Spandex is a synthetic fabric with a plastic base, that is known for its elasticity. This cloth material was first developed in 1959 and since then has become popular among the general population because not only is it cheap and easily available in the market, but is also highly stretchable and has a smooth finish. Spandex is commonly used for making shorts, tights, leggings, shirts and even under garments. However, if you regularly wear spandex clothes, you should be aware of these four major disadvantages because of which you should consider shifting to cotton clothes altogether, says Dr Uday Khopkar, Professor and Head of the Dermatology department in Mumbai s KEM Hospital.
It can trigger allergies
Due to the high humidity levels in India, wearing spandex regularly can only make you more prone to skin allergens. Moisture gets trapped since spandex doesn t have the ability to absorb sweat, which aids the penetration of allergens in the skin, says Dr Khopkar. This is because spandex is a polymer fabric similar to plastic and the process of manufacturing this material requires raw materials along with toxic chemicals. Once you start sweating beneath spandex, chemicals could be released into the skin from the dyes and formaldehyde used on the fabric which causes allergies.
Another major side-effect of the inability of spandex to absorb sweat is that your skin can become a fertile ground for either fungal or bacterial infections to manifest. One common skin disorder caused by this synthetic material is ringworm, which causes skin inflammation in the form of red rings with a central pigmentation. Other than that, it can also cause severe itching. On the other hand, bacterial infections like folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicules) and impetigo is also fairly common among my patients who regularly wear spandex clothes, adds Dr Khopkar. Impetigo is a contagious disease that produces blisters or sores on different parts of the body. The worst part about getting these skin infections is that they can keep recurring and require medical intervention in the form of anti-fungal or anti-bacterials creams, ointments and in more severe cases also steroids. However, here's a natural remedy for three common fungal infections.
It can cause yeast infections
You may like to read
If you re wearing spandex underwear, immediately shift to cotton ones as it can make you more prone to yeast infections as this material does not allow the skin to breathe. Since it can t absorb moisture or sweat, it is only a matter of time before the Candida albicans fungus starts breeding, which is responsible for vaginal yeast infections. This can also afflict men especially during summer. Here's how you could try using garlic for bacterial and fungal infections.
Short shelf life
Other than these adverse health effects of wearing spandex, another major disadvantage is that these clothes or under garments have a very short shelf life. This is because after a few washes, it tends to become loose and shapeless. Also, since it can t be washed in hot water, the basic care and maintenance of this material makes it a lot more time consuming than cotton garments.