Soap and Detergent Allergies
Detergents and soaps are a necessary part of everyday hygiene. However, it’s not unusual to have an allergic reaction to chemicals found in these products. You may develop an allergy to a new product or one you’ve used for years without problems. Reactions from soap allergies and detergent allergies range in severity, from redness and stinging to itchy rashes and hives. There are two types of skin reactions: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. In irritant contact dermatitis, your skin is actually damaged. It may burn, sting or itch at the site of contact. With allergic contact dermatitis, your immune system triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, itching and a rash. This usually affects the face, lips, eyes, ears or neck.
Causes of Soap and Detergent Allergies
Symptoms may arise from any ingredient but most common culprits are perfumes, preservatives, abrasives, detergent components and bleaching compounds. When the body senses the presence of a foreign substance it deems harmful, an allergic response is triggered. Sometimes, non-harmful substances can also trigger a reaction.
Symptoms of Soap and Detergent Allergies
A chemical allergic reaction may appear on your skin up to a week after exposure to the irritant, though most reactions manifest within 48 hours of exposure. See your doctor if your reaction is severe. Symptoms are:
- A rash or bumps on the skin
- Itching (may be severe)
- Oozing or blisters
- Flaking or scaling
Soap and Detergent Rash Treatment
Wash the area of contact with soap and water. Apply TriCalm to soothe the itchy rash. Consult your doctor if you are not able to pinpoint the cause of irritation. He may perform an allergy test.
Look for products with few ingredients. Before applying the product over a large surface area, perform a patch test. Place a small amount of the product inside of your elbow and wait 48-72 hours. If you experience redness, swelling, itching or burning, discontinue the use of the product. Don’t rely on labels such as “hypoallergenic” or “non-irritating.” The use of these terms is not regulated and individual reactions to cosmetics vary.