From your cleaning supplies to your personal care products, your home is likely filled with more chemicals than you’d care to admit. Even the products labeled “all natural” can be deceiving.
Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time each day to check the ingredients in the products they use.
Because of this, your skin is exposed to a number of irritants each day that you may not even be aware of.
Knowing the top culprits that can cause skin reactions is important in knowing what you should be avoiding. We’re breaking down which common chemicals may be lurking in your home.
Believe it or not, one of your most used products may be one of the most irritating to your skin.
Hand soap, especially in excess, can take all the natural oils from the skin on your hands, causing them to appear dry and chapped.
When left untreated, it can even cause your skin to crack and bleed.
Dishwasher soap, body wash and bubble bath can also be irritating to your skin.
As much as you try to keep household cleaner off your hands when you’re cleaning your home, it can still have an effect on your skin.
Dish detergents, laundry detergent, window cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet disinfectants and furniture polish can all be extremely irritating.
To avoid exposure to these products, it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves any time you’re handling any of these substances.
Dryer sheets and fabric softener
Two of the most confusing irritants for many people are dryer sheets and fabric softener.
Because a rash typically occurs in places covered by clothing, it can be difficult to identify where the irritation is coming from.
Using a fragrance-free liquid fabric softener to fight static cling is one of the best ways to avoid a reaction you may get from scented dryer sheets and fabric softener.
Believe it or not, clothing can be an issue for many people, especially those who suffer from a form of eczema called atopic dermatitis.
This skin disorder effects up to 20 percent of children, according to The American Academy of Dermatology.
If you feel that your clothing is causing your skin to itch or giving you a rash, you should consider keeping cotton and cotton poly fabrics in your wardrobe.
Some people are allergic to latex, a natural rubber found in everything from gloves to elastic waistbands.
If you have a sensitivity to latex, you may experience welts in areas that the latex touches.
Those who suffer from a latex allergy are also more prone to have a reaction to tropical fruits like bananas and kiwis.
One of the most common allergies is to fragrances. Unfortunately, there are more than 5,000 fragrances, with many different combinations, making it tricky to determine which chemical is causing irritation. If you have a reaction to a scent, you may develop a rash or hives.
Facial skin is at a heightened risk of irritation due to its deep pores, which are easily breached.
If you experience stinging or burning when you apply your facial cream, you may be having a reaction to the product. Wrinkle creams, cleansers and skin peels are some of the most common irritants.
When you purchase a cream, be sure to read the ingredients to check for ascorbic acid, paraban preservatives and alpha hydroxy acids.
Commonly found in costume jewelry, watchbands, and other everyday items, nickel can cause irritation to the skin.
For some individuals, the allergies are so severe that even taking vitamins can cause a reaction.
It’s no secret that sunscreen is necessary to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB radiation; however, there are chemicals in sunscreen that can result in an allergic reaction.
If you have a reaction to the sunscreen you’re wearing, look for a PABA-free alternative.
From makeup to shampoo, many different cosmetic brands include a number of chemicals that can cause irritation to the skin. One study revealed that more than a third of over 900 participants had an allergic reaction to the ingredients in cosmetics.
When you have a reaction to a cosmetic product, you may experience symptoms immediately after use or you can go years with no problem before symptoms set in.
How to prevent contact dermatitis
To prevent irritant contact dermatitis, wear rubber gloves whenever you are doing dishes. Plain petroleum jelly is a great way to protect the skin and should be applied any time you wash your hands.
Stay away from substances that you know irritate the skin, use mild soaps and regularly use hand creams and lotions to keep skin moisturized.
When to see a provider for a reaction
If you develop a skin rash that persists, it’s important to see a provider. He or she will most likely suggest patch testing to determine if you’re suffering from contact dermatitis.
During a patch test, an area of your skin is exposed to small samples of chemicals to see if a rash appears. This test does not require needles or pricking of the skin.
Your provider will then reevaluate the area being tested after 48 hours and again after one week.
Once you’ve been properly diagnosed with contact dermatitis, your provider will work with you to come up with a treatment plan. This will most likely include therapy and allergen avoidance.
If you believe you are having a reaction to a product you have in your home, consider visiting your local CareNow® urgent care clinic.
We have more than 100 locations throughout the United States—each open seven days a week and after hours to provide care when you need it most.
CareNow® welcomes walk-in patients, so don’t hesitate to come by instead of waiting for your appointment at your general physician’s office.
Be sure to utilize our Web Check-In® feature so you can rest at home and avoid the waiting room.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.