I’m no scientist, but to simplify a complicated issue, here’s how I understand it. Detergents are basically surfactants, they clean by making dirt and grease more water soluble hence washing away grime effectively.
Detergents are different to real soap. Soap as I understand it is generally saponified oil, these oils can be found in nature. Pure soap can be found in the form of a soap bar, or in liquid form known as Castille Soap.
Detergents are made of synthetic substances, and though they can be made with natural ingredients like coconut oil, the process it goes through to become detergent still makes it a synthetic substance that our Mr. T is sensitive to. The upside of detergents, and why they are so popular is that they don’t have the soap scum effect that soap has, and they have faster more aggressive cleaning power.
I hadn’t realised just how bad for your skin detergents were, and that they are in just about everything. You just think ‘laundry detergent’ when you first think detergent, but no. It’s in everything from the fibres in our clothes to our makeup and our food.
Here is a list of where we found detergents in our environment:
- Laundry detergent
- Fabric Softener
- Shampoo & Conditioner & shower gels
- Moisturisers & creams
- Washing up liquid, Dishwasher detergent
- Dust & lint (dust which fell from people’s shampooed hair & detergent clothes)
- Fabrics, even before washing. Chemicals that are used to grow cotton for example.
- Make up & Deodorant & Perfume
- On fruit & veg, and on the shoppin bags they came in.
- In public places, shops, etc. Anywhere that is cleaned with detergents & where people hang out that wear detergent clothes.
- In our car, the seats, the kids car seats, & on the floor mats.
I realised that what Mr. T’s skin was reacting to was all these different types of detergent. His nappy area was the only area that was clear of breakouts, and of course it was the only area that wasn’t in contact with detergents. I realised that eczema wasn’t just random, it had triggers. Not all eczema is detergent related, but it is a major contributing factor. Either way, a detergent free lifestyle would benefit someone suffering from it, as well as benefit their whole family.
The stories of the babies in the two sites I had found were so similar to the symptoms that our Mr. T was having that we decided to go full steam ahead and eliminate detergent and chemicals out of our lives as best we could. At least that way a clean page could be started, and maybe we could pinpoint his eczema triggers more accurately.