Laundry Day Blues, Whites and Rash Reds Find Relief With Shielding Lotions By Gloria MacTaggart

For some, skin sensitivities can be particularly bad immediately after Laundry Day.

By taking a few preventative steps, using a good shielding lotion, and understanding how irritants contained in what is supposed to clean toxins from our clothes can affect our skin, may help those with sensitivities and dry skin find relief.

The most common irritant in many commercial products is fragrance contained in a variety of products, including laundry detergent. Since fragrances are considered proprietary formulas, many of the chemical components do not have to be listed and are simply identified collectively as “fragrance”. Those fragrances are typically composed of volatile organic compounds and are the number one cause of adverse skin reactions. Skin reactions to fragrance can produce rashes, hives, dermatitis or eczema, not to mention the respiratory, circulatory, and neurological side effects.

According to Dr. Lisa Benest, board-certified general and cosmetic dermatologist in Burbank, Calif., the primary function of our skin is to protect the body from pollutants, toxins and irritants. But since our current lifestyle often strips off the protective barrier on our skin, she recommends the use of a shielding lotion to maintain healthy skin.

“When skin loses the ability to keep chemical and irritants out, we are exposed to all the bad stuff. Skin needs the natural oils and moisture it produces to be healthy, but with the stresses our skin is exposed to, these factors are often not present,” says Dr. Benest. “Dry skin and other skin conditions come about when the protective outer layer is stripped away and irritants and bacteria get into the skin. The reason shielding lotions are so effective is that they replace the protective barrier and allow the skin to heal from within.”

Steps that can help to prevent or minimize exposure to laundry offenders include:

· Consider using organic or naturally based detergents available through many whole foods or health foods stores.

· If you do use a traditional detergent, consider using 1/4 cup for a cold soak or pre-wash first, followed by another 1/4 cup added to the hot water cycle.

· Additives such as baking soda added to the cold wash, or vinegar to the rinse help to neutralize and rinse away toxins.

· Reduce the frequency with which you bleach your clothes. Try bleaching every other trip to the Laundromat.

· On Laundry Day, coat your hands and exposed areas with a shielding lotion to help protect against known irritants you are sure to come in contact.

· Using a shielding lotion on a regular basis all over the body can help to protect against any residual irritants that may come in contact with your skin.

· Adding water softener can help to boost the cleaning power of your detergent, especially if you are committed to using a reduced amount.

We all want clean clothes, but at what cost? Taking a few extra precautions, and minimizing exposure to harsh irritants, dyes and fragrances commonly found in laundry detergents, and using a shielding lotion can really help to prevent Laundry Day exposures and improve dry skin from chemical contaminants.

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