Whether it is mild redness, frustrating swelling, stinging sensations, or just itching, skin irritation can be quite annoying, especially when you don’t know what’s the cause so you’re not sure what to stay away from. Given that your skin is your largest organ and the first one to defend your body from all kinds of outside irritants, you need to take good care of it and protect it as much as you can.
When your skin is in contact with some external irritant, that can lead to skin inflammation known as contact dermatitis. Of course, you want to keep your house clean and germ-free, but you need to bear in mind that many of the products that enable you to do so can be hard on your skin, causing a rash or itch. To help you avoid that, we have listed some of the most common house irritants to avoid.
Due to the fragrance or dye that are often added to them, soaps can often irritate our skin in many ways. And don’t be surprised if you become allergic to that soap you have been using for a long time – it’s possible to develop an allergy later, so do take it into consideration if you’re not sure what’s irritating your skin. The thing with soaps is that they are often too strong, so they strip your skin of its natural oils which are necessary to preserve its softness. So, make sure you choose a mild cleansing product.
As previously mentioned, household cleaners are very often the ones that irritate or even damage your skin. Some of those that you should avoid or at least be careful with include all-purpose cleaners and disinfectants, window and glass cleaners, dishwashing detergents, toilet cleaners, and drain cleaners.
We often tend to forget that clothes, too, can irritate our skin to a large degree, and that can happen for several reasons, including:
- Abrasive fabrics
- Allergic responses to dyes metal fasteners or chemical additives
- Scratching from tags, fasteners, and seams
- Chafing from frequent movement against the fabrics
- Bacterial infections from fabric that does not allow the skin to breathe or dry quickly
In case you suffer from atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, you should stay away from wool. The safest option is always cotton and cotton-poly fabrics.
Clothing detergent and fabric dryer sheets
Even after you wash your clothes, laundry detergent and fabric softeners remnants can still linger on them, just enough to cause irritations. The possibly problematic ingredients include surfactants that dissolve in water, builders for softening hard water, chlorine bleach, and fragrance (used to mask the chemical smell of the detergent).
If you notice that rashes or any other form of irritation occurs only on those parts of the skin that are covered with clothes, that might be the sign that the detergent or the softener is the cause, which means you should opt for fragrance-free and dye-free detergents and fabric softeners to avoid any further skin issues.
Latex is a natural rubber that can be found almost everywhere, including bras, waistbands, gloves, etc. However, if you notice welts under bra strap, for instance, you might be hypersensitive to latex.
If you spend too much time in a hot and humid environment, you might experience miliaria, commonly known as heat rash, which manifests as an outbreak of blisters or red lumps in the skin as a result of excessive sweating. The solution is just to cool your skin and move to a cooler place to avoid excessive sweating.
Cosmetic products, such as lotions, acne treatments, and deodorants are one of the most common irritants, especially if you have an allergic reaction to the chemicals they include (for instance, strong active ingredients, like alpha-hydroxy acids, as well as additives such as colors, fragrances, and preservatives).
No matter how effective they can be at preventing insect bites, bug repellent lotions contain N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) and other chemicals that, of course, make them as effective, but they also can cause irritation to your skin, so you must be careful. If you notice that these products cause any kind of allergy, why not opt for long sleeves and trousers to protect yourself from bugs?
Products such as wrinkle creams, cleansers, and skin peels often contain alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, malic acid, and lactic acid, which may be too strong for your skin, so if you notice stinging or burning when you apply them, know that it’s time to stop doing so.
Lastly, keep in mind that nickel, too, can cause allergies, so be careful because it can be found in many everyday items, such as costume jewelry, watchbands, zippers, etc.
As you can see, even if you never thought that some of the previously mentioned can do any harm to your skin, you now know they can, so pay more attention to these and make sure you protect your skin at all costs.