7 Household Products That Might Be Causing Your Eczema Flare-Ups


Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, can be a frustrating and persistent condition. If you’re struggling with eczema flare-ups, it might be time to scrutinize the everyday products in your home. Common household items, from cleaning supplies to personal care products, can contain irritants and allergens that exacerbate your symptoms. Here’s a guide to help you identify potential culprits and make your home a safer environment for your skin.

1. Laundry Detergents

Your laundry detergent could be a hidden cause of your eczema flare-ups. Many conventional detergents contain harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes that can irritate sensitive skin. Opt for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and dye-free detergents to minimize the risk.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), fragrances, dyes

  • Recommended Alternatives: Products labeled as “free and clear,” such as Seventh Generation Free & Clear or All Free Clear

2. Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets often leave a residue on clothes that can irritate your skin. These products typically contain fragrances and chemicals that are not skin-friendly.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Fragrances, quaternary ammonium compounds

  • Recommended Alternatives: Wool dryer balls, or liquid fabric softeners designed for sensitive skin

3. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning products are notorious for containing harsh chemicals that can trigger eczema. From sprays to wipes, many contain ingredients that are harsh on the skin and can cause irritation.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Ammonia, bleach, artificial fragrances

  • Recommended Alternatives: Natural cleaning products like vinegar, baking soda, or brands such as Method and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

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4. Soap and Body Wash

The soap you use can have a significant impact on your skin’s health. Many soaps and body washes are loaded with fragrances and sulfates that strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), fragrances, parabens

  • Recommended Alternatives: Gentle, fragrance-free soaps like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar

5. Shampoos and Conditioners

Hair care products might not seem like an obvious culprit, but they can easily come into contact with your skin, especially if you have eczema on your scalp, neck, or face. Shampoos and conditioners often contain sulfates and fragrances that can be problematic.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), fragrances

  • Recommended Alternatives: Sulfate-free and fragrance-free options such as Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo and Conditioner

6. Dishwashing Liquids

Dish soaps are another common source of skin irritation. Frequent exposure to dishwashing liquids with harsh chemicals can leave your hands dry, cracked, and itchy.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Fragrances, dyes, triclosan

  • Recommended Alternatives: Mild, fragrance-free dishwashing liquids like Seventh Generation Dish Liquid or Dawn Free & Gentle

7. Air Fresheners and Scented Candles

While you might love a fragrant home, air fresheners and scented candles can be detrimental to your skin’s health. These products often release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other irritants into the air.

  • Key Ingredients to Avoid: Phthalates, formaldehyde, artificial fragrances

  • Recommended Alternatives: Natural air purifiers like houseplants, or essential oil diffusers with pure, unblended oils

Final Tips for Managing Eczema at Home

  • Patch Testing: Before using any new product, do a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for reactions.

  • Moisturize Frequently: Keep your skin hydrated with eczema-friendly moisturizers. Look for products with ceramides and free from fragrances and parabens.

  • Consult a Dermatologist: If you’re unsure which products to use, consult with a dermatologist who can provide personalized recommendations.

By being mindful of the household products you use, you can help reduce your eczema flare-ups and create a more comfortable living environment. Small changes can make a big difference in managing your skin’s health.