10 Common Skin Irritants



Clothing can cause skin irritation from the abrasiveness of the fabric against your skin, or from allergic reactions to the fabric.
Clothing can cause skin irritation from the abrasiveness of the fabric against your skin, or from allergic reactions to the fabric.
© iStockphoto.com/carterdayne

While many of the skin irritants in this article are avoidable, you aren't likely to avoid wearing clothes. Clothing itself can be a skin irritant for a variety of reasons:

  • The abrasiveness of the fabric itself
  • Allergic responses to dyes, metal fasteners, appliqués or chemical additives used in processing the fabric
  • Scratching from tags, fasteners and seams
  • Chafing from frequent movement against the fabric
  • Heat rash or bacterial infections from fabric that does not allow the skin to breathe or dry quickly

You may have some difficultly determining that your skin irritation is from your clothing. First, you want to eliminate other things, such as your soap, laundry detergent and toiletries and cosmetics applied directly to your skin. Then, you want to examine where the irritation is occurring, and see if you can clearly identify something in or on a particular article of clothing that is coming in contact with the irritated skin.

If you're itching to learn more, go on to the next page to link to more great resources about your skin and skin irritants.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


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