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Could a washing powder allergy be causing your itchy skin?

Get under the skin of that itchy rash with our guide to washing powder and fabric softener allergies.

Updated

cup of white washing powder or detergent

Key steps to identifying the cause of itchy skin:

Find out what causes your sensitive skin with these tips:

  1. Keep a diary of your flare-ups. Record when they happen and what you’ve been doing before they occur – including foods you’ve eaten and products you’ve used.
  2. Speak to a dermatologist. Provide all the details of your flare-up diary along with any medication you’re currently taking.
  3. Start testing different sensitive skin treatment options. This will likely include cutting out potential triggers and using products that offer relief from your symptoms.

If you have itchy, red skin and don’t know why, there could be a number of potential causes. From hormones to the weather, a lot of things can cause flare-ups or irritation. One cause that’s often overlooked but can have a big effect on your skin is a washing powder or fabric softener allergy. Let’s learn more about it here.

If you’re not sure whether or not you have a washing powder allergy, switch to one suitable for sensitive skin and see whether it clears up.

What is a washing powder allergy?

Washing powder and fabric softener allergies are actually a type of dermatitis, known as contact dermatitis. They occur when our skin has an allergic reaction to one (or more) of the chemicals in the product but not everyone will suffer from it, or even be allergic to the same chemicals.

Read our guide to washing powder allergies for more guidance.

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What washing powder allergy symptoms should you look for?

A fabric softener or soap powder allergy usually results in a rash that is red in appearance and itchy. If your skin is irritated and you think you could have a washing powder allergy rash, look for these other tell-tale symptoms:

  • The rash is localised to areas of skin that come into contact with your clothing.
  • Flare-ups occur when wearing newly washed clothes or after you’ve changed detergent.
  • Skin is painful and itchy. It may also be slightly swollen.
  • Your rash may be accompanied by blisters, bumps, or dry skin.

What washing powder allergy treatments are there?

Think you’re experiencing an allergy from washing powders or fabric softeners but not sure how to address it? The first step is to book an appointment with your GP to confirm the diagnosis and understand all the treatment options available to you.

Some home remedies you can try for relief of your symptoms include:

  • Switching detergent. Try an option free of harsh chemicals and strong fragrances – and don’t forget to swap your conditioner too. We recommend Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure.
  • Re-washing clothes. Use your new products to wash all of your clothes (yes, all of them!) to get rid of old irritants.
  • Apply natural soothers like Aloe Vera. This is perfect for itchiness, irritation, and hotness but should not be applied to broken skin. If your symptoms get worse after applying soothers or products, stop using immediately and speak to your GP if the reaction is severe.

If you’re experiencing a skin flare-up, remember to make a note of your symptoms and compare them to different causes before you start to treat them. Trust us, treating the wrong allergy will definitely make things worse.

Originally published