As an eczema sufferer, I have to be pretty particular when it comes to my laundry detergents. Even if I’ve done the most rigorous body-care routine, a wash with the wrong detergent can lead to a week or more of hot, inflamed, and ferociously itchy skin. A few months back, against my better judgment, I tried my friend’s heavily fragranced Le Labo Santal scented detergent (I couldn’t resist the smell and the beautiful bottle) — it made my clothes smell like an absolute dream, and I was up all night scratching.
But perfume isn’t the only ingredient I should steer clear of. Most detergents are also formulated with sodium lauryl sulfate (a common sudsing agent, often referred to as SLS) and optical brighteners (they make whites look whiter). While these ingredients are fine for most people, they have been known to trigger or further exacerbate hypersensitive, allergic, or eczema-prone skin types.
Per the advice of my dermatologist, I tried several popular “eczema friendly” detergents — Arm & Hammer’s Sensitive Skin Detergent, Tide’s Free & Gentle Detergent, and All’s Dryer Sheets for Sensitive Skin, to name a few — but none of them worked. After laundry day, my skin would still feel itchy and uncomfortable. At her wit’s end, my dermatologist finally recommended Ecos’ Free & Clear — a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent that uses gentle coconut-based surfactants instead of SLS. She explained that its short, plant-based ingredient list was suitable for sensitive skin types but that she couldn’t vouch for its ability to effectively clean harsh stains.
A week or two into using the Ecos detergent, I noticed my eczema patches along my legs and stomach, which had been there for months, were finally starting to clear up. And as far as stain removal goes, I was pleased to report back to my dermatologist that Ecos’ Free & Clear was able to successfully remove the remnants of a cold-brew spill from my favorite white T-shirt and some streaks of stubborn mascara from my bathroom towel. It was obvious: I’d found “the one.”
If putting on your newly washed clothes has historically led to a long night of itching, I recommend buying this — it may not be the sexiest product out there, but it’s been a real skin-saver.
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