Ever thrown a favorite sweater in the laundry only to find it itchy and uncomfortable post-wash? It’s not the lack of fabric softener; rather, traditional detergents typically use harsh surfactants in order to remove all the grime from our clothes. And while those heavy-duty formulas can lift grease stains galore, a lot of those ingredients (namely, sulfates, preservatives, and fragrance) can cause atopic dermatitis, especially for those with an already compromised skin barrier.
That’s why board-certified dermatologist Nava Greenfield, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, says, “It’s best to use laundry detergents that are made especially for sensitive skin and are fragrance-free.” Think about it: If you have sensitive skin, you probably avoid harsh, chemical-laden cleansers for your face and body, no?
Good news: There are tons of options out there specifically for those with supersensitive skin (or those simply looking for minimal, skin-supporting ingredients). Start with these nine: gentle, fragrance-free, and they don’t skimp on efficacy—so that favorite sweater remains clean and cozy.