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Is Your Laundry Detergent Bothering Your Skin?Have you suddenly, seemingly inexplicably, developed an itchy rash? While food allergies and environmental factors are likely culprits, it’s also highly possible that your laundry detergent could be to blame. Why? Because many laundry detergents contain a host of harsh chemicals that can be punishing to sensitive skin, triggering contact dermatitis where they come in contact with it.

  • How can you tell if detergent is the problem? When you have an allergic reaction to something and you’re not sure of the cause, think about the foods you’ve been eating, what you’ve been drinking, and if you’ve been using any new skin-care products. If none of that applies, think about where your rash is located. Contact dermatitis may be very localized if it’s related to something that only touches one part of you, like a piece of jewelry, but if the symptoms are widespread, laundry detergent is a likely cause. Remember, people can develop allergies at any time, so even if you haven’t switched detergents, it’s worth considering.
  • What does a rash from detergent look like? It could be a red rash, with mild to severe itching. It might also have bumps, or blisters that may crust over or ooze. Tender or burning skin or skin that’s dry, cracking, or scaly, and swelling are also signs of contact dermatitis.
  • Is it possible to have clean clothes and clear skin at the same time? Yes! The reason that detergents can so negatively affect your skin is that they contain toxic chemicals, along with artificial dyes and fragrances. Fortunately, sensitivity to these things is not uncommon, so there are many companies out there providing detergents that don’t contain all those chemicals. Many of these natural detergents are eco-friendly, good for sensitive skin, and also good at getting clothes clean. When you’re switching from traditional detergent to a more skin-friendly variety, make sure to wash your washing machine to remove residue.
  • What can be done for contact dermatitis? Fortunately, you can treat most rashes at home. Once you’ve identified the cause, you can take steps to prevent future rashes by discontinuing use of whatever’s causing the problem. In the meantime, over-the-counter steroid creams, anti-itch lotions, and antihistamine can all help you manage the symptoms. You might also try taking an oatmeal bath or applying a wet compress to the afflicted area. If symptoms persist or you can’t figure out the cause, consult your dermatologist.

Whether you need help for your face, body, or scalp, Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology is committed to providing professional care that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists, licensed cosmetic service providers, and friendly staff members is here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. For more information, contact us through our website or call (801) 682-4715 today.