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Eczema – It’s Probably the Chemicals in Your Life!

Bob Root, Chemical-Free Skin Health® author and Keys chief scientist

Eczema is a catchall term for a lot of doctors. The cause is unknown, but some of us suspect chemicals in everyday products.

Common culprits for chemically induced eczema are sulfates in laundry detergents, PEG (propylene glycol) in just about everything, and parabens (a biocide in most products). So, we have heard from our customers that finding the cause of skin irritation is much more important than giving it a name. Doc’s want to name it so they can prescribe steroids and topical antibiotics. This seems to make things worse, with usually a fast relief and then a return of the irritation with a vengeance.

Our customers tell us that our MetaCare and RediCare do an excellent job of getting rid of the symptoms and keeping them away. The secret is the Neem and Karanja oil we use, along with high-quality ingredients. MetaCare is a nice soothing lotion, and RediCare is the same basic formula in a sprayable lotion that is good for larger areas.

The trick seems to find out what is bothering the skin. Sleuthing the cause is the best solution. Look to those laundry detergents that mostly use sulfates and optical brighteners (phosphorus). Most imported clothing has fire retardants in them. Carpet cleaners also use sulfates. Parabens in 98% of skincare products.

Getting Clean is more than what you eat!

Unveiling the Link Between Household Chemicals and Skincare Products: Triggers for Eczema-Type Skin Disorders


In recent years, the prevalence of eczema-type skin disorders has been on the rise, affecting millions of people worldwide. While various factors contribute to the development of these conditions, including genetics and environmental factors, emerging evidence suggests that household chemicals and skincare products play a significant role in triggering and exacerbating eczema symptoms. This article explores the connection between these products and eczema-type skin disorders, emphasizing the need for awareness and cautious product selection to protect our skin health.

Understanding Eczema-Type Skin Disorders

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed patches on the skin. It can occur at any age but is more common in children. Eczema is associated with a compromised skin barrier function, which allows irritants and allergens to penetrate the skin more easily, leading to inflammation and triggering an immune response. This results in the uncomfortable and often distressing symptoms experienced by individuals with eczema.

Household Chemicals and Eczema

The average household contains numerous chemicals, including cleaning products, detergents, and air fresheners. Many of these substances contain potentially harmful ingredients such as fragrances, preservatives, surfactants, and dyes. When these chemicals come into contact with the skin, they can disrupt the skin’s natural protective barrier, leading to irritation and triggering eczema flare-ups.

Several studies have found a correlation between exposure to household chemicals and the development or worsening of eczema symptoms. Fragrances, in particular, have been identified as a common trigger for individuals with eczema. Fragranced laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and cleaning products often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause skin irritation and worsen eczema symptoms.

Skincare Products and Eczema

While skincare products are designed to improve skin health, some ingredients commonly found in these products can aggravate eczema symptoms. Harsh cleansers, toners, and exfoliators can strip the skin of its natural oils, further compromising the skin barrier. Additionally, certain preservatives and fragrances used in skin care products can trigger allergic reactions and worsen eczema.

Common culprits in skincare products include sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde releasers, and synthetic fragrances. These ingredients can disrupt the delicate balance of the skin, leading to dryness, inflammation, and increased susceptibility to eczema flare-ups.

Safe Practices and Product Selection

Considering the potential impact of household chemicals and skincare products on eczema, adopting safe practices and carefully selecting products becomes crucial. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Choose fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products: Fragrances, even in low concentrations, can be irritating. Opt for fragrance-free products, including laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and personal care items.
  2. Read labels and avoid harsh ingredients: Look for products labeled as gentle, hypoallergenic, or specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Avoid products containing sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde releasers, and synthetic fragrances.
  3. Patch testing: Before using new skincare products, perform a patch test on a small area of skin to check for any adverse reactions. At Keys® we recommend the inside of the elbow as this is soft and sensitive skin.
  4. Moisturize regularly: Keeping the skin well-hydrated is essential for managing eczema. Choose moisturizers with natural and soothing ingredients, such as Keys® Tortuga, Luminos, Nextra and MetaCare.
  5. Limit exposure to chemicals: When cleaning or using household chemicals, wear gloves to protect your skin. Ensure proper ventilation and try to opt for natural, eco-friendly cleaning products.


The relationship between household chemicals, skincare products, and eczema-type skin disorders cannot be overlooked. The skin’s natural barrier is delicate and easily disrupted by harsh ingredients and chemicals present in our surroundings. By selecting fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products and adopting safe practices, we can minimize exposure and potential triggers for eczema flare-ups. Maintaining a healthy skin barrier through gentle skincare routines and cautious product selection is paramount to managing and reducing the impact of eczema on our daily lives.