What’s in your washing detergents and why it matters

What's in your washing detergent

What’s in your washing detergents and why it matters

Washing detergents and fabric softeners smell fantastic, but they don’t always feel it. For people with allergies or skin problems like eczema, using washing products with minimal chemicals in can make all the difference.

Similar to cosmetics, the fragrances and added scents can cause the skin to have an adverse reaction and can leave you having a bad night’s sleep if your bedding has been washed using certain detergents or powders.

It can be a challenge avoiding added chemicals as supermarket shelves are packed full of them. From lavender to a summer’s day to berries, there’s a different scent available for every wash. However, swapping out triggering products for something more natural is critical if you don’t want to break out into rashes, irritate your skin conditions, or scratch all day.

Ingredients list

Not everybody knows their triggers. You might know vaguely that harsh chemicals or fragrances don’t mix well with your skin. Here are the ingredients that are commonly found in washing products that you should steer clear of:

  • Fragrances
  • Dyes
  • Emulsifiers
  • Solvents
  • Parabens


If you have sensitive skin, you’ll already be wary about everyday products and that avoiding them is the key to not breaking out into rashes, bumps, and inflamed skin. But you may not have thought about other chemicals like parabens. You might have noticed that more and more shampoos on the market are paraben-free. But what are they and why should you ditch detergents that contain them?

Since the 1950s, parabens have been used as a preservative in cosmetics and toiletries to keep away bacteria and allow products to last longer. They have become controversial in recent years due to studies showing how they affect the skin. Although ‘normal’ skin isn’t usually affected by the synthetic preservative, ‘problem’ skin can cause it to flare up.

Not every product will clearly list that they contain parabens as they can go by other names, including:

  • Methylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Propylparaben


If you think you have an allergy or skin condition related to these chemicals, these are the signs to look out for:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Bumps
  • Triggering of contact dermatitis or eczema

Contact or allergic?

It’s essential to find out whether you have contact dermatitis or allergic dermatitis. Both cause the skin to itch, dry out, and turn red, but they are also completely different. Contact dermatitis is usually more widespread and, unlike allergic dermatitis, doesn’t involve the immune system so isn’t an allergy. As its name suggests, contact dermatitis occurs due to exposure to irritants. However, allergic dermatitis is more localised and can cause the skin to blister and swell.

To avoid irritation, you should ditch the chemical-filled washing products and opt for products that are more natural. When you don’t know what your triggers are, we highly recommend you test for a range of allergens. If you’re struggling with skin conditions like eczema, find out more about what you can do to manage it.

If your skin is inflamed, itchy, and sore, you might have allergies you don’t even know about. Why not request an allergy test today or speak to our experts, so that you can live irritant-free.

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