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Soap ingredients easily irritated skin should avoid

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Suds for sensitive souls

It's hard having sensitive skin. A woman with sensitive skin can't easily play around with cosmetics, she can't slather on just any old sunscreen, and the laundry detergents available at many stores are full of ingredients that can give her painful or annoying skin reactions. If you've got sensitive skin, SheKnows offers you this list of additives to avoid and the best alternatives to try.

Woman doing laundry

A quick search of the Internet will give you a wealth of information on additives to stay away from to safeguard your overall health. However, the ingredients listed below are most likely to upset the balance of your skin and set off a reaction — especially if your skin is already sensitive.

1

Optical brighteners

An optical brightener is an ingredient that is added to many detergents to make whites and lights appear whiter and brighter. It works by depositing into your clothes an additive that reflects blue light, which tricks eyes into seeing a brighter fabric. This same idea is in play when you see elderly women walking around with blue hair.

Instead: Hang your whites to dry on a clothesline outside. The sun will whiten the fabric without adding any chemicals.

2

Quaternium-15

This scary-sounding chemical is found in laundry detergents and some skin care products, but it can pose a major problem to people with allergies. The product is supposed to soften fabrics upon use, but that's not worth it if it gives you contact dermatitis.

Instead: Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to a load of laundry as a fabric softener. It will also brighten your clothing without harming your skin.

3

Artificial fragrances

Some people love laundry day because it fills the house with nice scents, but others can barely handle the smell of artificial fragrances. Not only that, artificial fragrances can cause rashes and skin sensitivity for people who are predisposed to allergic reactions.

Instead: Dab a bit of water on a scrap of cotton fabric and then put 10 drops of your favorite essential oil on the fabric. Once your laundry is completely dried, put the damp cloth in the dryer with the rest of the laundry and run it for five more minutes for a fluff dry.

4

Linear alkyl sulfonates

These additives do the grunt work on laundry day by allowing water to penetrate fabrics and knock loose any grime or stains in your clothing. The chemical then removes the grime and keeps it in the water, away from the clean clothing, until the rinse cycle. But some people who are sensitive can have reactions to the manufactured product, and some are concerned about its toll on the environment.

Instead: Make a homemade laundry detergent with natural ingredients that have the same cleaning properties.

tell us:

Have you ever had an allergic reaction to laundry detergent?

More cleaning tips

7 Quick home-cleaning tips
5 Places to disinfect daily
15 Tips to organize your laundry room

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