Exercise Crops for the Out of Shape Itch Inflicted
April 26, 2016 1:01 AM   Subscribe

I searched AskMe for the the exercise/itch questions and got some interesting results. Tbh I still don't really know why. But the immediate problem facing me is, I don't know what kind of bottoms I can wear to pilates because the ones I've been wearing seem to make the problem worse.

It recently became warm around here so instead of taking public transit to pilates, I tried to walk the 2km instead. I was wearing exercise clothes, namely lululemon 87% nylon 13% lycra blend cropped bottoms.

At the beginning I itched a little bit and as mentioned above, that happens sometimes when I walk or run while being out of shape and is manageable. However, this time I could feel that something was wrong. The itch was more like cramming my legs into an iron maiden than itchy, so I went home, took off my pants and saw that my thighs were beet red. I slathered on moisturizing cream and some OTC steroid cream and went to the doctor who gave me some general purpose pill form steroids, and it got better.

So I probably had a bit of a reaction to the pants on top of my usual itch because of the recent heat is my guess. But I need to wear some kind of pants to pilates so what can I wear? I'm going to retire those 87/13 Lululemon crops, but are some sportswear fabrics more irritating than others? What else should I wear?
posted by maykasahara to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly answering your question but you may want to try a nondrowsy antihistamine like Claritin or Allegra before you exercise.
posted by bookworm4125 at 1:09 AM on April 26, 2016

They don't sell it OTC in my country. :/
posted by maykasahara at 1:27 AM on April 26, 2016

im allergic to latex and it sounds like a reaction I had to a wet suit... Can you look for more cottony bottoms?
posted by catspajammies at 3:19 AM on April 26, 2016

I've never had such an extreme reaction, but my skin prefers clothing that have some percentage of a cotton blend. Cotton holds on to sweat longer though if that's a concern.
posted by missriss89 at 5:11 AM on April 26, 2016

Sounds like a latex allergy, I'd go with cotton.
posted by irish01 at 5:32 AM on April 26, 2016

Just an anecdote, but one of my two Lulu tops did this to me until I washed it a few times. I've never had a reaction like that otherwise (and hadn't in two other pairs of shorts and another Lulu top) and was told it's likely a chemical they use to finish the clothes in manufacturing that in this instance did not wash out.

I own a variety of other stuff (Champion and Adidas primarily) that is much lighter than your typical Lulu stuff and is my go-to if my skin is irritated. My wife also really likes Fabletics' tights.
posted by scrittore at 6:18 AM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

As others have said, it could be an allergy to the fabric. On the other hand, it could be some sort of general histamine reaction. I've been having this weird reaction when I exercise called "cold urticaria" (hives), which started at the end of the winter in really damp chilly windy weather: about halfway through, I start to feel unbearably itchy, and when I return, my legs are really red and sometimes covered in bumps. I looked into it and it appears to be a histamine reaction unrelated to the clothing (I was wearing cotton, anyway). I've always had some itch when I exercised, but this was on a much grander scale. Just wanted to throw that out there in case it's not an allergy to the fabric per se (which sounds more likely): it's possible to be having a more general histamine reaction related to exercise and weather or something. I don't know much more about it because I've just started to look into it, but it might be worth a trip to the allergist if you change the pants fabric/brand and you still have a similar problem.
posted by ClaireBear at 6:33 AM on April 26, 2016

A brief spot of googling suggests that what I experienced can also happen from heat/sweating (see here, here, etc.). It's called "Cholinergic urticaria" (urticaria meaning hives). Given that you've had itching from exercise before, it seems to me that you might want to look into it being related. In any case, if it is this rather than an allergy to the fabric specifically, I have found taking an antihistamine maybe half an hour before exercise to be somewhat effective (I take Benadryl).
posted by ClaireBear at 6:42 AM on April 26, 2016

Only wear natural fibers, like cotton.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:27 AM on April 26, 2016

I wear Vivian's Fashions capri leggings, and I buy them from Amazon. They are much lighter and softer than anything else, the cottony feel instead of the thicker spandex feel. But thick enough for coverage. They come in all different lengths and colors.
posted by raisingsand at 9:18 AM on April 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Maybe stop wearing tight leggings and switch to flowy, lightweight cotton jersey pants? If either the fabric content or the non-evaporating sweat are part of the problem, looser workout clothes should help.
posted by ananci at 9:12 PM on April 26, 2016

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