Cleaning Products and Eczema

Chemicals, Detergents, Eczema

The three just don’t go together!

Although chemicals and detergents do not cause atopic eczema they are potential allergens for the unsuspecting eczema sufferer as they are commonly the cause of flare ups.

The problem is they are found everywhere in modern day society.  Our lives are filled with artificial cleaning agents designed to clean our homes, our clothes, our bodies.

However they can have detrimental effects on our skin.  Chemicals and detergents dry the skin, stripping it of its natural oils.  They are commonly the cause of allergic reactions especially in contact dermatitis and the cause of many a flare up in atopic eczema.

What can we do about it?

For most of us it is simply not possible to completely remove artificial cleaners from our daily lives.

House Cleaning:

Wear gloves when washing the dishes or cleaning using any chemicals.  Cotton liners under rubber gloves will help to prevent irritation from the rubber.

Wash your hands after using chemicals and always remoisturise after having your hands in water.  Try to select cleaning agents which are less harsh on your hands and our environment.

Clothes Cleaning:

Use a mild detergent to wash your clothes in.  Don’t chop and change your detergent.  If you find one that doesn’t irritate your skin don’t use different ones because they are cheaper or because the ads say they are better.

If you have problems with clothes irritating your skin wash your clothes, towels and bedding twice.  Once in detergent and once in plain water as an extra rinse.  It is often not the detergent that causes the irritation but the residue left in the clothes after washing.

Body Cleaning:

We have become a society with obsessive personal hygiene.  Which is good because none of us like to be near a smelly person.  But do we go over the top – especially those with sensitive skin.

Over washing or prolonged exposure to water strips the skin of its natural oils resulting in dry, cracked skin.  This is a problem for anyone but for the eczema sufferer it is a major problem.  Dry skin coupled with a sensitivity to many of the additives found in our personal cleaning agents leads to many eczema flare ups.

There are many soap substitutes available that make the use of soaps unnecessary.  Try using a cleansing bar, skin wash, skin cream or emulsifying ointment.  These  non soap cleansing lotions have a neutral pH and are unperfumed.  They are far less likely to cause a skin irritation than normal soaps.

Avoid using perfumes or after shave lotions that are scented.  Choose deodorants that are natural or manufactured for sensitive skin.  It may take some trial and error but it is worth shopping around to find the products that best suit your skin.

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