What is Spandex Allergy?

spandemSpandex, also known as Lycra, is a synthetic fiber. Spandex can cause allergy, resulting in rashes, redness, itchiness and hives. The chemicals used in the processing of spandex are responsible for allergies. If an individual has spandex allergy, he/she should avoid spandex fabrics and switch to natural fabrics such as cotton.

Spandex is used in sock tops, bathing suits, lingerie straps and other elastic clothing. However, usually no clothing is made from 100 percent spandex.


Spandex allergy can result in redness, itchiness, hives and rashes. In severe cases, the skin can also break out in blisters.

What causes Spandex Allergy?

Spandex is made by processing chemical agents. These chemical agents are responsible for irritating the skin and causing allergies. Here are some of the chemicals present in spandex which can result in an allergy:

  • MDI:

    MDI is used in the manufacturing of spandex. It can irritate the skin and result in rashes and redness

  • TDI:

    TDI is another chemical which is used in the making of spandex and it can cause allergy

Manufacturers have to ensure that there is no residual and unreacted TDI or MDI. This can prevent an allergic reaction.

How to Prevent Spandex Allergy?

  • Switch to natural fibers such as cotton. You can also choose 100% cotton products
  • Avoid synthetic fibers as they are more likely to cause allergy
  • Be careful with clothing containing elastic as they may contain spandex

If you suspect you have an allergy to spandex, try eliminating spandex containing products. If your allergy subsides, avoid spandex products.


If you experience spandex allergy, do consult your allergist. You would be prescribed topical corticosteroids or antihistamines for treating the reaction.

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