How laundry detergents may trigger eczema and Psoriasis

by Exzma Skincare October 22, 2020 4 min read

Laundry detergent is one of the most common substances that come into contact with a person’s skin.Though detergents are not as harmful as we think, it might contain ingredients or substances that could be irritants or allergens, which cause redness, burning and itching for people with eczema. So, in these cases, detergent can be an eczema trigger.

Why can laundry detergent be an eczema trigger?

The modern detergents are formulated with four main ingredients for cleaning such as surfactants, enzymes, bleaches, and builders. These potentially harsh components, rather than just cleaning, trick our eyes and make our clothes look brighter and smell good. Chemicals such asSodium Lauryl Sulfate and Coconut Diethanolamidewill break up the layer of oil on our skin that keeps it from drying out. 

Moreover, detergents are not pH balanced, and they are high in alkaline, which further infuriates an already inflamed or damaged skin. Over time, these detergent residues can accumulate on the fabric on the clothes. The residues, which can be potentially allergic pollutants remain on the clothes; rubbing all day on your skin and can more easily penetrate with all the creams you’ve applied to treat your damaged skin.

Is there a safe alternative to chemical-based laundry products?

There are many other safe laundry products alternatives for eczema-prone skin.

When selecting a laundry product, look out for the following inscriptions:

·         Plant-sourced or vegetable-based ingredients

·         Enzyme-free

·         Fragrance-free rather than unscented

·         Hypoallergenic

·         Neutral pH

·         Dye-free

·         Kid-friendly and safe for babies


Natural home-made laundry detergent

One can also make a natural home-made laundry detergent using grated organic soap, vinegar, washing soda and essential oil for natural scents’.

Soapberries or soap nuts (another natural option): They are dried berries harvested from Sapindus Mukorossi trees found in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The outer shells of these berries contain saponin, when agitated in water creates a natural soap, which has been used as a natural laundry detergent for centuries. Substituting the detergents and fabric softeners with soapberries can be a good option to effectively cleanse, soften and remove odours from our laundry - naturally!

If you are using natural laundry products for the first time, all you have to know is your natural detergent cannot whiten and brighten your clothes as commercial detergents do. Though there are some natural things like lemon, which you can add, you have to know that your whites will no longer stay white long-term.  


The right way to do laundry

  1. Not just the detergent, the way of washing clothes also has an impact on your eczema. It is very important to follow washing instructions properly to clean the clothes free from residues that might cause an eczema flare-up.
  2. Read the packaging instructions for your natural detergent and use it in the correct amount for all kinds of clothing. Also, it’s better to ensure not to overload the washing machine and select the correct washing cycle. An extra rinse at the end is always recommended.   
  3. New clothes will contain starch, dyes, and fabric finishes, which are harmful and will further aggravate your already irritated skin. To avoid further allergic reactions, wash or rinse them before wearing it for the first time. Not just clothing, this is also applicable to towels, beddings, etc.    
  4. Emollients and eczema creams are often absorbed by the clothes and can cause a greasy residue in washing machines, to reduce this, a regular empty wash at a high temperature is necessary to cleanse the drum of the washer. 

Reducing irritation 

Changing laundry detergents is simply not enough. There are other precautions and safety measures to be followed, such as:

  1. Using cotton and avoiding synthetic and itchy fibres such as wool or hemp.
  2. Focus on skincare products (soap, shampoo, etc.) made out of natural and plant-based ingredients.
  3. Watch out for any other chemicals or substances around your home or workplace that may be triggering skin reactions.


As we all know, one can overcome eczema only by using proper techniques along with a combined approach of relief treatment, behavioural changes, lifestyle changes. Moisturize your skin adequately with a good relief oil, gel or balm twice a day or as recommended, while the skin is still damp, especially after a bath. Choose a fragrance that is paraben and alcohol-free. Ingredients to be noted in a good moisturizer are essential oil, plant extracts, shea butter, beeswax. There are many alternative organic products and remedies available in stores. Products like Exzma Skincare contain organic and natural ingredients that can provide you with a better outcome and much-needed relief if used regularly. Choose the best products which are suitable for your sensitive skin that will help you to combat eczema symptoms in the long run.  



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