Irritant Contact Dermatitis OR Don’t Use A Body Wash If You Have Sensitive Skin

You know the signs…your hands become dry, irritated and the skin reddens and starts to peel away. Small blisters appear and the itching drives you crazy.  Then as the condition gets worse our skin dries and cracks becoming even more painful in the process.
What you are more than likely experiencing is a classic case of Irritant Contact Dermatitis of the hands.

What is Irritant Contact Dermatitis?

Dermatitis of the palm – this can become extremely itchy and painful

Irritant Contact Dermatitis is casued by your skin – most often your fingers and hands- coming into contact with an irritant.

These irritants range from nickel allergies, contact with plants (Grevilleas are notorious) and chemical allergies.
Of these, contact with various irritant chemicals are an extremely common cause.
And the  chemical called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – often refered to as SLS – is responsible for the vast majority of Irritant Contact Dermatitis we see at Moon Haven.

What can you do?

If you are sensitive to SLS then the first thing to do is to avoid any contact with it.

This can be difficult because SLS is found in everything from dish washing detergents, liquid body washes, washing powder, household cleansers, shampoo and even toothpaste.

So this means finding products without SLS in them or avoiding contact with the chemical.

What We Recommend:

We have had great success helping people to manage their contact dermatitis over the years.  From hairdressers about to give up their job to clients who have been unable to do any work because of the pain and  condition of their hands, we have seen some incredible healings.

What to do:

1.       Avoid using shampoos, detergents and cleansers that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

2.       Wear gloves when washing up

3.       Better still get your partner or the kids to wash up for you.

4.       Avoid using liquid body washes  as these draw the body’s natural oils from the skin.

5.       Use only small amounts of natural handmade cold process soap when bathing and washing your hands.  Water only is even better.

As we say ”Unless you are very dirty –  wash your underarms and undercarriage with a little handmade soap and just use water for the rest .”


Universal Herbal Ointment is a fantastic  help with Contact Dermatitis of the hands

We highly recommend applying a ­very small amount of our Universal Herbal Ointment to the affected areas morning and night.

This helps by firstly moisturising the affected area, helping the skin to remain supple.  It also forms a slight barrier against the elements.

The essential oils and herbs in the ointment help with the pain and inflammation as well as promoting skin granulation and healing.

Most people who have used the ointment find that they start getting relief within 12 hours.


This article was written by Moon Haven’s aromatherapist and founder Leonie Gully.  While any advice provided is general in nature, it is not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment.  If you are at all concerned about your condition it is important that you do consult your medical practitioner of choice for an individual treatment plan.

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