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The Simple Test that Could Save Your Skin

With around 6 million of us likely to suffer eczema at some stage and its incidence tripling in recent years, it’s no wonder Australians are getting smarter about what we put on our skin, from soap to moisturisers and makeup.1,2

But there’s one area that often skips scrutiny, and that’s products used in the laundry.


With around 6 million of us likely to suffer eczema at some stage and its incidence tripling in recent years, it’s no wonder Australians are getting smarter about what we put on our skin, from soap to moisturisers and makeup.1,2

But there’s one area that often skips scrutiny, and that’s products used in the laundry.

After all, what goes in our laundry wash goes on our clothes, and what goes on our clothes (and bedding) goes… you guessed it, on our skin. 

Some detergents are particular culprits and if you have sensitive skin it pays to know what to look out for. 

Perfumes and dyes are obvious, but another big skin enemy are powders that contain insolubles, otherwise known as ‘fillers’. 

What are fillers?
Fillers are non-cleaning substances that bulk out a product and make it look like you’re getting more.  Despite recent regulations deeming all laundry powders become ‘concentrates’, shrinking the pack size of detergents hasn’t necessarily weeded out all these bulking agents, used by companies in place of more expensive active ingredients.

The problem with fillers (apart from you paying money for nothing) is that they don’t dissolve completely, leaving little particles trapped in the fibres of clothes, where they can irritate the skin.

So… how do you know if your laundry powder has fillers?  Try the beaker test.  Stir ½ a teaspoon of your current laundry powder into a clear glass of water.  Allow it to stand and observe if there’s any residue.  It should dissolve completely.  If not… your answer is crystal clear.


Bosisto's Vs. Big Name Brands

 Bosisto's Vs. Other 'Eco' brands (tests conducted Dec 2013)
 

What about other chemicals?
The skin is a permeable organ so topically applied chemicals can find their way into our bloodstream.
  
How much depends on various factors, from duration of exposure to the type of substance, but transdermal absorption itself is well documented (nicotine and birth control patches are two common examples)3.

So it stands to reason that anything we’re constantly wearing (clothes), wrapping ourselves in (towels) or lying on for seven hours a day (bed linen) could possibly be a health hazard if chemical residue is left on them… which you might be surprised to learn, is often.  

Some ingredients that could be present in laundry powders include foaming agents, enzymes, peroxide bleach, synthetic fragrances and artificial colours4.  And the scary fact is they may not even appear on your laundry detergent box, or be called harmless-sounding names, because there’s no regulation of this industry or its advertising.

Best bet?  Use simple, natural chemical-free products wherever possible, including in the laundry.

 

Did you Know? 
In independent tests conducted recently Bosisto's Laundry products caused no skin irritation in any of the human subjects, including the 57% who identified as having sensitive skin.
CR Laboratories, July 2013.

 

References:

1. Eczema Association of Australasia Inc. Membership survey (2003)
2. The descriptive epidemiology of atopic dermatitis in the community, Australasian Journal of Dermatology 1999.
3. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/skin/
4. http://www.washwise.org.au/_documents/Laundry%20detergent%20ingredients%20info%20sheet.pdf