There are many people who are allergic towards laundry detergents. They get it when their skin comes in direct contact with a particular detergent while using it. Those who do not handle detergent may develop it after wearing clothes or using bedding washed in it. The main culprit of detergent allergy is the chemicals present in it which act as an irritant for the skin. Generally, those chemicals that are used to make its various laundry detergent ingredients such as dyes, perfumes and bleaching agent are responsible for this. Residues of such chemicals remain in the fabric of the clothes even after rinsing and cause allergic skin reaction. Those people who have highly sensitive skin are at a higher risk of getting this kind of allergy.
Symptoms of Detergent Allergy
The allergic symptoms usually show up as soon as you are exposed to the allergen (the detergent). Sometimes, they are observed a day or two after the exposure. You get allergy symptoms when the immune system of your body assume a specific component of the detergent to be harmful and release various antibodies like histamines. As a result, the body responds with inflammatory symptoms so that the allergens can be eliminated.
Basically, detergent allergy is a kind of skin allergy. Therefore, the main symptoms are observed on the skin surface itself. Initially, an itching sensation is felt in all those parts which are exposed to the detergent. It means the itchiness is localized to all those patches where your clothes come in contact with the skin. If you have handled the detergent then you are going to experience irritation on your hands. After sometime, the skin becomes dry and scaly.
When skin is continuously exposed to the allergen, then it results in skin inflammation. It can be identified with reddening of the skin and eruption of raised detergent allergy rash. These rashes give a stinging or burning sensation and are tender to touch. Gradually, they develop into fluid filled blisters that start oozing out. Eventually, the skin breaks and crust is formed on its surface. The condition of the rashes worsens with exposure to the sun.
While using the detergent, if it goes into your eyes, then it irritates its mucous membranes causing red and itchy eyes. Later on, it may lead to allergic conjunctivitis that causes watery discharge from the eyes. In some cases, the respiratory system may get affected by the fumes of detergent and symptoms like nasal congestion, runny nose, wheezing are observed.
Detergent Allergy Treatment
When you have allergy, then you have to visit an allergist for treatment. The first step of treatment is to provide relief from the annoying detergent allergy symptoms. Antihistamines are given for topical application on the skin rashes. if the condition of the rashes are severe, then corticosteroid skin creams are also used to bring down the skin inflammation. It is often accompanied by oral histamines. Calamine lotion is very helpful in providing relief from skin irritation. An excellent home treatment for the stinging skin rashes is cold compression for 20 minutes. Wrap up an ice cube in a towel and apply it gently over them and you will get a soothing relief.
Those who are getting allergy symptoms quite frequently need a thorough diagnosis. Laundry detergent allergy diagnosis is quite difficult as identification of the source of allergen is not easy. It is not necessary that you get it when you use a new detergent product. In many cases, it has been found that people have used a particular product without any trouble for several years but now when they use it they experience allergic symptoms. Skin patch allergy testing is often conducted by doctors for detection of the allergen. Here trace amount of possible allergens are introduced in scratches of the skin. If you are allergic to it, skin bumps or rashes would form. Once it is identified, you are advised to avoid that source of allergy to prevent any further recurrence of detergent allergy.
Detergent allergy is not a serious health issue and does not give rise to any life-threatening condition like many other allergies. Still, you do not want to suffer from those annoying symptoms again and again. For this reason, prevention is a must. Change your detergent brand immediately. You can use a mild, fragrance free, dye free detergent. Or else, hypoallergenic detergents are best available option for you as they are specifically formulated for allergy prone skin. Always wear gloves while handling detergents. To ensure that the residues of detergent are totally eliminated, always rinse your clothes twice.