What Causes the Itch?
The majority of detergents depend on phosphates and other ingredients now considered as potent carcinogens, ingredients that can cause cancer. These ingredients help us obtain that freshly laundered fragrance. They also make our skin feel as if we've just spent an afternoon in a blooming field of poison oak. They also contain surfactants, chemicals which have been known to kill aquatic animals. Builders, another commonly used element, have been shown to kill fish. Bleaches have toxic byproducts. And colorants have been tested and proven to cause cancer in humans. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want my children wearing clothing that carries these compounds, tiny little hazardous molecules adhering to their skin.
I know most of us really don't think about what's actually in that fresh smelling powder we add to our wash. We grab a giant scoop of that favorite TV brand, mistakenly assuming that, since it's more expensive, we're doing the best for our family. That is, until we start to feel that intense itching, which signals the arrival of another allergic reaction.
Yet, we continue buying those expensive, allergy- and asthma-producing detergents. Adding them to our wash is poisoning our children and our enviroment. Now that we realize exactly what we're adding to our wash, we can begin to make some much needed changes. Some of us still use the same detergent our moms and grandmas used before us. Right about now you may be asking, "What's the alternative?"
The next time you experience a breakout or itchy skin, ask yourself, "Is my itching from laundry detergent?" You'll probably find the answer to be yes. There are plenty of free and clear products on the market now. But they are not all created equally.
There are several quality detergents that are environmentally safe and biodegradable, with absolutely no artificial dyes or fillers to invade our skin. These are all made of recycled materials and are completely free of phosphates and all those other cancer-causing elements. Conventional detergents are made from synthetic petrochemicals that are very hard on your sensitive skin and the enviroment. The old brands leave a residue behind on our clothing and on our skin, which is why skin allergies are so common.
The "green" detergents, or hypoallergenic detergents, are simply products that have had every preparation made to assure the consumer that you have a minimal chance of an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic products are routinely monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. My mom's favorite is Dreft, which she began using when we were kids and has continued to use in her laundry ever since. It's intended for babies with sensitive skin, but since we all know that our sensitive skin continues into adulthood, it's also good for adults. This detergent is free of dyes and perfumes, is all-natural and hypoallergenic.
"Green" detergents are often a little more expensive, even more costly than Tide or Gain. However, the extra protection for your family and the enviroment is definitely worth it. Start reading labels and become familiar with what ingredients you are adding to your family's wash, because itching from laundry detergent is a serious dermatological condition and an all-too-common problem.