Doing the dishes is a dirty job—especially if you suffer from sensitive skin. These hard-working dish soaps will tackle grease and grime without leaving hands cracked, chapped, or itchy.
You’ve finally mastered weeknight dinners. But you know what that means—more dishes to do. No matter which way you cut it, washing those pots and pans is a bummer. And, to add insult to injury, doing the dishes can wreak havoc on your hands, especially if you have sensitive skin or a condition like eczema or psoriasis.
Many standard dish soaps irritate skin, because they contain phosphates, fragrances, and dyes, says Ava Shamban, MD, a dermatologst based in Beverly Hills and founder of SKINxFIVE. "[Phosphate] destroys the lipid layer of the skin; [fragrances and dyes] activate the T cell arm of the immune system, which can mistakenly attack normal cells."
In addition to contact dermatitis—rashes, hives—harsh dish soap, particularly those containing fragrances, can cause headaches, sneezing, nausea, itching, or burning eyes, adds NYC-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. "Even dish soaps that claim to be natural can be irritating for some people with skin sensitivities," she explains.
When choosing products, look for words like dye-free, no phosphates, no phthalates, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. And, no matter what product you use, it’s important to take precautions to protect your skin. Both Dr. Shamban and Dr. Jaliman recommend wearing cotton-lined gloves. Cooler water can help, too. Although hot water may rinse the dishes better, it’s more irritating to skin, says Dr. Jaliman. Finally, Dr. Shadman suggests applying a heavy-duty moisturizer after cleansing to help keep skin healthy. Here, the seven best dish soaps for sensitive skin.