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Cleaning Tips: Preventing Irritation continued...

2. Go alternative. "Green" cleaners won't necessarily prevent dermatitis, but they are generally gentler on the skin, not to mention on the environment. Look for cleaning products labeled "fragrance- and dye-free" or "all natural," or try an old fashioned cleaner like baking soda.

3. Store smartly. So that you don't accidentally come in contact with a chemical that irritates your skin, leave all cleaning products in their original, labeled containers. Keep the lids tightly sealed to prevent the product from spilling on you.

4. Don't mix. Don't turn into a mad scientist. Mixing cleaning products is a dangerous experiment. Combining cleaning products is never a good idea. Cleaning products can produce dangerous fumes when combined with certain substances.

5. Gear up. Protect your sensitive hands and arms by wearing waterproof gloves and long sleeves when you clean. If you're really sensitive, be careful about which type of gloves you buy. Latex gloves themselves can cause a skin reaction. Plastic and vinyl are better options for anyone with a latex sensitivity.

6. Clean up. Washing after you've just used a cleaning product sounds like a waste of time, but it can help protect your skin. Wash your hands or any other skin that's been exposed to the laundry detergent or cleaner with warm water and a gentle soap.

Cleaning Tips: Treating Irritated Skin

Avoiding the offending substance is the best way to prevent skin irritation. But if you do come in contact with an unfriendly cleaner and get a rash as a result, call your dermatologist. A prescription ointment or cream can help relieve the itching and redness. If the cream hasn't worked after about a week, your doctor might put you on a steroid medication.

No matter how much the rash itches, don't scratch. Scratching will give you a few seconds of relief, but it can make your skin even itchier and it could cause an infection. Instead of scratching, apply a gentle moisturizing cream daily to soothe the itch and protect your skin.

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