1) Deodorant and Fragrance-Infused Soaps
Many of the most popular bar soaps are full of fragrances and other ingredient that can dry out or irritate your skin. Avoid deodorant and scented soaps both in the shower and on your face. Choose unscented and fragrance-free brands like Dove, Neutrogena, Aveeno, or Oil of Olay.
For your children, look for non-lathering cleansers and washes made especially for sensitive skin. Surfactants, the foaming agents in soaps and cleansers, strip oils from the skin and cause drying. It’s very important to choose unscented baby products to avoid irritant dermatitis in young children. “Although parents may love that ‘new baby smell’ that many baby powders and lotions contain, even that added fragrance can cause allergic reactions in children,” confirms Revere Health board-certified dermatologist Brian Bradshaw, MD.
2) Harsh Laundry Detergents
Many detergents contain fragrances and other skin-irritating ingredients. The National Institute of Health reports that approximately 80 percent of contact dermatitis in the U.S. is irritant and about 20 percent is allergic, with detergents and soaps topping the list for most common causes.
If you have severely irritated skin, double rinse your clothes and wear waterproof gloves when using detergents. If you’re really sensitive, opt for plastic or vinyl gloves because latex can cause a skin reaction in some people.
Be careful with spot removers that contain irritating ingredients such as ammonium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite.
3) Fabric Softeners
4) Perfumes and Colognes
5) Scented Bath and Body Products
In addition to the irritating fragrance, oil-based beauty and bath products can block your skin’s pores. Moisturizing creams and lotions that contain pore-clogging sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, coconut and cocoa butter can lead to an acne breakout.
Choose non-comedogenic, oil-free, and unscented cosmetics, toiletries, and sunscreens and a gentle, non-abrasive facial cleanser that does not contain alcohol. Also avoid hand sanitizers with alcohol.
6) Chemical House Cleaning Products
Many of the products you use to clean your home and keep it germ-free are very harsh on your skin. Exposing sensitive skin to these agents can cause contact dermatitis.
Read labels. If you see warnings like, “Use in a well-ventilated area,” you know that the cleaning product contains skin-threatening ingredients. Here are a few of the most common offenders:
- • Ammonia – Found in window and glass cleaners, disinfectants, floor cleaners, and all-purpose cleaners
- • Hypochloric acid – Toilet bowl cleaners
- • Petroleum distillates and petroleum solvents – Floor and furniture waxes and polishes
While “Green” or “all natural” cleaners won’t necessarily prevent dermatitis, they are typically more mild and gentle on your skin. You could even try your grandmother’s favorite cleaning product: baking soda.