…It could be. According to Dr. Brunilda Nazario, M.D., in this month’s Women’s Health magazine (on newsstands), dry cleaners sometimes use perchlorethylene (perc), which can cause the dry, rashy symptoms owed to contact dermatitis in some individuals. Not sure if you’re one of them? Wait until after you wear a dry cleaned article of clothing, and examine your skin. If you have the dry, red, irritated skin characteristic of contact dermatitis, believe me, you’ll know.
Luckily, you don’t have to resort to hand-washing just yet. Some dry cleaners offer a “green” service, according to Nazario, which uses high-pressure carbon dioxide instead of perc as a cleanser. Other dry cleaners offer silicone-based processing, which is less upsetting to the skin.