My skin changes the color of fabric--why?

For the last year or so, I’ve had an strange thing happening to my clothes and sheets and things. The color will change spontaneously, usually to a lighter color. The color will usually be only on one side of the fabric, not bleeding through, and it isn’t solid–it looks sort of like it may have been airbrushed.

I have several blue shirts that have pink or white. My grey sheets and pillows cases have pink splotches all over them. My green bra has turned yellow on the inside. My favorite blue, green and purple striped shirts has a big yellow spot on it.

Usually, on my shirts, the color change first shows up on the inside of the neck, on the front of the shirt. It doesn’t show through on the front, but it seems to get bigger and spread around to the back of the neck or down the inside of the shirt.

My clothes get washed with the everyone else’s in my family, and we don’t use bleach, so it can’t be that. Also, it’s only my clothes that change color, so it must be something to do with me.

I don’t think that it has anything to do with cosmetics or skin cream or anything, because I have gone to bed with clean sheets, just out of the shower, and my sheets have changed color.

The type of fabric doesn’t seem to matter. Most of the things that have changed color are cotton, but my green bra is nylon microfiber (I think) and I am currently wearing a tank top (blue with pink splotches on the inside) that has polyester straps which also changed color.

So what is this, and does it happen to anyone else? Is it just some strange chemistry thing about my skin, or something else really weird?

I vote that it’s a weird chemistry thing. Perhaps there’s something in your sweat or body oils that bleaches fabric, but just to be clear-- you don’t use a different soap or body lotion than your family, do you?

We have similar marks on some of the clothing in storage at my museum, so I don’t think it’s unique to you. With some of the items, the staining has gotten worse over the years, apparently from residue oils on the cloth.

Human body oil is strange. I’ve seen fingerprints eat into metals’ finishes if left there long enough.

I had the same thing happen to me just last week. I had purchased a new shirt, just a standard light green t-shirt, and I wore it one day and the armpits turned pink. It had never happened before, and it hasn’t happened with any other articles of clothing since.

You’ve already discounted creams and lotions and things, which was my suggestion. What about soap/shampoos you’re using?

It is your sweat and/or deodorant. I do that to some T-shirts, the ones tight on the arm (so armpitts) and they get discolored.

It might be my sweat, but probably not deodorant. The color change starts on the neck, where there is no deodorant.

It might be a soap or shampoo thing, but I would guess not–I use the same soap and shampoo as my mom, and none of her clothes change color.

I guess I’m just weird.