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Soap and Perfume Allergy & Skin Rash



Skin rash : Skin conditions in childhood are common, with some like atopic dermatitis (eczema) being long term ailments, while short term skin disorders like hives and contact dermatitis, arising on a regular basis.

In most cases, short term skin irritation resolves spontaneously without the need for treatment. Soap and allergies to perfumed products is common among children and usually starts up immediately after the application has been used on the skin.

Products with strong scents, soaps, creams and body lotion should not be used on infants and with time, it should only be introduced if there is no clear sign of skin irritation when using it.

The chemical compounds used to scent these products often cause a mild contact dermatitis, which is itchy and may cause skin redness.

Children are unable to ignore any itchy skin rash, and persistent scratching aggravates the condition further, at times even complicating into conditions like lichen chronicus simplex due to the excessive scratching.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Redness or red patches on the skin after using the soap or perfume.
  • Itchy skin, even if there is no redness.
  • Swelling slightly at the affected area may be noticed.
  • Dryness of the skin may be evident in long term soap or perfume allergies.

The signs and symptoms usually resolve after a few hours but if they persist, treatment will be necessary.

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Causes & Contributing Factors

While strongly scented soaps, creams and perfume itself triggers the itchy skin rash, there may be other underlying conditions that are triggered by these irritants.

  • Atopic dermatitis (infantile eczema). The skin of children with eczema is easily irritated by any strongly scented products as the skin is sensitive and reacts to most products.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis. Further reddening and peeling of the skin may occur when perfumed products are applied to the skin in children with seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Contact dermatitis occurs due to the presence of external irritants like soaps and perfumed products. While contact dermatitis may affect otherwise healthy skin, allergic contact dermatitis occurs in children with previous allergies.
  • Hives (urticaria) is not caused by strongly scented soaps and creams, however perfumed products may aggravate the condition.

Treatment for Perfume Allergies

If a soap allergy suddenly appears, try running the child under a lukewarm to slightly cold shower (slow spray) until all the irritant can be removed of the skin. This is not necessary in mild cases.

The irritant should be stopped immediately and if the itchy skin rash does not resolve, your child should be seen by your family doctor.

A cream with urea may help reduce itching until the rash settles or in severe cases, a corticosteroid cream may be necessary. Anti-histamines may have to be administered if the condition persists unabated.

Preventing a Soap or Perfume Allergy

Children younger than 6 months should never be bathed with soap or any strongly scented products. Unscented aqueous cream should be used for bathing and strongly scented lotions should be avoided after bathing.

Instead, unscented petroleum jelly may help with dry, flaking skin. In older kids with perfume allergies, switch over to a hypoallergenic soap, even unscented baby soap or a glycerine soap.

Children should not use any perfume or deodorant and if they suffer with body odor problems, then hygiene should be improved significantly. Strongly scented products should be avoided at the time of childhood infections like chickenpox or measles as well as if there are any cuts or bruises.

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