forms within hours or days after exposure to the allergen.
Irritant contact dermatitis: This condition is common in general and is not allergic. It happens when a fabric or substance agitates or damages the skin causing inflammation. Different from the allergenic reaction, this irritant reaction usually occurs right after the contact with the substance.
The textiles allergy can be related with the chemicals used in the production of the fabric or with the fabric itself. However, dyes, especially disperse dyes for polyester, is the first allergen associated with textiles, followed to other chemicals like finish resins. As so, the “polyester allergy” can be related not only with the fabric, but with all the chemicals involving in the processing of the clothes and fabrics.
Polyester Allergy Symptoms
A polyester fabric allergy is most common in individuals who have sensitive skin and usually creates an allergic reaction on the surface of the skin with symptoms that range from mild to severe. Below are the most common reactions of contact dermatitis:
- Rashes on the contact area
- Red-colored marks
- Mild to severe itchiness
- Swelling or form thick crusts on the area of the lesion
- A warm feeling on the skin
How to Prevent a Polyester Allergy Rash and Other Symptoms
Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is found in different types of fabric. Items like clothing, carpet, industrial fabrics, bedding, and curtains often contain it. Synthetic fibers are man-made and are fabrics like acrylic, nylon, and polyester. On the other hand, natural fibers include cotton, wool, silk, and linen.
To prevent a polyester allergy from triggering, it’s best to avoid polyester fabric altogether and, consequently, also avoid chemicals associated with this type of fabric. This precaution is needed because you may be allergic to the allergens from dye and chemicals commonly found on polyester. So, ehen shopping for items like clothing, towels, and furniture, try to find fabrics that are natural and has less dye/chemicals in it. It’s important to note that some fabrics consist of a mixture of various fibers. Be sure to read labels beforehand to make sure there are no polyester fibers mixed within.
There are other names or compound related to the polyester that you should look for and avoid, such as:
- China silk
- Dimethyl terephthalate (DMT)
- Monoethylene glycol (MEG)
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Purified terephthalic acid (PTA)
Factors That Can Worsen Polyester Fabric Allergy Symptoms
Certain factors contribute to making a polyester allergy worse. To make sure that symptoms aren’t severe, be aware that the following conditions may worsen symptoms:
- Tight clothing
- Lack of cleanliness
- Too much moisture
If you suffer from a polyester allergy, preventing the circumstances above can significantly reduce your chances of a flare-up.
How to Treat Polyester Allergy Symptoms
There are several ways to treat the symptoms of a polyester allergy depending on the seriousness of the case. The medication to treat the condition includes lotions and creams, oral or injectable medications. However, it is important to seek medical attention to accurately diagnose and treat your condition.
If your skin is very sensitive, it’s a good idea to keep some medications that your doctor recommended with you while you’re out. That way, if you have a reaction, you can quickly rectify the situation. Below are the steps to ensuring that you treat the affected area properly:
- Clean the skin with water to remove any trace of the allergen. Be sure not to use products that consist of harsh chemicals that can potentially worsen the skin reaction.
- Always be sure that your hands are clean before applying lotion or cream to the area.
And remember, it’s also a good idea to consult your doctor before using any product. Doing so will help you avoid complications that could worsen your condition.
Contributing Factors to Having a Polyester Fabric Allergy
Believe it or not, there are some conditions that make having a polyester allergy more common. These are the primary contributors that enhance the likelihood of having a polyester allergy:
- Working in hot or humid weather
- Having a tender or sensitive skin
- Having other allergies
- Having other skin conditions like eczema
Unfortunately, some of these factors can’t be avoided. However, you can be proactive by taking precautionary steps to ensure that your condition doesn’t worsen.