Dermatitis from Polyester Allergy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

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Polyester Allergy

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) defines dermatitis from polyester allergy as an allergic reaction on the skin due to the use of polyester, a synthetic fiber. Polyester is used to make clothing items but they create allergies on sensitive skins. The allergy breakout is similar to other types of rashes and ultimately makes self-diagnosing difficult.


Since the allergy is visible on the skin, some telltale signs of polyester allergy are red marks on the legs, hands becoming bright red in color, rashes on the legs, red hives around the upper torso, skin irritation, itching at the site of contact, breathing problems and eczema. The extent of the symptoms depends on the present condition of the allergy and how soon medical intervention is sought. One mistake people make when they have dermatitis from polyester allergy is to aggravate the condition, even if it’s unknowingly.

For instance, wearing tight polyester clothes overheats the skin and the allergy symptoms spread. Maintaining low level of hygiene in such a situation worsens it. Not only polyester clothes but materials like khaki worn during this time have the potential to worsen the allergy as well. Skin conditions like trauma increases the allergy symptoms and so does the presence of moisture on the skin. People who are obese have more problems in getting rid of polyester allergy. As a preventive measure, wearing cotton clothes or cotton-mix clothes is recommended.


There are three kinds of tests which are applied to identify the substances causing the allergic reaction. Scratch test, patch test and intradermal tests are the three tests used. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the use of the patch test for identification as it is safer and the easiest of the ways to diagnose allergies. With the patch test, small amounts of common allergic triggers are applied on the skin with the help of tape strips. After two days, the strips are removed and checked for reactions. Places where red dots appear are deemed positive confirmation.

Treatment & Prevention

Prescription medicines and over-the-counter medications mostly include antihistamines and steroid creams. They help in reducing the allergy symptoms. Apart from these, calamine lotions and wet compresses soothe the skin and reduce the reddishness and the urge to itch the skin. Make sure that good personal hygiene is followed too. To prevent the occurrence of polyester allergies in the future, avoid wearing polyester clothes. Alternatives like silk and cotton should be given preference. If the allergy symptoms erupt again within a short span of time, immediate medical help should be sought because the recurrence of polyester allergy is not good for the overall well-being of the person.


Washington State Department of Labor Industries: Clothing Dermatitis

American Academy of Dermatology: Allergic Contact Rashes