by Sam Vaatstra

Is Polyester Clothing Bad For You?

We explore how polyester clothing can negatively affect your health...
Picture of white plastic bottle and white polyester tshirt for the cover of blog post

While polyester clothing can negatively affect your health, we have some solutions to help tailor your healthy lifestyle.

Plastic plays a huge role in our everyday lives. Take a quick look around you – how many plastic items can you see?

Plastic has replaced most natural alternatives, and despite many countries limiting or banning the use of certain plastics, such as single-use plastics, we still see it everywhere. From food packaging to construction materials and even our clothing.

Plastic has its place in this world – it can make incredibly tough and shock-resistant storage solutions, durable yet flexible building materials, waterproof items, and even gelatinous-like substances that can replicate human tissue. However, this comes at a cost to the environment and our health.

A Brief History of Plastic Clothing

Plastic clothing, such as polyester, became common around the 1950s. It was loved for its wrinkle-free and easy-care properties. However, 60-70% of all clothing globally is now made of plastic.

The most popular plastics to make clothes from are:

  • Polyester: everything from socks to suits and gym clothing

  • Nylon: hard shell jackets, waterproof clothes, stockings and strengthening other fabrics

  • Acrylic: wool-like jumpers, jackets, protective gear, gym clothing

Why is plastic clothing bad for you?

Large plastic waste is found scattered across the oceans and rivers, killing our wildlife and clogging up waterways, creating incredibly unhealthy environments and robbing landscapes of beauty, while small plastic particles called microplastics have been infiltrating the bodies of animals and humans alike.

A recent study in the Netherlands has found that 80% of the people tested had a worrying amount of plastic floating around in their blood.

This is due to plastic clothing shedding microplastics, which can find their way into your body through avenues like ingestion, inhalation, or through hair follicles and sweat glands. Microplastics in the body are now found to cause endocrine disruption, oxidative stress, inflammation, damage to human cells, and many more negative effects.

A lot of people also find that itching, rashes, or redness occurs when wearing plastic clothes, especially when exercising. Plastic clothing can exacerbate skin conditions and cause irritation because:

  1. Plastic fibers trap heat and moisture against the skin, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

  2. The tough fibers of plastic are rough on the skin

This is why it’s so important to wear breathable and moisture-absorbent materials when you exercise, like 100% cotton gym shorts and t-shirts, not the cheap polyester ones that you get as gym membership freebies or from popular sports stores.

Take a second to watch Paul Saladino M.D, explain some of the chemicals used in Lulu Lemon leggings:


One to watch out for men: Your polyester sweatpants or boxers may be causing infertility – anything that touches the crown jewels should be ditched today.

So What Can You Do?

You might be a bit shocked after reading all of that, but not to worry – it’s REALLY easy to avoid plastic clothing. You can still buy natural clothing wherever you are around the world, and often, you can find local clothing stores that focus on natural fabrics – a great way to meet like-minded people!

Here are the natural fabrics you should keep your eyes out for:

  • Linen (terrycloth, damask, sheeting linen, etc.)
  • Cotton (denim, muslin, corduroy, etc.)
  • Silk (muga, chiffon, mulberry, etc.)
  • Wool (merino, llama, cashmere, etc.)
  • Leather
  • Fur
woman standing on balcony wearing white terry pants and shirt

Whether you want to dress to look professional, to hit the gym, or to relax at the beach, you can find something to get you looking your best and feeling your best. So go out, grab some natural fibre clothes, and start building a healthier wardrobe today.

muscly man wearing tank top and black sol gym shorts walking down a street

Here's to good travelling on your journey to be the best version of yourself!