Could your laundry routine be making your eczema worse?
Your clothes rub against your skin all day long, and your sheets and bedding brush against it all night long. So the detergent and other products you use on laundry day can have a big impact on your skin health and eczema symptoms.
But if you’re careful, laundry doesn’t have to cause your skin more trouble. For clean clothes without making eczema worse, try these tips from dermatologist Suzanne Friedler, MD, of the Mount Sinai Hospital and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.
Use detergents that are hypoallergenic, dye-free, and fragrance-free. Don’t be misled by the term “unscented.” An unscented detergent still has a fragrance, but it’s masked and will still irritate sensitive skin.
Wash new clothes and bedding before you wear or use them.
Use the “extra rinse” setting on your washing machine if available. Detergent can often remain on the fabric even after rolling around in the washer and dryer. Rinsing out the clothes a little longer will get as much detergent off as possible.
Use only the amount of detergent suggested on the label. This tip comes from both laundry machine manufacturers and the American Academy of Dermatology. Too much detergent can cram the machine and make it harder to drain properly.
Dr. Friedler is a dermatologist and clinical instructor at The Mount Sinai Hospital and St. John's Episcopal Hospital.
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When you have eczema your skin
barrier is already compromised.
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So things that won't affect someone
else could effect you because they can
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penetrate more deeply into your skin.
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This is especially important
when washing laundry for
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the clothes you wear every day,
and linens when you sleep.
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People with eczema need to look for
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detergents that are hypoallergenic,
free of dyes and fragrances.
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Some brands offer detergents that are
formulated especially for sensitive skin.
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Often this is a case of trial-and-error
to find the right detergent that
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works for you.
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There's also a difference between
fragrance free and unscented.
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Those with eczema will
wanna pick fragrance free.
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Fragrance free means the product
is free of all fragrances,
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even ones that you cannot smell.
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Unscented means that a fragrance
is masked so you can't smell it.
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But it's still in there and
can irritate your eczema.
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Always wash new clothing and
bedding before using them.
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And selected extra rinse if
your washer has that setting.
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The American Academy of
Dermatology recommends using
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only the amount of detergent
suggested on the label so
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there isn't too much soap in the load and
doesn't over-cram the machine.
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This will allow the detergent
to dissolve correctly.
15 tips on making laundry eczema-proof. San Rafael, CA: National Eczema Association. (Accessed on December 30, 2020 at https://nationaleczema.org/tips-making-laundry-eczema-proof/.)
How can I find eczema friendly products? Schaumburg, IL: American Academy of Dermatology. (Accessed on August 31, 2017 at https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/eczema-resource-center/triggers/eczema-friendly-products.)Isoda K, Takagi Y, Kitahara T, Sano Y, Sugano I, Umeda-Togami K, et al. Treatment of cloth with a fabric softener ameliorates skin dryness. J Dermatol. 2011 Jul;38(7):685-92.