When your sensitive skin is feeling dry and itchy, your first thought might be to hop in the shower and try to wash the itchiness away with soap and water. Unfortunately, your soap may be the source of your problem.
Check out the ingredient list on your soap and look for these 5 ingredients, which can either dry out your skin or are known allergens. To solve the problem, switch to sensitive skin soap or hypo-allergic soap products, as they are the best products to soothe sensitive skin. Here are the list of ingredients that may be the cause of the problem.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This is a very common ingredient in soap and shampoo and is usually found towards the top of the ingredient list. It’s highly effective at breaking down oils and greases and produces that lather many of us have come to expect when we use soap.The downside is that SLS is actually a little too good at what it does. While there’s a common misconception that oil on our skin is bad and will clog our pores, we need a certain amount of oil to act as a protective barrier. Sodium lauryl sulfate cuts right through that oil, which dries out our skin and also makes us more susceptible to allergic elements.
- Coconut Oil Acid
Coconut oil acid, also known as coconut diethanolamide, is often used in soaps and lotions because it’s a great moisturizer and has a pleasant, tropical smell.
However, it’s also a detergent, and just like sodium lauryl sulfate, it can cut through that oily barrier and cause dry skin. Many people also develop an allergic reaction to this ingredient. This can happen over the course of a few months or years, so even if you’ve been using the same product for a long time with no reaction, it may still be the cause.
Bad news for people who are partial to sweetly scented soaps: the artificial fragrance used in many soaps and body washes may be giving you itchy skin because it’s causing an allergic reaction.
Fragrances are made up of a combination of chemicals, but because they’re not federally regulated, soap manufacturers don’t have to reveal in their ingredient list exactly what goes into them. Since there’s no way to know the components of the fragrance in your soap, it can be hard to test for allergens, but if you’ve been experiencing itchy skin and know that your soap contains fragrance, try an all-natural soap with plant-based ingredients instead to see if you notice a difference.
- Balsalm of Peru
Speaking of fragrance, Balsalm of Peru (also known as myroxylon) is another ingredient often added to soap to give it a scent and yet another potential allergen.
It’s essentially a sticky sap that is made up of cinnamein (a common allergen not to be confused with cinnamon) and a combination of unknown resins. Often, allergies to fragrances and Balsalm of Peru go hand-in-hand, so your best bet is to look for a soap that’s specifically labeled as fragrance free.
Paraben is a preservative often included in liquid soaps and shampoos to make them last longer, and it’s also—you guessed it—a potential allergen. To make matters worse, different types of paraben often appear in the same product, making it more likely for someone with a paraben allergy to experience an allergic reaction.
If you’re tired of having itchy skin and are ready to swap out your soap, consider switching to all-natural soap and environmentally friendly soap products.