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Asthma and Allergies

5 Tips for Protecting Sensitive Skin While Doing Housework

Exposed to certain products, sensitive skin can develop a red, swollen rash that dermatologists refer to as contact dermatitis.

1. Read labels

Be aware of the chemicals found in products you’ve purchased. WebMD.com advises avoiding cleansers that contain ingredients you’ve had a reaction to previously. Follow directions on the label to ensure you’re using the cleaner safely.

Be aware of ammonia found in disinfectants, floor cleaners, glass and all-purpose cleaners. Chloride and alkyl ammonium chloride in mold and mildew removers can also be harsh, along with chemicals used in spot removers, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, furniture polishes, floor waxes and antibacterial cleaners.

2. Go green

Environmentally friendly cleaners don’t automatically prevent dermatitis, but they are generally gentler on skin. You might want to consider something as simple as baking soda and vinegar to complete your chores. When doing laundry, Healthgrades.com suggests avoiding products that include added dyes and fragrances. Purchase detergents, dryer sheets and fabric softeners that have been clinically tested for people with sensitive skin. Look for “hypoallergenic” on the labels, and rinse loads twice to prevent lingering residue.

3. Take precautions

Protect your hands and arms by applying petroleum jelly to the skin, as well as wearing waterproof gloves and long sleeves when you scrub. If you’re really sensitive, be careful about what type of gloves you buy. Latex gloves can sometimes cause a skin reaction, making plastic and vinyl smarter options.

4. Store appropriately

Leave all your cleaning products in their original, labeled containers. Keep the lids tightly sealed to prevent the product from spilling on you, and never combine products.

Whatever the chore, don’t measure more than the recommended amount of cleaner.

5. Wash up

Rinsing your hands or any exposed skin after using a cleaning product can help protect your skin. Be certain to use warm water and gentle soap. If you do experience a problem, keep in mind that a prescription ointment or cream can help relieve the itching and redness. If that doesn’t work, you might need a prescribed steroid medication.

Remember not to scratch, as that can make your skin even itchier and it could cause an infection. Instead, apply a gentle moisturizing cream daily to soothe the affected area.

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