Have you ever suddenly become sensitive to a material that you own a TON of?

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    Last winter I became obsessed with cashmere and started collecting it at thrift stores. I ended up with about 10 pieces, mostly long sleeve sweaters for fall and winter. I was especially excited to discover cashmere because I have never been able to wear anything with any level of wool content in it without itching like crazy, but the cashmere gave me no reaction at all. This year I gleefully pulled my sweaters out for fall, but the first time I tried to wear one it I had to change halfway through the day because of the itching. I thought maybe it was just a couple of them that perhaps were lower quality, but it seems I have developed a sensitivity where before there was none. I’m devastated because I spent so much time (and money) curating a collection of gorgeous cashmere that now I can’t wear.

    Edit: Wow, what a reaction! Thanks, everyone, for your comments and tips. I’m now off to try antihistamines, and will also try washing different sweaters in different ways to see if anything helps. Undershirts are a no-go for me, unfortunately- those things drive me even crazier than the itching would!



    I’m so sorry to hear that! Could your sweaters have been stored somewhere where they got a little dusty? I have an allergy to dust mites (irritates both asthma and eczema for me), so sometimes things that have been stored away in the attic, or even in boxes under the bed, irritate my skin. Giving them a good steam seems to help.



    That’s so sad! You might consider trying them again in about six months? My situation was different than yours, but after my daughter was born, I became very sensitive to wool and my skin would break out in a red rash if I wore anything wool (I love wool, and a good chunk of my winter wardrobe is wool!). The sensitivity lasted for about six months for me, and then I was able to wear all my wool stuff again without a problem. I was so happy I had just put it all away, rather than donated it!



    That sucks!

    Do you have dry skin or damaged skin? I get really itchy and sensitve to multiple fabrics (like simple jeans) when my legs are really dry.



    My sister is allergic to wool and can’t wear any wool sweaters. She can sometimes wear cashmere, but usually only if she wears an undershirt to cover up her torso. Somehow her arms aren’t as sensitive.




    Had to spread out my baggy and wonderful cabin sweaters amongst friends and family… just don’t hug me with those arms.



    Yes! Linen! In retrospect, my chest and neck turning red and being itchy was a sign I should have stopped wearing it. What finally caused me to realize I had developed some kind of allergy was waking up after wearing a blouse the previous day with an insanely painful and ugly rash on my neck and face. It felt like someone was holding a curling iron to my skin. Also, my face and eyelids were swollen. I was so sad because I had a number of pieces I really liked. Oh well. Such is life.



    I think I’m a little more sensitive to cashmere than I used to be.

    A great thing to own are thin silk tee shirts or thin fitted cotton undershirts. They’ll protect you from the sweater and the sweater from your skin oils so you can wear them a little longer before you wash them

    Winter Silks makes silk undershirts. I’m not sure where you’d get cotton but I’m sure they exist too. I have some from a closeout sale.



    Wash them again, in cold water diluted with white vinegar and sun dry. The white vinegar removes the other detergent traces better. Then try again!



    I’m the same way! I had a bunch of sweaters that had a rabbit fur blend, which apparently I am allergic to??? I try to wear base garments with them, because I’ll break out in horrible contact dermatitis, otherwise. Taking an antihistamine kind of helps. For anything beyond that, I’ll use some hydrocortisone, but, honestly, I rarely wear them anymore. I hope you find something that works for you!



    A friend of mine just told me about how she’s sensitive to some detergents, with itching and a rash as her symptoms. If you just washed them, did you use a new detergent?



    I’m allergic to wool, but can wear it as long as it doesn’t touch my skin – i.e., a wool coat over a turtleneck, a wool sweater over a silk base layer, a wool skirt over a slip/tights/shapewear – especially my neck, which is super-sensitive to all things itchy and will occasionally form some contact dermatitis from wool if I’m not careful.

    I seem to be fine with merino wool-blend socks, though!



    Acrylic sweaters makes my skin feel prickly.

    Regarding the cashmere, I know others have suggested a potential allergic reaction to the cashmere. I also wonder if it is because of how it is washed. Do you dry clean your cashmere or wash it with a gentle soap (i.e. Laundress soap for wool and cashmere)? Dry cleaning chemicals are pretty toxic.



    I wonder if it’s a reaction to wearing them for the first time in awhile? Your skin needs to get used to it again?



    When my eczema flares up, I can’t wear my cashmere sweaters without a long sleeve underneath, but other times it’s fine.

    Wool, even superfine merino, is totally out, however, and will instantly make me rashy.

    There is still hope! If they were fine before, there’s a good chance they’ll be fine again.

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