Wednesday, November 18, 2015

CRAZY??? Or allergic???

Posted by Daring Delightful Digital Diva at 11:24 AM
I have spent the last year feeling like I was crazy!  I may very well still be crazy, but not in the realm of making my eye swell shut or my neck break out in a rash at least!  Crazy is for another discussion.
I wanted to share with you my story, as it may help any number of you.  I had been having seemingly 'random' eye swelling, rashes and I could not for the life of me figure out what was causing this.  Of course in the beginning you try the usual suspects:  did we change laundry soap, shampoos, lotions, etc?  We hadn't.  You spend time hoping it will stop.  Then you tackle the medical side from eye doctors, eye specialists, and more.  Finally I landed at the allergist/immunologist. He was amazing! He took his time, tried to help narrow, timeline, and more to figure this out.  He put me on two meds to simmer things down in my body from reacting so harshly.  That worked for a few months, then the worst month or so of all occurred.  Back to the allergist for skin panel testing to see if any product-related ingredients were the culprit.  INDEED it was!!!

And what am I allergic to you ask????

FORMALDEHYDE!!!  Which actually means about 20 chemicals of formaldehyde or derivatives or chemicals that release formaldehyde!

Now, where would I get formaldehyde??? It is in nearly everything from soaps, shampoos, lotions, make up - it is used as a preservative.  And I am allergic.  And we don't need it.  At all.  Period.

Well no wonder I couldn't figure it out, right??  I eliminated make up for three weeks, but since it was in my soap, shampoo and lotion, I still reacted at some point.  I couldn't narrow because it was in hundreds of things in my home and at work!  I spent a year trying things, and now I understand allergy sufferers sincerely.  You feel crazy, it interferes with your work, I had to miss a couple days simply because my eyes were swollen shut??  What a horrible thing to miss for and you feel stupid.


This allergy has resulted in an overhauling what I buy from head to toe. Why do we consciously buy CRAP?  Have you put Lubriderm or Jergens' lotion on?  Have you used All Free and Clear Hypoallergenic detergent?  Yup the one detergent in my house that contains it is the one I thought would be safe - hypoallergenic and free of dyes, perfumes...but contains formaldehyde ingredient!? How about a nice Bath and Body Works scrub or shower gel? I can't step foot in that store, it is in nearly every product.  It's CRAP!  And my husband pointed out that I had just bought more BBW stuff in the last few weeks.  Could explain the added inflation of my reactions. The picture shows all the things just in my home that I found. OY!

I decided in looking for formaldehyde and all those ingredients that I would buy from companies who do not use the "nasty 5", two of which are formaldehyde and all its little nasty partners that release it. The other three chemicals don't sound awesome and I don't need them either: Toluene, Camphor and DBP if you were curious.  And a company that doesn't use ANY of those, even better!

First, here are a few sources I used to comb through my stuff and I checked labels regardless.

  • EWG - Environmental Working Group - Their site has many resources available to you no matter what you would like to check. Their Skin Deep database has over 63,000 products listed with rankings and ingredients.  I still check as it could be outdated.  They have a phone app too! Love this! 
  • Cosmetic Ingredients - another source with hundreds of brands and the most wonderful thing about this site is that you can look up BY an ingredient and narrow to a brand!  Lifesaver!  If only they had a phone app too!  This serves as a nice heads up to then check the label to be sure.  
  • EcoWatch - I ran across this group in search of nail polish I could use, as I was off to a new salon to remove my acrylics! While further searches would verify sources, ingredients and philosophies, I have narrowed to 2-3 brands that I can use. 

So let me tell you what I have found so far and am LOVING!!!!  What a great side effect of this allergy - it has served as a wake-up call as to what I put on my body from head to toe and also supporting and buying from better companies as well!  Here's the list of goodies:

  • doTerra - I have signed up as a Wellness Advocate to share these products with others and get a discount. I do not care at all to make money, I simply want good stuff!  They make more natural products free of those nasty five and many more.  From a delightfully invigorating shampoo and conditioner, to hand soap and detergent.  They have essential oils as well that I can add to products as well.  I recommend this company to anyone! 
  • Bare Minerals - their make up and products check out clean from these ingredients as well, so my intuition was correct when 6 months ago I changed from Mary Kay (in nearly everything) to Bare Minerals. I also simply love their products.  They last, stay on my face, and have a wide variety. They also make it EASY to simply see and check ingredients since it is a tab right on the item.  Up front, thank you.  
  • Aveda - While their products check out clean for me, they do not make it as easy to get to ALL the ingredients.  They have a philosophy and post many of their plant ingredients, but to be sure, I had to email in for the ingredient list.  For that reason, when I am out, I MAY switch to doTerra line. Aveda has hair products and even hair dye though, so I need to check into this as an option that I can use. 
  • Green Virgin Products - Ever heard of SoapNuts?  I hadn't until about a month ago when my friend mentioned it as an option for me even before we knew what I was reacting to.  They are little soapnut berries that are dried and release the actual sopanin soap.  I have an order coming to try it out!  Along with their cleaner and stain pre-treater.  More on this later, but also made in USA which is awesome! I emailed back and forth with the owner Ken just yesterday, which was amazing customer service and a fast response!
  • Nail polish/products - I ran across a couple articles on more natural nail polishes or products and have landed on RGB (Pricy though - not only 5-free, but also vegan, no animanl testing, made in the USA and fair trade), Zoya, and OPI contains only one of the big 5 (Camphor) but seeks to remove more and more chemicals.  I will use OPI for now, as it is in most salons, but have ordered a Zoya nail kit with top coat, bottom and polish to try. 

That's it for now! More to come as I try many of these new products, or run across more! Your health advocate, professional and new allergy sufferer at your service!
Dare to buy better,
Daring, Delightful, Digital Diva

2 comments on "CRAZY??? Or allergic???"

Janis on March 3, 2016 at 6:03 PM said...

I know that Bare Minerals contains many Toxic ingredients including sodium benzoate, Phenoloxyethenol, and PEG's to name a few. I checked out DoTerra previously. While their oils may be OK their personal care products contain some Toxic ingredients too. I think Aveda is on a list of not to use but I can't view ingredients on my phone. I can look into them.

Janis on March 3, 2016 at 6:04 PM said...

I know that Bare Minerals contains many Toxic ingredients including sodium benzoate, Phenoloxyethenol, and PEG's to name a few. I checked out DoTerra previously. While their oils may be OK their personal care products contain some Toxic ingredients too. I think Aveda is on a list of not to use but I can't view ingredients on my phone. I can look into them.

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