In their quest for understanding the underlying triggers of eczema, many doctors focus on detergents much more than other causatives potentially allergic to patients' skin.
Three British hospitals analyzed the findings of 10 years of comprehensive research on the connection between detergents and skin problems. They came up with concrete evidence that biological washing powders do not increase skin problems.
A parallel study conducted in the U.S. to understand the triggers of nappy rash for hundreds of babies confirmed that such powders did not promote nappy rash.
Additional tests to verify the effects of biological powders on the skin of 6000 adults, declared these detergents safe for the skin.
Dr Sarah Wakelin, part of the research team and a dermatologist at St Mary's Hospital in London said: "What we have found is that ultimately, the balance of all the enzymes in laundry detergents are not a cause of either skin irritation or skin allergy. Investigations of numerous individuals with skin complaints attributed to laundry products demonstrated convincingly that enzymes were not responsible. Indeed, enzyme-containing laundry products have an extensive history of safe use. Thus, the supposed adverse effects of enzymes on the skin seem to be a consequence of mythology."
Seconding the findings of the study, Dr Colin Holden, president of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: "This study highlights that flare-ups of eczema should not just be written off as caused by washing powder. This serves as a reminder to medical professionals that an expert dermatologist should explore all other potential causes, as bio-detergents may well not be the culprit."
This study is published in the British Journal of Dermatology.