Soap allergy is due to the inflammation or irritation of certain parts of the body. Oftentimes, an individual can develop an allergic reaction to soap which usually affects the skin. Always bear in mind that these reactions usually affect individuals who frequently washes their hands. Even though soap allergy rarely triggers any serious health problems, an allergic reaction to soap is also capable of triggering severe discomfort and can be prevented or managed in various ways.
What are the signs and symptoms?
In most cases, soap allergy is called contact dermatitis. The condition is characterized by a reddened rash that is painful and can be itchy or trigger blister formation. This reaction generally manifests within 24-48 hours after the skin was exposed to the soap and can last for 2-4 weeks.
What are the possible causes of soap allergy?
When it comes to soap allergy, it is due to the chemicals or fragrances present in the soap which generates an immune system reaction. Individuals who have soap allergy might end up with an immune system reaction to fragrances or other chemicals as if it is a threat.
This instigates an immune response that results to the release of chemicals which triggers inflammation and itchiness. The allergic reactions can also be triggered by sodium lauryl sulfate which is a component in soap that strips the skin of its natural oils.
A potential danger of soap allergy is that scratching an itchy region of the skin can actually trigger additional inflammation and irritation, thus increasing the intensity of the itchiness.
Repeatedly scratching the area can result to neurodermatitis which causes the affected parts to thicken and become leathery. The skin affected by neurodermatitis can become permanently darker, reddened or raw due to scratching.
Soap allergy is generally diagnosed based on the appearance of the inflamed skin and the doctor asks the individual regarding recent changes in the soaps or detergents used. A confirmation of a diagnosis is usually achieved with a patch test in which patches that contain the suspected chemicals are applied on the skin. These patches are removed 48 hours later to check for a reaction. An additional of 48 hours is added to check for any delayed reactions.
A commonly used measure in managing the reactions to soap allergy is to stop using any newly used soaps or detergents and revert to previously used brands that did not trigger any reaction.
Antihistamines can be taken orally to alleviate the symptoms. Ointments that contain cortisone can also minimize the inflammation and itchiness. In addition, cold compress, calamine lotion and oatmeal baths can also help in relieving the itchiness.