What is Spandex?
Spandex, also known as Lycra, Elastane or Lycra Spandex, is a synthetic material composed of about 85% polyurethane polymer polyurethane. The synthetic fiber is manufactured from a mixture of several chemicals known as sensitizers, which provides exceptional elasticity, strength, and durability compared to all other natural rubbers. Spandex is more commonly used in the clothing industry to make elastic clothing such as sock tops, lingerie straps, bathing suits, waistbands, and among others.
What Causes Spandex Allergies?
The specific causes for spandex allergies are often difficult to determine since the condition manifests symptoms similar to other allergic conditions. However, it is speculated that the chemical agents/sensitizers used to manufacture spandex such as MDI and TDI are skin irritants that contribute to spandex allergies.
Who is at Risk?
- People regularly exposed to spandex-products such as bathing suits, waistbands, sock tops, and among others
- People whose skins are allergic to certain chemicals
- People with low immunity and antibodies to counter the allergic reactions reaction in the chemicals
- Redness, inflammation, and itching of the skin
- Skin rashes and hives
- Spandex can also cause moderate to severe allergic symptoms ranging breaking of the skin, blisters, and inflammation of the skin to anaphylactic shock
Diagnosis and Prevention
In case you suffer from the symptoms listed above, seeking medical attention from a qualified dermatologist is the surest way to ascertain the problem since spandex allergy can be easily confused with other health conditions. Based on your skin and blood test results, the dermatologists utilizes a differential diagnostic criteria to determine the specific cause of spandex allergies other potential similar symptoms, especially if you have a history of using spandex-related products. With no known medical treatment for spandex allergies, prevention measures are critical to prevent the adverse allergic reactions from spandex such as:
- Avoid using clothing and other related products containing spandex material
- Using spandex-free products by confirming the labels from manufacturers
American Latex Allergy Association (ALAA) (2017). Cotton, Nylon, Spandex and Allergies. Retrieved on 5th August, 2017 from http://latexallergyresources.org/articles/cotton-nylon-spandex-and-allergies
HealthTap. (2017). Top 20 Doctor Insights on: Spandex Allergy Symptoms. Retrieved on 5th August, 2017 from https://www.healthtap.com/topics/spandex-allergy-symptoms
Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (August, 2001). Clothing Dermatitis and Clothing-Related Skin Conditions. Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention Report: 55-8-2001. Retrieved on 5th August, 2017 from http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Dermatitis/files/clothing.pdf