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Eczema – Product Aggravation

February 8, 2021


“So, are there certain products such as detergents, soaps, or perfumes that can cause or aggravate eczema? Yes. There are definitely certain products or personal care items which can make eczema worse. Some of these include items that are found in everyday life and are widely disseminated, such as baby wipes. Some of these you probably have at your workplace. It is best to avoid alcohol based products, and harsh chemicals, baby wipes, and some forms of hand sanitizer and soaps. Harsh detergents and soaps are also not recommended. Perfumes that are very strong and alcohol-based can also irritate the skin. When bathing it is best to use fragrance-free, non soap cleansers with neutral to low pH levels. There are no clinical studies supporting the use of water softening tools, bath oils, acidic spring water and bath additives in the treatment of atopic dermatitis other than the use of diluted sodium hypochlorite bleach in the prevention of skin infections. Skincare preparation should be free of dyes, fragrances, potentially sensitizing ingredients and common food allergens such as peanut derivatives. Ointments such as petrolatum that are inclusive and preservative free tend to cause less stinging and irritation when applied to inflamed skin.

However, they are less cosmetically appealing to patients. Creams can be more acceptable cosmetically for these patients while lotions are not strong enough to moisturize inflamed skin, given their higher water content. Products with beta or alpha hydroxy acids and urea can sting or cause a burning sensation when applied to sensitive and inflamed skin, particularly after scratching, although they may be helpful in decreasing scaling. There are also prescription emollient devices with variable levels of serumides, lipids, and fatty acids to help soothe the skin and repair defective skin barrier.”

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