Laundry Detergent Allergy

Sometimes clothes washed in a laundry detergent can lead to skin irritation and when the skin comes into direct contact with the detergent, it can lead to laundry detergent allergy. This type of allergic reaction caused to the skin is called ‘Contact Dermatitis’.

The immune system of our body considers the laundry detergent as a foreign body and regards it as an invader and fights off by releasing histamine. This histamine causes inflammation and leads to various allergic symptoms like itching, swelling and various other symptoms. This contact dermatitis is also caused by various synthetic and natural chemicals like those found in household cleaners, perfumes, fabric finishes, shampoos and industrial solvents etc. This article discusses about various symptoms of laundry detergent allergy and their preventions.

Laundry Detergent Allergy Symptoms

The following are a few symptoms of laundry detergent allergy:
• Skin symptoms include redness and rashes which may appear after a few hours of contact with the detergent.
• Chapped, dry skin after initial exposure to detergent or other cleaning products such as whiteners, stain removal agents, softeners, bleaching and bluing agents.
• Scaly, itchy and red patches on the skin due to repeated exposure to detergents.
• When already irritated skin is again exposed to detergents, it may lead to blistered, swollen and scaly skin, which can also be accompanied with stinging or burning sensation.
• If the skin is continuously exposed to detergent which is triggering the skin reactions, this condition can become chronic. This condition can lead to dry, thickened and scaly skin and a few times, pigments change and hair loss are also observed.

How is laundry Detergent Allergy Caused?

Apart from all other chemical compounds in detergents, it also contains enzymes. Enzymes are proteins which can act as catalysts in various life processes. Frequent inhalation of enzymes can trigger the immune system and put it in an auto immune mode. This happens because the body treats the protein as a stranger and causes the production of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies react with the basophils and the mast cells in the body and cause the adverse physical reactions in the body.

Treatment for Laundry Detergent Allergy

• Antihistamines can help negate the effect of the excess histamine in the blood stream.
• Corticosteroids can be used in severe cases. However, they cannot be used for a longer time frame.
• Atopical ointments can provide relief from the itching and burning and can help heal the lesions.

Methods to Prevent Laundry Allergy

Some laundry tips to prevent allergy are as follows:
• Whenever you come in contact with detergent, immediately wash your hands and apply soothing cream.
• You should first find out the reason for skin allergy as there are no specified tests to detect laundry allergy.
• The best method to prevent laundry allergy is to prevent that particular skin irritant.
• Wear protective gloves to prevent detergent exposure.
• Fully automatic machines can reduce the skin reaction chances.
• Homemade laundry soaps can reduce the allergy chances.
• When skin irritation is there, application of calamine lotion can cool the skin and provide relief from allergy.
• After consultation with your dermatologist, take some laundry detergent allergy preventive medicines.

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