While skin care is huge in America, we don’t often stop to consider the role our clothing can play in our skin’s health. We tend to take into considering the body soap we use when washing our skin, but that’s too often where body skin care ends. However, for those with skin on the more sensitive side, the smallest thing can set a reaction off.
Recently, a few surprisingly cool detergents have been launched, like Dr. Barbara Sturm Laundry Detergent ($55), Decool x Ouai Melrose Place Dedtergent ($35) and even Bath & Body Works Fabric Care Detergent. While we were quick to add these to our cart, we wondered how someone with sensitive skin would fare with these fragrant laundry detergents.
We talked to board-certified dermatologists about which laundry detergent someone should opt for if they have sensitive skin. If your skin is not too reactive, you can try to introduce some innovative scents like the newest ones on the market. We love stepping out smelling like Mahogany Teakwood, but we know it’s not for everyone. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to laundry detergents. When we asked three board-certified doctors what the best laundry detergent for sensitive skin was across the board all three shared the same unanimous consensus.
The top dermatologist recommended laundry detergents for sensitive skin
Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD says dermatologists generally recommend one detergent for their patients whether or not they have sensitive skin: All Free Clear ($5), and he doesn’t seem to be the only one. Both Monroe, LA dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD and Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill also named this detergent the best for sensitive skin and beyond.
The formula is hypoallergenic, gentle on skin and 100 percent free of dyes and perfumes. It’s worth noting that it’s not just our doctors that the this laundry formula. The brand notes that this laundry detergent is the number one recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin. However, there are pros and cons. Dr. Schlessinger notes that while this is a great option for skin, it may not get clothes quite as clean as other detergents with less stain removal ingredients.
While Dr. Hopkins also recommends Tide Free & Gentle ($16), Dr. Schlessinger says he’s seen reactions to detergent Tide products, even those claiming to be for sensitive skin, so it may be a bit of trial and error to see what works with your skin.
Things to avoid when washing laundry if you have sensitive skin
Dr. Schlessinger says his practice is not in favor of using dryer sheets or fabric softener products. He says there are reports that he’s seen even patients with non-reactive skin be bothered by these products. “Research has also proven that laundry detergent and dryer sheets/fabric softener hang around in the washer and dryer for at least two to five loads after they are used, so I advise my patients to ask their family members to not use these products as well,” says Dr. Schlessinger.
If you’re scanning the laundry detergent aisle for a new product that will work with sensitive skin, be sure to check the ingredients list. The biggest thing to watch out for is added fragrance. “Most detergents have fragrances and added ingredients like Febreze that can cause allergic skin reactions,” says Dr. Hopkins. Dr. Longwill also recommends avoiding dyes, enzymes, harsh surfactants and preservatives when seeking a sensitive skin safe laundry detergent.