How harsh chemicals in cleaning products affect your hands and skin?

All that glitters isn’t gold, and this analogy holds true even for the best of cleaning supplies, usually used at homes and offices. A majority of us invest quite a significant part of the monthly household budget for purchasing cleaning products, which often include an extensive array of polishes, bleaching agents, detergents, soaps, and whatnot. However, while the bleach, disinfectants, and cleaner foam add a certain gleam to the interiors besides killing off a majority of harmful germs, they undeniably contribute significantly to indoor pollution. Prolonged proximity with these cleaning products can also lead to rashes and other forms of skin irritations. 

How Is Skin Irritation Perceived?

Possible Causes of Skin Irritation

While there are a host of ill-effects caused by the household cleaning products, we will restrict our discussion to the negative impacts on the skin and hands of the affected individuals. However, before moving any further into this discussion, we need to understand the difference between common skin allergies caused by certain chemical compounds and the underlying skin irritations that are caused due to other reasons. One of the more common terms for the latter is the Irritant Contact Dermatitis, which is a form of skin irritation, primarily caused by the underrated and overlooked chemicals which are harsh yet typical inclusions.

Statistics reveal that in a study concerning around 1300 individuals with hand rashes, about 35 percent of the affected ones cite skin irritation as the primary reason followed by atopic dermatitis at 20 percent and contact dermatitis at 19 percent. Therefore, this proves that quite a significant number of skin allergies and irritations are due to the interference with the chemicals present within the cleaning agents, leading to an acute case of contact dermatitis.

The Role of Soaps

Donald Belsito, MD, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri believe that plain soap and even water are the most potent skin-irritating combination.

It might come as a surprise that soap is one of the most common skin irritants which strips the skin surface off natural oils, leading to a more chapped exterior and drier outlook. While the effects are temporary, the chemical structure of most soap variants isn’t skin-friendly at all. The only option that might come in handy is to opt for hydrating cleansers for cleaning the hands and other exposed surfaces.

Other Cleaning Agents with Adverse Effects

Individuals must understand that even the most inert cleaning options contain chemicals that have a specific irritating effect, depending on the skin type. Firstly, there are different forms of bleaches, which include a chemical called sodium hypochlorite. While inhaling the same can be catastrophic, skin contact is bound to cause burns, corrosions, and irritations, even at smaller concentrations. 

What Causes Skin Irritations?

Although there are quite a few cleaning products in the market, not every entity affects every individual using the same. As mentioned, doctors often deem skin irritation as contact dermatitis, where the existing immune system of the body reacts with certain chemicals that are otherwise harmless. 

End Results

If allowed to thrive, minor skin irritations can come in the form of red skin, scaly patches, hives, increased sun sensitivity, cracked skin, intense itching, and swelling in selected areas. However, it all pans down to the allergies a person is nursing besides the nature of the concerned skin surface that is under the scanner.

It needs to be understood that not every product is harmful, but in case of an extensive chemical profile, it is advisable to connect with a physician before using the same. 

Readers Connect

We hope you found the article informative. Do let us know your feedback in the comments. If you use chemical-free products in your home, post it in the comments below.

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