If the skin is constantly irritated upon exposure to detergents, it can eventually result to contact dermatitis, either the allergic or irritant type. Contact dermatitis is best described as the inflammation of the skin caused by direct exposure to an irritant or any allergy-causing substance. If the individual develops an allergic reaction, a rash forms within 24-48 hours after exposure. Depending on the sensitivity of the skin and type of irritant exposed to, the inflammation of the skin can range from a minor irritation to redness or even the development of open sores.
It is best to consult a doctor in order to determine the substance that triggers the irritation or allergic response. The doctor will instruct the individual to keep a journal of allergic reactions in order to figure out the possible culprits. In case the exact source of the allergies cannot be identified, a skin patch test will be carried out to find out the exact allergen.
Treatment options for detergent allergy
You can perform the following first aid measures to provide relief to the rashes.
- You can use corticosteroid creams or ointments in order to minimize the inflammation. Other options include wet dressings as well as the application of anti-itch lotions to reduce the irritation and itchiness.
- Encourage the individual to look for detergents and fabric softeners that do not contain dyes and perfumes. Take note that the chemicals utilized to provide scent and color to these products have been responsible for causing irritation and allergies. It is best to opt for natural products available in the market to limit the exposure of the skin to irritating chemicals. When washing clothes, add an extra cycle during rinsing to completely remove all possible irritants.
- Use cold compresses and soaks since these can relieve the rash during its early stages.
When to consult the doctor
There are some cases of detergent allergy that would require a trip to the doctor’s clinic. The individual must schedule an appointment with the doctor if the condition does not seem to improve within 2-3 weeks or if the rash worsens even if the possible allergens are removed.
The doctor will usually prescribe oral steroids as a short-term treatment in severe cases. These medications should be taken for a limited time since they can cause undesirable side effects as well as long-term health risks.
Important tips and considerations
The rash or any skin irritation triggered by allergic contact dermatitis can take up to 14-28 days to completely disappear even if treatment has been provided. During this time, it is important to soothe the skin until the rash disappears.
Avoid overusing corticosteroid ointments or creams since they can cause skin reactions. It is important to carefully follow the instructions when these products are used and stop using them if further irritation or discoloration is noted.