Who knew that dryer sheets can cause acne?

September 27, 2018

Using well-laundered, unsullied linens and towels can help you to avoid acne and eczema, right? This seems like a no-brainer, but it comes with a big caveat. You actually may be aggravating your skin condition, if you are throwing your linens into the dryer with products that infuse them with fabric softener. .

It’s true: Another seemingly harmless household product is out to ruin your skin, Prevention magazine reported on September 19.

In a Reddit post first spotted by MarieClaire.com that now has gone viral, one contributor who goes by the username of /regissss said, “PSA: Dryer sheets can cause acne”—sending everyone who ever has had zits into a frantic tailspin.

The Reddit contributor went on to say that, although she has been eliminating products from her routine for the last year in an effort to find the cause of her breakouts—including switching  laundry products to sensitive-skin–friendly detergents and dryer sheets—she still has been battling acne.

“Finally,” she wrote, “about a month ago, I cut out everything except All Free and Clear detergent and white vinegar as softener from my laundry routine.”. The result? Surprisingly clear skin.

“I went from having a new pimple or two a day to close to zero pimples per day almost overnight,” /Regissss claimed; “And within two weeks, my skin had almost completely cleared up.” It’s been a month, she says and her skin only has continued to improve.

“My skin’s recovery has been dramatic since then, and my dermatologist confirmed that dryer sheets can be a huge trigger for some people,” she continued in the post.

“Apparently, [dryer sheets] coat fabric (including your pillowcases) in a thin layer of wax and grease, which can leach into your pores at night while you sweat. This is why they’re so greasy when you put them in but so dry when you take them out.”

A dermatologist interviewed for WebMD also names dryer sheets as one of the 12 most common skin irritants. “You see rashes in places that are covered by clothing and relative sparing where the clothing is not,” says Amy Newburger, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Scarsdale, New York., author of the book Looking Good at Any Age and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). “That’s a big giveaway.”

So if you’ve been struggling with breakouts, rashes, and/or sensitivity and have tried virtually everything, try cutting out your dryer sheets for a month and see how your skin responds. You can use wool dryer balls to curb static, and as for the softness? Well, maybe the fact that your skin could be happier will make up for your slightly scratchier sheets.

Research contact: mediarelations@aad.org

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