Skin sensitivity has many causes — dry air, allergies, and pollution are just a few — but you can alleviate the condition if you're careful about what comes into contact with your skin on a regular basis.
One of the biggest moves people with sensitive skin can make is to ensure the fabrics they come in close contact with don't add to the problem. This means laundering your clothes and your bed clothes with some tried-and-true techniques to reduce the odds of a breakout. After all, your sheets and blankets touch your skin for — hopefully! — eight hours a day. Since that's about one third of your life, you definitely want to launder your linens properly to be as comfortable as you can be. Here's how.
Change Your Detergent
The best detergent for washing your sheets is one that has the fewest number of possible irritants on its ingredient list. Look for a laundry soap that doesn't use any extra dyes or fragrances. These ingredients don't do much to actually clean your sheets, but they can trigger reactions if your skin doesn't like them. Try an organic or eco-friendly detergent to cut back on the bad stuff, or look for "free and clear" detergents that don't have extra dyes or perfumes. If you're not sure about a new product, see if you can buy a travel size or a very small portion to test it out before you commit.
You can also make your own detergent with very few ingredients to decrease the odds that you'll react badly to a commercial ingredient. For a homemade powdered detergent, try mixing together 8 cups of baking soda, 6 cups of Super Washing Soda and 2 bars of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap. You'll have to grate the bars yourself, but you can choose your favorite (all natural) scent — or go for unscented. It's all up to you when you make your own!
The better you rinse your sheets and blankets, the less likely you'll be to have any irritating residue left on them. When washing your bedding, set your washing machine to an extra-long rinse cycle if possible. If you have an older machine with only a few settings, just manually set it to rinse again before you remove your linens. This extra step could be just what you need to make sure every last trace of soap is gone from your bedding.
Pro Tip: Skip the fabric softener. This additive is designed to stay on your clothes to smooth the fibers, but that means those chemicals will be touching your skin all night long. If you go for a higher thread count for your sheets, they'll feel soft without the additives anyway.
Turn Up the Heat
If you have skin allergies that are triggered by dust mites, pollen or other microscopic particles, try washing your bedding in hot water. This will kill off dust mites and other irritating microbes. You should also dry your bedsheets in the dryer rather than hanging them outdoors to avoid having them coated with pollen and dust.
Pro Tip: Skip the dryer sheets, too. If your clothes crackle when they come out of the dryer, mist them with the tiniest bit of water to cut the static instead.
Don't let sensitive skin get in between you and a good night's sleep. With these laundry tips, you'll enjoy clean, itch-free bedding every night.