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Eczema problems and enzyme washing powder

Enzyme-based laundry detergents are marketed to us as superior performance stain removers. Enzymes are harvested from micro-organisms such as bacteria and added to many detergents under a range of trade names or disguises.

The purpose of enzymes is to break down protein, starches and fat in dirt and stains; unfortunately many believe that they also break down the protective oil layer of the skin, causing everything from mild irritation in ‘normal’ skin through to eczema flare-ups in more susceptible skins where the resulting moisture loss can be itchy and painful.

Research (often funded by manufacturers) denies any negative effects associated with enzymes but I know through my own experience with my four year old eczema-prone daughter that there is a very clear link. At home, I only use nature-based biodegradable detergents, but on a recent holiday at Nana’s where clothes were washed just twice in an enzyme-based detergent, her eczema flared right before our eyes.

Natural choices are wise choices, every day.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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