Saturday, January 10, 2009

Laundry Tips

Things are getting downright frigid here in PA and the colder it gets, of course the dryer and itchier skin gets.

Years ago, I would have bundled up in wooly sweaters. However, over time, I have found that I absolutely can't wear wool. Not even things with just a smidge of wool in them. They make me itch and sneeze and get downright grumpy.

For a while I could get away with cashmere. Those were good years...just HAD to get cashmere. For my health. Seriously.

And then even cashmere got crazily itchy. Then anything that was touching my neck drove me crazy - even cotton and non-allergenic things like acrylic.

Then I thought about the laundry products I was using. Always a big sucker for good smelling things, I was buying the latest and greatest and most scented dryer sheets and detergents. Maybe this was part of my problem?

I have never been at all reactive to scent in body products - I wear perfumes and have the world's largest collection of body creams and lotions (I am guessing on that...but I am sure I am a contender!). But maybe the laundry stuff was different? Stronger?

So I switched to hypoallergenic detergent and softener (Tide Free and Bounce Free - although I have tried other "natural" detergents and they all seem good.) The clothes still seemed clean and soft, but my neck stopped itching. And I could wear a turtleneck if I wanted to.

I went to the dermatologist this week and she asked me how my irritated neck was going and I told her that changing the laundry products seemed to have fixed things. She gave me that "Of course!" sort of look and said that softeners in particular can cause problems. (It would have been nice for her to share that with me before!) Apparently detergent is less of an issue, since it is almost all rinsed out in the wash. So maybe I can get good smelling detergent!

Anyway - if you are having problems with dry and irritated skin, especially during the winter. You might want to take a look at what you are using in the laundry. For kids, it might be worth a trial of the Dreft or Ivory or whatever people are using on baby clothes these days. Reducing the irritation from laundry products could be one big step in de-crunching those kids!

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