How To Deal With A Soap Allergy

A soap allergy are just one type of allergy that can create problems for people, but unlike allergies resulting from foods we eat or particles of matter such as pollen we may breathe in, a soap allergy generally causes an allergic reaction which fits into the category of contact dermatitis, a type of eczema. Contact dermatitis can result from either an allergen or an irritant which contacts the skin. A harsh cleanser or soap containing a gritty substance may result in a reaction due to skin irritation, while some chemicals present in soap may trigger an immune system response, as those chemicals are viewed by the immune system as allergens and invaders.

Being Allergic And “Being Allergic” - "Being allergic to soap" is a saying often applied to individuals who have poor hygienic habits, don't like to bathe, or are actually afraid to do so. In medieval times, many commoners took what often was their annual bath, with or without soap. and in those days soap allergies may have been somewhat of a rarity. With all the different kinds of soap on the market today, including perfumed soaps and soaps having "special cleansing agents", it's little wonder that a soap allergy may be more common today than was the case in the past.

The truth of the matter is, we don't need soap to clean the skin, water will usually do just fine. What soap does of course is makes the cleansing process faster and easier. Soap serves to dissolve dirt, oil, and grime much more quickly than water alone can do, but given time and enough water, one can get as clean as one wishes without resorting to the use of soap.

That isn't to that soap is bad. The use of it should certainly be encouraged. Soap kills germs and keeps us smelling good, but some people have a soap allergy, be it an allergic reaction to soap in general, or more likely, to a specific brand or type of soap.

Cosmetic Acids - Three types of ingredients found in many soaps on the market today can lead to an allergic reaction. These are cosmetic acids, preservatives, and perfumes. The most commonly used cosmetic acid is glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a very powerful cleanser, and will strip away almost everything, such as dead cells, which are not nailed down. Being so powerful, it can irritate the skin, and a rash that may result can be attributed to irritation and not an allergen. Some individuals however are allergic to glycolic acid, and even a small amount coming into contact with the skin can cause the immune system to overreact. Other cosmetic acid ingredients which are allergic to some and are often found in soaps are lactic acid and citric acid.

Preservatives - Some preservatives used in soap are allergens. These preservatives are there to preserve the soap and not your skin, and are often complex chemical compounds containing "methyl-" somewhere in their names. Preservatives are usually included even in general purpose soaps, and unless you get into the habit of carefully reading the ingredients, it may be very difficult to determine which brands of soap might contain an allergen and which likely do not.

Perfumes And Scents - Possibly the most common type of soap allergy is the one caused by the presence of a perfume in the soap. There are an awful lot of people who have no problem at all using an unscented soap, but experience a definite skin reaction, and sometimes worse, when using a scented or perfumed soap. Peppermint oils, tea tree oil, and lavender are three commonly used aromatic substances that many people are allergic to.

A Preventable Situation - A soap allergy is something that is usually preventable, once you find out which kinds or types of soap give your problems and which do not. If all soaps give you problems you are definitely in the minority. You don't necessarily have to rely solely on water, as there are other cleansing agents available, including oils such as olive oil. Just don't stick with a brand that's causing a problem out of brand loyalty or because everyone else in the household uses it. Have your own soap dish and use your own soap.




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