These Everyday Things in Your Home Can Harm Your Skin

Dry, irritated skin. Blemishes. Rashes. Aging. Believe it or not, everyday things in your home can be contributing to your skin problems! Some of these items may trigger an allergic reaction, while some tend to bother many people, whether or not they’re actually allergic. Others are just bad for your skin in general. Let’s take a look at some of the top culprits and what you can do about them.

Soaps, Skin and Hair Care Products

Using the wrong cleansing products can dry out your skin and cause breakouts, inflammation, redness, and/or excess oil production. Skin care products tailored to your skin type (oily, dry, normal, etc.) can help with this problem. If you find your skin reacting to a soap, cleanser or other product, it could be related to an ingredient. Common irritants include propylene glycol (found in shampoos and conditioners) and sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate (found in many beauty products). Steering clear of dyes and fragrances can also help minimize skin issues.

Laundry Detergents and Dryer Sheets

The chemicals in certain laundry detergents and dryer sheets can trigger a red, itchy rash, sometimes widespread and sometimes confined to the groin or armpits. You can develop this rash even if it isn’t the first time you’re exposed to the detergent. All-natural laundry detergents without harsh chemicals may help, but keep in mind that reactions can occur to natural ingredients, too, such as lavender or essential oils. Consider skipping the dryer sheets altogether or switching to reusable laundry dryer balls.

Household Cleaners

These products are often full of abrasives and harsh chemicals that aren’t meant for contact with your skin. Some can even cause chemical burns. Protect your hands by wearing rubber gloves when doing household cleaning. Some of the worst offenders for your skin include the ammonia and isopropanol found in glass cleaners and hypochlorous acid, phenol, and sodium bisulfate found in toilet cleaners. Drain cleaners should never touch your skin as they can contain highly caustic lye, hydrochloric acid, or potassium hydroxide.

Swimming Pool/Hot Tub

Skin irritation can occur with exposure to high levels of the chemicals used to treat pool and spa water, such as chlorine and bromine. However, even in properly-treated water, rashes can occur due to the hardy Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. Sometimes called “hot tub rash,” this rash resembles chicken pox and tends to occur in the areas where your swimsuit was pressed against your skin. The rash usually goes away on its own after a few days.

Dirty Makeup Brushes

If you don’t clean your makeup brushes regularly, you could be assaulting your skin every time you apply. Makeup brushes can collect dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution, fungus, and bacteria. This can lead to acne outbreaks and even a bacterial infection. Not only that, but unclean makeup brushes expose the skin to oxidative stress, causing you to age prematurely. The bottom line: clean those brushes!

Makeup Wipes

They may be quick and convenient, but they are full of preservatives (to keep them from getting moldy). This can cause drying of skin and irritation.

Pillowcases and Towels

Pillowcases pick up sweat and dead skin cells every night as you sleep (not to mention any makeup you didn’t remove and nighttime skin care products). This can cause outbreaks and oxidative stress, which can be avoided by changing your pillowcase twice a week. Change your face towel daily and your bath towel every three days for the same reason.

Synthetic Fabrics

If you are getting acne outbreaks on your back, chest, and/or shoulders, your clothing could be contributing. Synthetic fibers that don’t breathe can trap sweat and dirt, clogging pores. Stick with natural fibers, like cotton. Keep in mind, some natural fibers, especially wool, can cause itching and rashes. If you are sensitive to a particular fabric, avoid it.


This is a common metal found in costume jewelry, zippers, watchbands, and even the underwire in some bras. If you discover redness, itching, dry patches of skin, blisters, or what looks like a burn after continued exposure to metal, you probably have a nickel allergy.


Whether it’s old or brand new, the carpet in your home could be taking a toll on your skin. Old carpet can harbor pet dander, dust mites, microscopic insect parts, dust, mold and pollen, no matter how often it’s vacuumed. High-pile carpets (those with long fibers, like shag) are the worst, but low-pile carpets can trap enough allergens to cause hives or a rash, too. If the carpet is brand new, it’s the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can irritate your skin.

If your skin is reacting to something in your environment, and you’re not sure what, or if your symptoms are concerning, come see us. We can help.