Allergy to Nylon

Written by christie gross
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Allergy to Nylon
Some people have a sensitivity to nylon. (photo charme image by Jed from Fotolia.com)

Nylon is a man-made fabric that can cause some people to experience an allergic reaction when skin contacts it. A skin irritation (contact dermatitis) can result from all sorts of fabrics, but man-made fabrics composed of synthetics and dyes are more apt to cause skin irritants than cotton and other natural fabrics. The good news is that when a nylon allergy is identified, a person can take necessary precaution to avoid coming in contact with it.

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Function

Nylon is most known as a material used in women's stocking. The thickness of stockings varies by brand. It's not uncommon for people to experience a mild reaction when exposed to thicker nylon stockings than thinner ones, especially when the person has slight sensitivity to nylon. Nylon is also a popular fabric option for trousers, skirts and suit jackets. Since these clothing pieces are made with a thicker nylon fabric, a person with nylon sensitivity may experience an allergic reaction moments after wearing the clothes as well as after prolonged use.

Symptoms

Contact dermatitis--an allergic reaction triggered when the skin is exposed to an irritant--generally appears first as a rash. The skin becomes red and inflamed and tiny blisters on the skin's surface may form. Prolonged exposure to the nylon irritant can thicken the skin appearing and feeling scaly upon sight and touch. You may become itchy and experience a burning sensation in the area exposed to nylon. In certain cases, when a person with asthma is exposed to nylon an asthma attack can occur.

Diagnosis

Like most contact allergies, a nylon allergy is best diagnosed using a patch test. A dermatologist exposes an area of the skin to various irritants, including nylon on a strip of tape. The tape is kept on the skin for a couple of days. When it's removed, a small red dot may appear on the skin indicating the presence of an irritation. In other words, a person is allergic to that particular irritant.

Treatment

When contact dermatitis affects your skin, contact your doctor. He can prescribe an oral antihistamine and/or steroid cream to apply directly to the rash to relive symptoms. In certain severe cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be provided to reduce swelling and redness.

The best treatment for people with nylon sensitivity is simply to avoid clothing or fabrics made of this material. The good news is there are plenty of other fabric options available to make avoidance possible.

Other Considerations

Nylon is a synthetic (man-made) fabric that can be dyed using the chemical paraphenylene-diamine (PPD). People with a PPD sensitivity should not wear clothes made of nylon as they sometimes can contain this chemical.

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