Detergent allergy: What are the indications to watch out for?

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An individual with detergent allergy might develop abrupt reactions after an extended period of exposure such as in the workplace. Nevertheless, some individuals have used a certain product for years without any issues before developing the allergy symptoms.

The symptoms might arise from direct exposure with laundry detergents or from residues left on bedding or clothing.

What are the usual reactions if I have detergent allergy?

Burning, itchiness or stinging

Skin that becomes itchy in patches particularly in areas where it touches clothing might be an indication of allergic contact dermatitis from the detergent. Once the body wrongly identifies an ingredient in detergent as a threat, it starts an inflammatory reaction by releasing histamine into the bloodstream which results to localized itchiness.

Remember that detergents contain various ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Dyes, preservatives and fragrances can trigger various reactions. The other allergenic ingredients include the following:

Detergent allergy

Skin that becomes itchy in patches particularly in areas where it touches clothing might be an indication of allergic contact dermatitis from the detergent.

  • Petroleum distillates
  • Ammonia
  • Synthetic surfactants
  • Polymers

Some might experience stinging or burning sensation as well.

Inflammatory symptoms

The itchy skin will start to swell and followed by warmth, redness and an elevated rash. As the inflammation progresses, the symptoms might develop in other contact areas. Due to this, it might be difficult for the individual to pinpoint when he/she was exposed to the allergens since detergent residues can linger on clothing for extended periods of time.

Certain ingredients such as optical brighteners might trigger reactions once in contact with the skin that is later exposed to sunlight. This might trigger severe rashes including painful hives or blisters. These blisters filled with fluid will later drain, oftentimes rupturing and crusting over.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Itchy, red, stinging eyes might also affect individuals who are highly sensitive to the ingredients in the detergent. Even handling detergents triggers skin symptoms on the hands while contact with the eyes cause allergic conjunctivitis.

Those who have detergent allergy can experience reactions in the eyes or face from exposure to the residue in pillowcases or even washcloths. Once the irritation of the mucous membrane in the eye occurs, it results to increased fluid production that results to overflowing tears.

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At St Mark James Training we work hard to ensure accurate and useful information on our blog website. However, the information that we post on our website is purely for educational purposes and should not be used as diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical advise please contact a medical professional

  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.