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Customer Review

296 of 375 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doctor prescribed tips for eczema - not the new Dove!, February 28, 2012
This review is from: Dove Beauty Bar, Sensitive Skin 4 oz, 16 Bar (Health and Beauty)
Our baby daughter started suffering from either dermatitis or eczema a year ago - just a red bumpy rash - and unscented Dove was recommended by the pediatrician, pediatric dermatologist, and allergist. Unfortunately, they didn't know the manufacturer had changed the product formula. We really wish they had - it would have saved her a year of terrible itching its new formula caused.

A change in formula to Alimentum resulted in dramatic improvement after a milk allergy was diagnosed. However, small raised red patches and intense itching that caused frantic scratching to the point of bleeding soon became major issues; we visited a second dermatologist - atypical eczema was diagnosed.

Treatment until just a few days ago had been warm daily baths and unscented Dove, along with hydrocortisone 1% on spots and Cetaphil cream all over. Children's Zyrtec did not seem to alleviate the itching, although it did help her sleep. A prescription for Calcitrene did not help either. Only a physical barrier - footed PJs with both zippers and snaps, kept her from picking at her skin constantly.

Quite by accident I used unscented Dove two weeks ago. I suddenly found myself having intense itching as well. Could it be that my daughter was allergic to Dove? It did make sense as Dove was used directly on her exposed areas, arms and torso, and she had her most intense and frantic itching episodes after her bath. We discontinued Dove immediately and her intense itching subsided overnight.

What I didn't understand was why I was suddenly was allergic to the new bars. After doing some research it turns out that Dove has discontinued the old Dove unscented bar along with the Dove for sensitive skin (the one with sweet almond oil - itself an allergen) and combined them into one bar, Dove Unscented for Sensitive Skin. In so doing, it's changed its main surfuctant and other ingredients - in other words, the Dove doctors have been recommending for years is no longer the same product.

An online search revealed complaints about itchiness and the new Dove. One website site in particular on the treatment of eczema has an enormous amount of information on detergents, soap and their effects on eczema - especially the change in Dove soap. It no longer recommends it for eczema. Please see the comments section for more information.

Interestingly, itchiness and redness with the new formulation was brought up by a customer in Dove's own website and no solution is given other than Customer Service's phone number.

I've also found some mentions of another Dove ingredient, "Sodium tallowate" - tallow, sometimes derived from cattle - as sometimes causing a reaction in people with milk allergies, causing flare ups in acne and eczema. Whether this too caused an allergic reaction in our daughter, I don't know.

We thought our case was isolated. However, it's possible that the skin problems related to the new Dove may be more widespread. I hope this information helps as this change was done quietly by the manufacturer.

We also found sweet almond oil in the Cetaphil cream she was prescribed - an allergen for anyone with a tree nut allergy. We stopped using it later and the remaining red raised patches she had also diappeared. Other changes that were recommended including a change to Tide Free - it didn't help my daughter but it healed my red, cracked hands, the result of doing laundry 2-3x a day with All Free.

Granted, individual reactions to products vary but the new ingredients in Dove may be causing allergies rather than helping them. None of the three doctors consulted knew of the formula change in Dove nor realized that the "Dove + cetaphil" combo they were recommending were causing the very symptoms (itching and rash) they were trying to treat. It's possible parents may just assume it's ongoing eczema, just like they did. It may not be.

** Update 4/13 **

As noted in my review above the allergen that caused my daughter's eczema was detergent - in this case, the surfuctants in Dove. We then found out that exposure to other sulfates, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (the main ingredient in Johnson's Baby Bath Head to Toe Baby Wash) are huge triggers for eczema in general - not just my child (why don't doctors know this?!). They may also contribute to scalp eczema - important to know as most shampoos contain SLS.

The solution is simple - avoid anything with detergents and/ or sulfates and switch mostly to soap-based products. These are way milder than what we've been led to believe by advertising. Please see comments section for alternatives to Dove and baby washes with SLS.

** Update 10/14 **

New types of treatment are available for eczema nowadays that have nothing to do with the traditional Dove & Cetaphil Combo, and are one step up from regular hydrocortizone 1% + moisturizer.

My daughter, who still had mild dermatitis / eczema was recently prescribed "Locoid" (4 oz, hydrocortisone butyrate 0.1% by prescription only) which is applied twice a day; for bathtime a gentle no-sulfate soap is used (such as Luxo Creme soap) with warm water. For her hair and scalp, Ciclopirox shampoo 1%, every other day along with Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo, Scalp Build-up Control, 4.5 fl oz in the days in between, left on for 5 minutes before rinsing well. Her skin cleared up COMPLETELY in a matter of days. Please note Locoid works by blocking the production of inflammatory chemicals prevents the swelling and redness, and preventing the itching and rash formation that can happen as a result of inflammation of skin conditions such as eczema. It should only be used under the care of a doctor and is not recommended for long-term use, especially in children.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 28, 2012 10:21:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2014 7:45:11 AM PDT
Justbooking says:
The website below was created by a mom who solved her son's severe eczema and has an enormous amount of information on detergents, soap and eczema - and especially the change in Dove soap:

"As of January 2007, the makers of unscented Dove have discontinued the product and changed the surfactant formula in unscented Dove Sensitive Skin. Until further notice, I cannot recommend unscented Dove Sensitive Skin at all. (http://www.solveeczema.com/thesolution.html)"

"Dove appears to have switched its entire line over to the new primary surfactant.. The old unscented Dove product had lots and lots of empirical support, not just from those who successfully used my site, but from dermatologists' experiences over many years. I have no idea why Dove's maker would want to monkey with this successful product line... I have received several reports of problems [with the new Dove], though I cannot draw conclusions until I know much, much more."

http://solveeczema.org/eczemablog/?p=22
http://solveeczema.wordpress.com/?s=Dove
http://solveeczema.org/eczemablog/?p=22

Master list of bar soap recommendations for the treatment of eczema
http://solveeczema.org/eczemablog/?p=35

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 10:22:37 PM PST
Justbooking says:
Itchiness and redness with the new formulation was brought up by a costumer in Dove's own website and no solution is given other than Customer Service's phone number.

Q/ Dove used to make a plain UNSCENTED bar. Then they combined unscented and sensitive. I can no longer use your products, they make me itchy and red all over. PLEASE bring back the plain UNSCENTED bar formula. I loved that bar and used it for many years."

A/ "We are sorry to hear you had this experience with our product. Please e-mail consumer.services@unilever.com or call Dove® Consumer Services at 1-800-761-3683 so we can further assist you. Thank you!"

http://www.dove.us/Products/Bar-Body-Wash/Beauty-Bar/Dove-Sensitive-Skin-Unscented-Beauty-Bar.aspx

Posted on Aug 11, 2012 5:04:26 PM PDT
Thank you for this information. I was about to repurchase when I read your review and decided against it. I was wondering what you use now instead - have you found a good alternative?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:46:58 AM PDT
Peter says:
We are using this on my daughter with great success: Mustela 2-In-1 Hair & Body Shampoo 6.76 ounces. For myself, I've found Johnson & Johnson baby wash to be very mild and non-drying.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 8:01:02 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Dec 24, 2013 2:10:22 PM PST]

Posted on Sep 8, 2012 1:13:40 PM PDT
latindian says:
Your story is so sad. I have a child that has eczema as well. We have relied on Dove unscented for 14 years! Twice now I have found that the bars bought do infact have a slight fragrance, perhaps a mix up or employees not cleaning from one batch to another. Who knows I can only speculate. I can tell you that when I contacted Dove the first time I was basically told that it was not possible. Now I am fed up and looking for another alternative.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2012 10:41:02 AM PDT
P. Moore says:
I hope all you people try Vanicream bar soap for yourself and your kiddos. You will never regret it.
Paat Moore

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2012 10:09:51 PM PDT
E. Barrett says:
JNJ to Remove Harmful Chems from Baby Care by 2013 and Adult Care by 2015

What Should Consumers Use Until Harmful Chems Are Removed?

Less than a year after a Chinese commentary in a state-run new agency, Xinhua, published that Johnson

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012 4:14:48 PM PST
Mary S. says:
Try this: Olivella Face and Body Soap, Fragrance Free, All-natural 100% Virgin Olive Oil From Italy, 3.52-oz Bars (Pack of 12) I am terribly allergic to fragrances and best I can tell, all this is made from is Olive Oil. I have been using it for several months - I've had no skin breakouts and no asthma! They do sell a version with fragrances and you should avoid that one if you have skin/fragrance problems. The smell of this (fragrance free) is like you're cooking Italian food (the olive oil), but it leaves no lingering smell in the bathroom or on your skin within 1 minute of use.

Posted on Apr 7, 2013 11:21:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2013 2:49:08 PM PDT
Justbooking says:
UPDATE 4/8/13:

As noted in my review above the allergen that caused my daughter's eczema was detergent - in this case, the surfuctants in Dove. We then found out that exposure to other sulfates, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (the main ingredient in Johnson's Baby Bath Head to Toe Baby Wash, 28 Ounce (Pack of 2)) are huge triggers for eczema in general - not just my child (why don't doctors know this?!).

The solution is simple - avoid anything with detergents and/ or sulfates and switch mostly to soap-based products. These are way milder than what we've been led to believe by advertising ("Dove is not soap, it's one quarter moiturizing cream" probably sounds better than "Dove is not soap, it's detergent..")

We've had amazing success with the following products:

* Logona Logona FREE Glycerin Soap 3.5 fl oz - 3.5 fl oz(in blue box, imported from Germany and found at Whole Foods), which is fragrance free, allergy tested and has no synthetic colors or preservatives

* CERAVE HYDRATING CLEANSER Size: 12 OZ($15, Target, amazon), sometimes as a facial cleanser.

I was surprised to see what a change going to other sulfate-free products made, even with things I never thought were caused by it. For example:

* I never realized my rosy complexion was a whole different shade than the rest of me because of the SLS in my facial cleanser. After switching to Cerave cleanser, my skin is completely cleared up and the color of my face matches the skin on my neck - foundation now goes on seamlessly and is undetectable, with no "mask effect" in pictures or in bright daylight.

Other discolored patches of dry skin (such as knees, elbows) are now the same color as the rest of my skin and no longer dry. I suspect that SLS and other sulfates not only strip skin of oils and thus dry it, but can be absorbed to some degree by drier areas causing irritation. I thought it was age related..

* Sulfate free shampoos - such as Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo, Scalp Build-up Control, 4.5 fl oztreat cradle cap and scalp eczema. I use it on my daughter on small flare ups leaving it on for five minutes, rinsing and repeating, twice a week. (Amazingly, Aveeno baby products were the cause of her scalp eczema. My son developed it too, after using J&J baby shampoo).

* Whole Food's 365 brand Fragrance Free (blue label) shampoo, conditioner, body wash and foaming hand soap are sulfate free, no parabens, no fragrance and are all biodegradable.

* Once I stopped using shampoos with Sulfates, my dry, brittle hair completely changed. It's soft and no longer falling out as much (SLS damages the hair follicles and can cause hair loss).

* "Better Life Dish It Out" dishwashing liquid - frequent washing of baby bottles with Dove, and later Method (which has SLS as the second ingredient) wrecked my hands causing severe hand eczema - dryness, bleeding. My hands are now completely healed after five years of suffering with red hands - I thought that just came with doing housework, even with gloves on (my regular hand soap - Method - has SLS as the second ingredient and turned out to be the cause of my dry, red hands. It is not "as gentle as water" as they claim). Found at Whole Foods or http://www.cleanhappens.com/products/dish-it-out

* For really tough pots and dishes I use Palmolive Ultra Pure and Clear Dish Liquid, 25 Ounce (Pack of 2) dishwashing soap. It's milder than other dish soaps but still extremely effective.

* Eco-Me Laundry Soap, Emma, 32-Fluid Ounce Bottle (up to 64 loads) - for ultra sensitive skin, it's milder than Tide Free and doesn't leave any type of residue. Works in HE machines and does not have any type of foam ( a bit unsettling until you find out that the SLS is used to create foam / lather). It won't take out tough stains (like oil, chocolate, blood) but if you pretreat them it helps. It has: PET#1 Container, 100% Natural & Chemical-Free; Sweet Tea scented; No Dyes; No Parabens; No Preservatives; No SLS, SLES, ALS; No Synthetic Fragrances; No Surfactants; Eco-Me does not test on animals or use animal bi-products. $11 in supermarkets or $9.99 on the Eco-Me website: http://www.eco-me.com/products/laundry-soap .

* The effect of switching to non-sulfate detergent was immediate and unexpected. My morning rinitis (runny nose, coughing) and asthma, which I thought were cold related, were not. As soon as I washed sheets and duvets in Emma soap, they dissapeared. Again I looked it up and yes - SLS is a cause of asthma, respiratory and digestive issues (if there's detergent residue left on your plates for example). Who knew?!

http://www.ehow.com/list_7236284_sodium-lauryl-sulfate-effects.html

This said, I've found Tide Free works best without irritating our skin - it cleans better too.

Now, there's a lot of research behind all of this.. not just coincidence. Your child might have different types of eczema but one, contact dermatitis, is caused by repeated exposure to an irritant (resulting from direct reaction to a detergent, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, for example).

Research shows why SLS and other sulfates are so bad for eczema - surprisingly, these are often found in lotions to treat it.

In one study, people WITHOUT eczema applied a cream containing 1% SLS. Results showed that "overall the areas that had been 'treated' were 12% thinner than the untreated areas. There was also an average 20% increase in water loss through the thinner 'treated' areas. This research also pinpoints one ingredient in aqueous cream as doing the damage - sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh surfactant that truly has no place in a cream meant to treat eczema.. (SLS) and this is the ingredient, we believe, that causes damage to the skin barrier. [Products with SLS are] likely to cause even more severe damage in the skin barrier in children and adults with atopic eczema"

http://www.eczema.org/aqeous
http://www.babycentre.co.

Anyway, I hope this helps. For us, finding the SLS- eczema-allergy link was huge as it has made all of us much healthier.
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