One of the first things that patients do when they develop an itchy rash is to change their laundry detergents to hypoallergenic or fragrance free. For some reason, it is widely believed that laundry detergent is a common cause of skin allergy. It’s not true.
An excellent study done several years ago published the the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that although 10-15% of people with dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) blame laundry detergent, less than 1% of patients who were tested actually had an allergy to detergent.
Most people who have an itchy rash don’t really have an allergy at all; there are many causes of itching, including dry skin, medications, bug infestations, etc. Therefore, the percentage of people with an itchy rash who are actually allergic to their laundry detergent is probably much less than 1%.
Of course, there are some people who do have an allergy to some component in their detergent such as the fragrance or bleaching agent, but this is rare.
So, before you chuck all your laundry detergents and change to a fragrance free or an “all natural” product to stop your itching, remember that this is unlikely the cause of your rash.
Instead, invest in a good moisturizer and apply copiously and often. If the problem persists, see your physician.