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Are Your Laundry Products Breaking You Out?

Problem: Scented laundry detergents, additives, and fabric softeners leave harmful residues that can irritate sensitive skin, cause contact dermatitis, and worsen acne or eczema.

What to look for: Look for dermatitis on one side of your face, neck and body where you sleep, on your back, and areas where you perspire. Also, check along the seams of your clothes, including under bra straps, necklines, waistlines, panty lines, the seams of your jeans, under socks, and anywhere clothing is fitted, tight or your skin comes in contact with chemical residue from washing powders, liquid detergents, additives, and fabric softeners.

Allergies? When your skin comes into contact with perfumes and toxic chemical residues, you’re inhaling them too, which trigger nasal allergies, wheezing, dark circles and headaches.

Laundry products must be free of perfumes and dyes. Look for words like “free and gentle” and “free and clear” in white bottles.

Safe bleach: Clorox 2 for Colors Free & Clear.

Acne-free laundry means you must avoid additives, enzymes, chlorine bleach, and fabric softeners. Even fragrance-free dryer sheets leave a waxy residue that can clog your pores and irritate your skin. People freely admit to tossing multiple softener sheets into the dryer for one overcrowded load of “still soapy” laundry. Also, dryer sheets leave a transparent film on the lint filter that can restrict air flow, burn out the heating unit or start a fire.

Try using dryer balls, which last forever, save money and are environment-friendly. Use four to six dryer balls in the dryer to soften clothes and bedding without chemicals.

Less detergent and smaller loads: Do you “crowd” soiled clothing in the washing machine by attempting to turn three loads into two? Do you pour detergent directly into the washer without measuring? Wash 25% less laundry per load, and use 25% less “free” detergent in the process. Always measure and then use a bit less. Clothing and bedding get much cleaner by agitating and circulating better. Less laundry in the washer and less detergent means cleaner, softer fabric, less chemical residue, a fresher natural scent, and fewer skin problems.

Extra rinse cycle: When possible, put clothes through an extra rinse cycle to remove traces of soap residue to reduce the potential for persistent irritation.

Rewash everything you own with “free” detergent, including bedding, towels, clothing, socks, and lingerie.

Clean shared washers, dryers and lint filters before each load with white vinegar (in a spray bottle) and paper towels to remove detergent and softener residue left by others.

Stay acne-free. Wash all new clothes, bedding, and towels before use. Imported designer jeans, clothes and scarves are sprayed with toxic fungicides, pesticides, and formaldehyde, and must be washed before wearing to prevent body acne, bacterial infections, rashes, and skin discoloration. To prevent fading, turn dark clothes inside out, wash in cold water, and hang to dry. Victoria Secret bras contain the carcinogen formaldehyde, linked to toxic skin reactions, even after they’ve been washed.

Static? Try Static Guard, but only if static cling is a problem.

Are your hands dark and irritated? Examine your exposure to sun, scented soaps, harsh detergents, and fabric softener residue. No matter how busy or financially comfortable, some people insist on doing their own laundry, which can involve folding heavily-scented softener-soaked clothes with unprotected hands. Switch to unscented detergent, avoid fabric softeners, and wear fleece-lined or nitrile gloves for household chores. Carry fragrance-free liquid soap, hand sanitizer, baby wipes and hand cream with you. Apply sunscreen to hands and arms before sun exposure.

More about sensitive skin here.

Got acne? See our How-To Guide for Clear Skin

Note: Individual results may vary and require compliance to corrective home care products, diligent sun protection, professional treatments, and important lifestyle changes, all of which must be monitored and maintained on a long-term basis.

©2019 Kathryn Khadija Leverette and clinicallyclear.com

The material on this website is provided for educational purposes and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.