Switching from a summer to winter wardrobe can give you these allergies

Updated on:2 December 2021, 15:18pm IST
The chilly season is here, and that means we need our woollens. But did you know you could also get allergies from your winter wardrobe?
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Take the right precautions and keep the allergies away. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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‘Tis the season to make merry! The time to slurp on hot chocolate, watch holiday-themed movies, and wear the most stylish outfits. Don’t we all love layering during the winter season, because it makes us look stunning? Well, all that’s great, but switching from your summer to winter wardrobe can cause allergies too. No, we aren’t kidding at all! 

To understand the issue at hand, HealthShots got in touch with Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics.

Winter allergies
Allergies can even disturb your sleep. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The aggression of allergies

Your winter wardrobe is essential, in order to protect your skin from the dry winter weather and harsh winds, says Dr Kapoor. However, skin allergies can occur because of your winter wardrobe — these include extra dry skin, rashes, itchiness, and even bumps and blisters. This mostly happens because of wrong choices and improperly cleaned clothes, blankets, hats, and scarves. 

She adds, “Most of us store our winter clothes in moth balls, so that they are ready for the next season. Naphthalene balls release slow chemicals in the air to protect the clothes and the same chemicals when they come in contact with the skin can be absorbed by it, leading to long-term problems and skin issues.”

Another culprit of these winter skin allergies is pollen. Pollen  allergens are perceived by the body as intruders, and the defence mechanism steps in to protect the body. 

“The result is breakouts and airborne contact dermatitis, and even inflammation throughout the entire body. Repeated exposure to moth balls and pollen can cause the skin to have a yellowish tinge  (it inhibits collagen production). This is what makes it look dull, pale, and off colour,” says Dr Kapoor.

How can we tackle this problem?


The solutions are simple, says Dr Kapoor: 

  • Make sure that when you unpack your winter wardrobe, you dry it in strong sun for at least a day
  • “Wash the clothing before use, using anti-allergen and softening detergents. Washing the winter wear before use is a good way to get rid of chemicals and odour,” she says
Winter allergies
Protect youself from allergies with these tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Wash and dry the comforters, blankets etc too
  • “Protect your face from pollen by wearing sunglasses and a hat when outdoors,” adds Dr Kapoor
  • Layer skin care products to protect your skin from effects of pollen. A good serum, moisturizer and a sunscreen will act as a good first line of defence
  • Always wear cotton underclothes (breathable layers) under the winter wear. This will prevent the wool from coming in direct contact with the skin
  • “Apply lotion all over the body before wearing clothes. The best time is to apply as soon as you come out of the shower or bath,” says Dr Kapoor. 

The last word

“If you still get any kind of skin allergies, contact your doctor for the right treatment. At home, you can soothe the irritated skin using olive or coconut oil. If there is inflammation, do not try to scrub it out. Instead use a clean cloth dipped in whole milk. Do not use chemical soaps; prefer natural soaps made with oatmeal. Use glycerine before bathing and olive oil post bath to make the skin soft and supple,” she concludes.

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.