A dermatologist has lifted the lid on the hidden germs that could be lurking in your new clothes.

Failing to wash shop-bought garments before wearing them could lead to irritation, scabies and even fungus according to Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Speaking on the Today show, the expert pointed out that clothes will most likely have been tried on by multiple shoppers before they're purchased.

According to Apartment Therapy, Belsito said: "I have seen cases of lice that were possibly transmitted from trying on in the store, and there are certain infectious diseases that can be passed on through clothing.

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"The other infestation I've seen from clothing is scabies."

He concluded that it's best not to "take any chances" and to thoroughly clean any clothes bought in store.

The interiors website also points out that new garments are often imbued with chemicals and preservatives to keep them fresh during shipping - which can cause irritation by coming into contact with the skin.

Formaldehyde resin, they warn, can lead to outbreaks of eczema and dermatitis, while dyes can easily cause irritation.

Formaldehyde resin is is applied to some clothes to stop them from wrinkling and reduce the chance of mildew developing.

But it is also linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions, while some scientists even believe it can raise the risk of cancer.

Textiles are also sprayed with products and to make yarns fit into weaving machines, the fibres are often flattened with more chemicals.