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10 soap ingredients that may trigger eczema

Eczema, a type of dermatitis, is a skin condition that can make the skin feel itchy, dry, and bumpy. This condition usually weakens the skin’s protective barrier, making it prone to dehydration and infections. While there are different types of eczema with distinctive triggers, one can have an increased risk of developing the condition if they have a family history of hay fever, dermatitis, allergies, or asthma. Keep reading to know about its triggers.

Soap ingredients that can lead to an eczema flare-up
Individuals with this specific health condition may experience flare-ups following the application of certain products. This is due to the presence of ingredients within these products that have the potential to worsen eczema symptoms. As a result, it is recommended to carefully examine the product label and refrain from using a soap that contains the following items:

Alkaline
Generally, most soaps available in the market have a balanced pH. But some can contain alkaline properties that can cause an increase in pH level and compromise the skin barrier. Hence healthcare professionals suggest patients carefully check for alkaline soaps and steer clear of them.

Fragrances
Typically, soap, body wash, and shampoo manufacturers add fragrances to their products to keep them smelling delightful. But in the case of eczema patients, these sweet-smelling fragrances can cause adverse allergic reactions leading to further complications. Hence, people with eczema are suggested to avoid soaps and other products containing fragrances as much as possible.

Dyes
Most soaps contain colorants or dyes for reasons such as covering up discoloration of the product, evening out its natural color, or making it look more appealing. However, these dyes can act as allergens, especially in people with sensitive skin or other skin conditions. So, when choosing the best soap for eczema patients, one must avoid products containing dyes to keep flare-ups at bay.

Essential oils
Most people believe natural fragrances are more suited for skin than synthetic ones. But this is far from the truth. So, while some essential oils with natural fragrances like tea tree oil can be beneficial against acne, they can also lead to irritation and allergies in some people. Therefore, eczema patients should keep clear of soaps with essential oils.

Cocamidopropyl betaine
This ingredient is often used as a foaming agent in most shampoos, soaps, and body washes. While it is known for being tear-free, cocamidopropyl betaine may still cause skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, particularly in both adults and children. The best way to control such reactions to the product in eczema patients and people with sensitive skin is to avoid soaps and other products that utilize it as an ingredient.

Sodium lauryl sulfate
Soaps and cleaners often contain an ingredient known as sodium lauryl sulfate. This detergent possesses the ability to disrupt the skin barrier. This can worsen eczema and its associated symptoms. Hence, eczema patients are suggested to avoid contact with soaps and other products that contain the detergent.

Ethanol
Commonly used in the production of bar soaps, ethanol gives a transparent or see-through look to the product. This means the higher the amount of ethanol, the more glass-like the soap. But, when such soaps are used by eczema patients or people with sensitive skin, they can cause burning, stinging, and drying of the skin. Therefore, it’s considered best to give these products a miss.

Lanolin
A waxy substance naturally produced in sheep, lanolin’s functions are similar to sebum secreted by the human body. Hence, this substance can be found in soaps, moisturizers, and hair care products. While it has beneficial properties, it can also cause allergies in people with atopic dermatitis ( eczema).

Salicylic acid
Numerous harsh soaps contain chemicals like salicylic acid that can cause inflammation in eczema patients. This leads to flare-ups and symptoms such as itchiness and skin irritation. One of the primary reasons behind it is that most eczema patients experience salicylate sensitivity leading to extreme skin dryness.

Formaldehyde
Harsh soaps contain formaldehyde, a highly irritating chemical that can cause allergic contact dermatitis in areas of the body that experience increased friction, like the inner thighs. While females are more affected by the chemical, it can also cause sensitivity in men. Thus, people with sensitive skin or conditions like eczema must keep their distance from soaps containing this skin irritant.

If a person has eczema, it’s important to avoid using soaps that contain the ingredients mentioned above. One should also steer clear of potential triggers like peanuts, eggs, and dairy products. One can try doing a patch test to find the right product for one’s skin. But before using any product on the skin, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist. They can evaluate one’s skin type and recommend products that are suitable for one’s skin. In case one notices any signs of allergic reactions like rashes, itchiness, and discoloration after using any products, one must wash the area thoroughly with water.

Additionally, if eczema patients notice any adverse reactions or infections, they must consult a healthcare professional at the earliest. This must also be done when eczema spreads on a large area of the body.

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