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Eczema and Detergents

I’ve had diagnosed Eczema since I was less than a year old. It’s had phases through my life but has been on my wrists and the backs of my knees for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried all the creams and ointments over the years. The strongest ones “work” well enough to clear up my skin, but you can’t use them long term (they cause “skin thinning” and “steroid bounce” and I absolutely won’t take a drug for long enough that it won’t work the next time I need it) and unfortunately, the milder “step-down” creams have never worked. It’s nuke or nothin’.

In the last six years the condition has gotten worse. More places, more complications.


I recently discovered SolveEczema and Sammy’s Skin and though my Ecz was never as bad as these poor babies, it definitely strikes a chord.

I’m an adult now (it’s true) and so I don’t have permeable baby skin, but still I get irritated by contact with almost anything. Clothes, desks, sweat, definitely harsh chemicals. I’ve known to avoid SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) for a few years now but I didn’t realise the enormity of the detergent problem…

To summarise the websites above:

Our Old Cleaning Situation

Honestly, we’re millenials, and we don’t clean as much as my Mum does. This is probably one reason my eczema has become worse. But here’s what we clean with:

We have vacuum cleaners but they’re not that well sealed and we don’t vacuum as much as we should.

The New Plan

  1. We bought a cordless Dyson! Call it a New Year present. We’re going to clean every room and vacuum more regularly (more convenient when you don’t have to plug in, and it’s half the weight) - this will be a double win because I’m allergic to dust mites.
  2. I ordered a load of natural soaps to cover off the above cleaning tasks (list in next section)
  3. We will put all of our detergent-containing solutions in a box somewhere and start using detergent free
  4. We’ll wash all the linens, starting with bedclothes, (hoovering the bed inbetween)
  5. We’ll clean the “big wins” - places I spend more time. Desk. Sofa.
  6. When we’re sure that we’ve cleared the easiest 80% of detergents and their residues from the house, I’ll start a strong course of steroid ointment to get my skin under control
  7. Hopefully we can maintain environmental factors and the Eczema will “stay down”??

The Shopping List

Consider these un-reviewed. I hope to come back and review them…

It’s worth mentioning that we are going to have a baby and will be doing the reusable nappies thing. Fortunately, you absolutely can use natural soap on cloth nappies, if you make a few extra considerations to account for disinfecting your machine and removing soap scum.


It messes with my mind that we poison ourselves so enthusiastically with harsh artifical chemicals, to the extent that they now coat the surfaces around us and fill the air we breathe. I’m excited to get back to traditional soaps and hoping that we’ll see an improvement in my skin.

I intend to come back with a Part 2 and some product reviews. See you then!