Wrist fractures

Is soap capable of causing skin irritation?

Fact Checked

When skin irritation manifests, it refers to any form of discomfort in the skin such as burning or itching. The irritation typically develops as a reaction to an exterior trigger such as high temperatures or sensitivities to a particular detergent or soap.

Individuals who have highly sensitive skin can end up with skin irritation due to some ingredients in soaps that leads to allergic reactions or dryness. It is vital to fully understand the link between soap with irritated skin to determine the exact cause and start the ideal treatment.

What are the types?

Always bear in mind that soap are available in various forms including bar soap, bath gel, hand soap, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. As for laundry detergent, it is another form of soap capable of instigating skin issues such as rashes and itchiness.

Most forms of soap contain a combination of ingredients such as oil and lye as well as various coloring agents and perfumes. All of these might trigger skin irritation in some highly sensitive individuals.

Causes of skin irritation

There are various reasons why skin irritation occurs and soap is only one of the potential causes. Exposure to dry winds, excessive cold or heat, certain medications and skin allergies can aggravate sensitive skin and trigger irritation.

Skin irritation
Exposure to dry winds, excessive cold or heat, certain medications and skin allergies can aggravate sensitive skin and trigger irritation.

Take note that soap can cause skin irritation mainly by drying out the skin. The individual components can also initiate irritation by causing rashes and itchiness among those who have skin allergies or highly sensitive skin. Since alcohol is considered drying, the hand sanitizers that contain alcohol are often associated as the chief cause of skin irritation but this is not always the case. Washing hands using soap is likely to cause irritation than using the alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

What are the symptoms?

Skin irritation often occurs along with other symptoms in which some can help pinpoint the underlying cause. If there is redness and rash, it might indicate an allergy or hypersensitivity reaction to ingredients in soap or other products.

The burning or itchy sensation often manifests together and can be worsened by scratching. The soap-induced irritation might originate from excessive dryness of the skin or sensitivity to specific ingredients such as colorants or perfumes in which both can result to discomfort and itchiness.


The ideal treatment for skin irritation due to soap is to stop using the product. In case hand washing is the culprit, apply a moisturizing lotion after washing to reduce the dryness when rash is not present.

It is also recommended to wash hands using lukewarm water and pat dry after to avoid skin irritation among those who frequently wash their hands. Mild cleansers that contain moisturizing components such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil can help prevent irritation due to excessive dryness. Avoidance of products that contain astringents such as alcohol and witch hazel can be beneficial if dryness or peeling is present. In some cases, it might be needed to look for a different laundry detergent if the irritation becomes persistent.

Considerations to bear in mind

Since skin irritation can originate from various causes, the “trial and error” method is often needed to determine the underlying cause. For persistent or severe skin irritation, it might indicate a serious health issue. If the individual experiences skin irritation along with swelling, hives or bruising, seek medical care.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All firstaidcprvictoria.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.