Some of us like cleaning while others don’t. Some really like the satisfaction of seeing the results after their hard work while some of us just wish we could be more like Mary Poppins, snap our fingers and Bam - the work is done! Yeah, unfortunately those of us that prefer the second option would spend a lifetime snapping our fingers and still have nothing to show for it (maybe sore fingers?). We all end up having to clean and most of the time, if we have dirt and grime to get through; we end up having to use lots of unfriendly cleaning products to do it. What do we get as a result? Yes, we get a cleaner home but oftentimes we still end up with sore fingers and damaged skin thanks to sensitivity to cleaning products. Want to know what you can do about it? Perfect!
Our skin is a living organ - the biggest one in our body - and just like any other organ, there are things it likes and things it doesn't. Just to paint a picture of how careless we can be with our skin, think about this. We would never put bleach anywhere near our eyes because we know that eyes and bleach aren’t friends but for some reason many of us think it’s ok to clean with bleach containing products and not protect our skin from it in any way. The harsh chemicals will irritate our skin (no surprise there!) and then we end up with dry, itchy and irritated skin and we get annoyed about it. What’s more annoying is the fact that we didn’t take care of our skin in the first place.
Sensitivity to cleaning products is not a rare thing if you look at the ingredients that a lot of cleaning products contain. You can irritate your skin with harsh ingredients you might be familiar with like bleach (toilet cleaners), ammonia (polishing products for the bathroom), chlorine (scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners and tap water!) and sodium hydroxide (oven cleaners and drain openers) or ones you might not know like phthalates (air fresheners and dish soap), triclosan (liquid dishwashing detergents) and 2-Butoxyethanol (glass and multipurpose cleaners).1
But did you know that your skin can be sensitive to seemingly harmless ingredients such as different preservatives and even fragrances that are added to make the products smell nice?2 This makes it difficult because if you read the label of most products, they all contain some form of ‘fragrance’ to make it smell like pine trees or magnolia flowers (or whatever you want!) and in this little detail lurk the unsuspecting culprits of irritated skin.
Luckily, protecting your skin from ingredients it might be sensitive to is quite easy. You have a few choices so pick one (or all of them) that suits you best!
Change your cleaning products to something less harsh and more friendly like using vinegar and baking powder. (Yes, it won’t have the fancy smell of coconuts swinging in the tropical breeze but you will have skin that is grateful!)
Wear protective gloves when cleaning with any products that could irritate your skin. (Not a fashion icon’s dream but no one has to see them!)
Use a shielding lotion like Gloves In A Bottle before you clean with any products to help protect your skin from having any of the nasty ingredients actually get into the deeper layers of your skin.
If you want my advice, I would choose a shielding lotion even if you change your cleaning products or wear protective gloves. The gloves can also irritate your skin (sigh, you just can’t win!) and even the vinegar might also irritate your skin. A shielding lotion actually creates an invisible layer of defense on the top of your skin, preventing irritants from getting into your skin and causing damage. Wearing it under gloves or before you clean (regardless of what products you use) will give your skin that magical wand to fight off unwanted irritation and help heal any dry, irritated skin you might already have.
However you decide to fight off your sensitivity to cleaning products, make sure you put your skin first. If you’re still standing there trying to snap your fingers to get things done, just put on some shielding lotion, grab your gloves and get that vinegar!