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My Favorite Body Moisturizer

I never recommend any product on this blog until I've tried it for at least a month. This has been my favorite product for over 3 months now.

My new love is Eucerin Smoothing Repair Dry Skin Body Lotion with Gluco-Glycerol. I have tried scores maybe even hundreds of skin lotions through the years looking for one that will help my extremely dry and very sensitive skin. My Dermatologist told me to look for a product without perfume that contains both Glycerin and Urea. After reading just about every bottle on the shelf I finally found this product.

In general, I have not had good experiences with other Eucerin body lotions. They are either too greasy or too thick to spred on smoothly without pulling and dragging on my skin or too thin and drying. I have been using the Eucerin Smoothing Repair Dry Skin Lotion for three months now and my skin is almost completely cleared up. It's nice to be able to wear short sleeve blouses and shorts. I still have damage from years of terrible rashes, but my skin is beginning to look almost normal.


A 16.9 FL OZ bottle cost about $14, so it's not very expensive compared to lotions you get from your dermatologist,  but more expensive than other more common body lotions you can get at the drug store. As I mentioned earlier, I have not liked ALL Eucerin products.


Hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. Let me know what you think by visiting my Allergy

Comfort Zone Discussion Forum

Holiday Party Time, What's an Allergy Sufferer to do?

This is a difficult time of year for allergy sufferers of all kinds. If you are allergic to foods like eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, fructose, corn, wine, beer and of course peanuts and tree nuts, it is a real dilemma. If you are allergic to perfume, textile dyes, formaldehyde  textile coatings and synthetic materials you may find it hard to dress festively and be around people who do. Even scented candles can cause problems.

Be prepared, eat something safe before you leave your home so you won't be tempted to take a chance. If there is something being served that you are extremely allergic to (like having an anaphylactic reaction) go home, don't chance it. If there are things you are sensitive to, be careful. Always ask the hostess before trying anything new. If there is a beverage or food you can eat or drink bring some with you to share.

If you have problems with perfumes and tainted textiles, dress safely with 100% silk or 100% organic cotton under your clothes. Always wash your clothes before wearing them in perfume-free, dye-free detergent ( I use Nellies All Natural Laundry Detergent). Stay away from people who wear perfume or use highly perfumed laundry detergent. and fabric softener.


Does Grandma know best?

I will not take credit for this information

. I found it in my local newspaper in the Peoples Pharmacy column by Joe and Terry Graedon.  I hope I am giving them enough credit for this advice.


I often write about eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin rashes, this advice from grandmothers may help some people. I find "Old Wives Tales", "Grandma's Wit" and "Grandma's Remedies" to be very helpful.


If you think about it, a lot of our "modern" treatments are based on these old remedies (with a lot of added preservatives and added cost).

Oolong Tea

Here are a few from the Peoples Pharmacy

1. For eczema try mixing a non-scented simple lotion like baby lotion with olive oil. Rub on the affected area three times a day. After your shower or bath and two other times. It is supposed to clear up eczema in two weeks.

My experience: I tried using olive oil and lotion several years ago, it did make my skin dry skin feel better, but the greasiness of the oil and the olive oil smell turned me off.

2. Another remedy I haven't tried yet, but I plan to starting today. Drink Oolong tea. I don't know how much you need to drink, but it is supposed to help in four weeks. This shouldn't be too hard for me to do because Oolong tea is my favorite tea.

Hope this helps with your eczema. Visit the Peoples Pharmacy, it is very interesting to read the articles.

Share your Grandma's Wit with us, maybe it will help someone. Please comment below.

Are You on the Dry Skin Roller Coaster?

Olive Oil

As your skin gets dryer, it gets more sensitive because it has less moisture. Less moisture makes the surface of your skin more porous.

When you skin is more porous, it lets in more irritants and pollutants which makes your skin drier and more sensitive.

You try to solve this problem with more skin care products and some of these products have irritating ingredients. Therefore your skin gets dryer and more irritated and becomes more porous and lets in more irritants that cause allergies and rashes. The cycle goes on and on.

A few days ago, I tried to go "cold-turkey" and eliminate all moisturizers. I could not believe how rough and dry and cracked my skin was. I was in pain, the itching was terrible!  Just bending my knees and elbows was painful. I gave in and slathered on the moisturizers again.

 Here are a few things I have found that work for extremely dry skin.

1. Limit your baths and showers to 10 minutes. Use barely warm water, hot water dries out your skin even more.
2. Carefully pat yourself dry, you want to leave a little moisture on the surface of your skin.
3. Right away apply a sensitive skin moisturizer or oil. If this soaks in try another layer after waiting a few minutes. I like to use pure shay butter or coconut oil.

A few words about moisturizers:

Just because a moisturizer claims it is hypoallergenic doesn't mean it will be for you. Each of us has different things we are sensitive to.  When a product says it's "All Natural" it doesn't mean it will be safe for your skin. I love the smell of lavender in my products and have no problems with them, but a friend of mine is very allergic to lavender.  Even safe sounding ingredients like: Green tea, chamomile, rosemary, mint, sandalwood, aloe vera, etc, can cause problems. I had the worse reaction in my life when I used aloe vera on a rash on my arm. I now stay away from lotions with aloe vera.

Try using food-grade oils like:  Olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, Shay Butter and even Crisco. I have tried Crisco with mixed results (see my earlier blog) , coconut oil and shay butter with better results. Olive oil is great for your skin and hair, but I do not like its strong odor. I like to use shay butter from Africa by itself, without all the irritating stuff. I have used St. Ives, Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter with fair results. It does have a mild fragrance and some mineral oil though (best not to use if you are extremely sensitive).

Here is a link to a recipe for shay butter moisturizer that you can make. I would suggest leaving out the fragrance and coloring and using pure shay butter.

A few ingredients to avoid:  Added fragrance, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Formaldehyde (that nasty stuff from biology 101), Phthalates, Parabens, Toluene, TEA and DEA, Mineral oil, Thimerasol and Parabens. Avoid products that are said to kill germs. The triclosan also kills the "good" bacteria on your skin that is helpful to maintain the natural skin barrier.

Test all products before using them on your whole body or face. A small area on the inside of your arm is best.

Make a comment on my Allergy Comfort Blog and tell everyone what product you like to use.

Do you have trouble sleeping at night?

Everyone has an occasional sleepless night, but people who have consistent sleeplessness called insomnia might want to check out their bedroom for pollutants and toxins that cause irritation, allergy flare-ups, watery eyes, swelling of the throat, respiratory problems, irritation, nervousness, insomnia and more. Formaldehyde is usually the culprit. It may be time to change your sheets! Formaldehyde-free sheets

The toxins could be coming from your sheets, curtains, carpet, rugs, furniture or more. All permanent-press cotton and polyester/cotton bed sheets and curtains are coated with resins that release the vapors of formaldehyde. Engineered particle board or plywood veneered wood in much furniture and closet systems unless otherwise labeled gives off formaldehyde fumes. Formaldehyde can cause insomnia.

So change your sheets to 100% cotton sheets that are labeled untreated or formaldehyde-free. Sheets labeled organically grown cotton are usually untreated. Wash your new sheets several times in a dye-free and perfume-free detergent. Yes, your sheets will be wrinkled, but you will sleep better at night. Try this and see if it doesn't help.

If you want to comment, please join the Allergy Confort Zone Discussion Forum


Why are more and more clothes irritating our skin?

Dyes in clothing are irritating to skin I've been allergic to fabric dyes and textile finishes for the last 12 years. Things seem to be getting worse. I'm not talking about my skin condition, but the clothes that are for sale now have more irritating finishes and colors than ever before. Just because somerhing is new and "improved" doesn't make it better.


It's very hard to figure out what will irritate your skin when buying clothes. Price really is no indicator of safety. I have found expensive clothes that make me break out from irritation to the dyes and finishes just as I have problems with less expensive clothes. I do find that natural fibers are safer than synthetic fibers. The dyes used in natural fibers are less irritating to my skin. Watch out for fabrics advertised as wrinkle-free and stain resistant, this "benefit" is created by using chemicals as a fabric finish.


I always wash my clothes three times using a dye-free and perfume-free detergent before wearing them for the first time. I also set an extra rinse on my washing machine for all loads. Don't forget your towels and wash cloths. My husband pointed out that we were still using brick red and navy blue towels, after I knew I was allergic to red and blue dyes.  I now use natural colored towels and have less problems.


Try natural fiber clothes from or, The detergent I use is Nellies all natural, see my Allergy Comfort Zone Shop for more products I recommend:


Comment on my Allergy Comfort Forum if you have advice or questions.

Confidence in Textiles

One of the readers of this blog made a comment mentioning a website Called Oeko-Tex. Here is a link to this website Oeko-Tex®, Confidence in Textiles.  I visited the site and found it to be a very good idea to label items of clothing that interact with our skin as to their safety. The problem is, this standard is mostly used on clothing from European nations. Once again America is steps behind on protecting the heath and safety of it's citizens. Confidence in Textiles

Here is some information from the site I thought I would share: Confidence in textiles – this has been the motto of the independent test institutes of the International Oeko-Tex® Association since 1992, with their tests for harmful substances according to Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 for textile products of all types which pose no risk whatsoever to health.

For companies in the textile and clothing industry, the Oeko-Tex® criteria catalogue provides for the very first time a uniform, scientifically founded evaluation standard for the human ecological safety of textiles, against the background of the globalised and extremely fragmented nature of the textile manufacturing chain.
The Oeko-Tex® label indicates to interested end users the additional benefits of tested safety for skin-friendly clothing and other textiles. In this way, the test label provides an important decision-making tool when purchasing textiles.
Confidence in textiles – an international synonym for responsible textile production – from the raw material to the finished product on the shop shelves. For industry and retailers throughout the textile manufacturing chain just as well as for users of fashionable, functional, colourful textiles.

I think this testing is a step in the right direction, I would be willing to pay more for clothes if I could be assured they were skin friendly and safe. That 100% cotton clothing is not sewn with polyester or nylon thread and that all textile finishes are labeled. Please leave a comment on my allergy discussion forum, if you have strong feeling about this issue. I invite both sides to give their opinions.

Allergic Reaction to Tattoo Ink

If you are allergic to the dyes used in your clothes there is also a chance that you may also be allergic to the dyes used in tattoos. With tattoos, if you find you are allergic to the ink, you can not remove the offending article to seek relief, so be very careful.
There is such a variety of ink used in the tattoo business that it is hard to pin point what may or may not cause irritation. Some tattoo ink contains azo dyes which are not toxic in themselves, but breakdown into element s that can be carcinogenic and allergic. Sometimes banned preservatives are used in the inks.

Allergic to tattoo

Some tattoo dyes contain metal content such as aluminum, barium, copper and iron as well as cadmium, manganese and lead in small quantities. Other well known allergens such as chrome, cobalt and nickel are used.

A patient with an allergic reaction to tattoo ink may request tattoo removal using the Q-switched laser, the gold standard for removal of a tattoo, but the Q-switched laser treatment is not suggested for removing tattoos showing signs of allergic reactions because, ironically, in some cases, tattoos not displaying the signs of a allergy may show more signs of hypersensitivity after Q-switched laser treatment. Light from a Q-switched laser can stimulate an allergic response. In this case surgical removal may be the best course of action.

Tattoo artists should perform a patch test for the more commonly reported allergens prior to placing a tattoo on a client with known sensitivity to dyes. So be sure to notify your tattoo artists of any allergies to dyes, metals, preservatives or finishes on clothing before getting a tattoo.

Winter Dry Skin Getting Me Down.

Even though this has been a relatively mild Winter, it has still dried out my skin terribly. When I remove my clothes the insides are covered with dry skin flakes. My hands and other exposed skin is rough and dry. I use several products on my skin to help with the dryness. The newest product I am testing on my skin is Neosporin's Eczema Essentials Moisturizing Skin Cream. I've been using it for 2 weeks now. It's suppose to restore visibly healthier skin in three days and relieve dry, itchy skin due to eczema. It goes on smoothly and seem to hold the moisture in the skin better than some other products. Neosporin Moisture Cream

My main problem with the Neosporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisture Cream is the price. The container is small only holding 6 oz. and costs about $11- $12. I have used the whole 6 oz in two weeks. It works fairly well, but not well enough to spend almost $2 an ounce. See the Amazon price of the Neosporin product  in my Allergy Comfort Zone Comfort Store on the third page of Skin Products.

Why are my clothes giving me a rash?

Most reaction to clothes can be traced back to chemical additives. It's mind boggling how many irritating  chemicals are used in processing textiles. rubber materials, formaldehyde resins, quarternium-15, dyes, glues, elastic, tanning agents used to process fabrics & leather and metallic fasteners. The usual areas of concern for irritation from textiles are areas of the body subjected to friction and perspiration. The areas under arms, behind knees, in upper thigh, inside elbows and around waist are usually the worst.

"Disperse Blue 106 and 124 are used in the 100% acetate and 100% polyester blue, black, green and violet liners of women's clothing (2). It is rare for men to react to the liner in their trousers, as the liner is usually white, grey or beige. The reaction to these dyes can cause a severe acute eczematous reaction in the affected areas and may become chronic. Rarely, there is sensitivity to flame-retardant materials added to clothing. Allergic contact dermatitis from the flame-retardants Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate (13) and 2,3- dibromocresylglycidyl ether (14) has been reported. Chronic generalized dermatitis that was a reaction to the Basic Red 46 dye in flame-retardant clothing (15) has been reported. Many flame-retardant clothes are colored using basic dyes."

New technologies have been developed to protect against UV radiation or to enhance breathability. These new technologies applied to fabrics can also cause allergic reactions and rashes. Most people who have textile allergies react to synthetic materials most often, some people are allergic to wool. When people believe they are allergic to cotton or silk, their reaction is usually to dyes or finishes applied to these natural materials or with the synthetic materials with which the natural fibers are blended.

My advice is to read labels carefully, watch out for wrinkle-free, fire resistant, UV protection, soil repellant fabrics. Wash all new clothes three times in a perfume-free, dye-free detergent or soap and rinse two times. I love Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda. Do not use dryer sheets, I use Nellie's PVC Free Dryer Balls.Do not wear heavily dyed clothing and stay away from synthetic clothing that comes in direct contact with your skin. Find an outfit or two that does not irritate your skin and designate those clothes for relaxing and exercising. During the work day, wear "safe" comfortable clothes under more irritating highly processed or colored clothes. I wear silk long underwear in white or cream under all my irritating sweaters and trousers. I get my silk underclothes from They have a lot of styles to choose from, stay with the lighter colors to be safe.

Book Review: "Toxic Free"


Are you suffering from unexplained headaches, fatigue, skin rashes or depression? Are you worried about the link between chemicals in the home and the rising rate of cancer and allergies? Or are you just looking to save money (and the planet in the process)? I don't usually do book reviews, but I found "Toxic Free, How to protect your health and home from chemicals that are making you sick" by Debra Lynn Dadd to be an excellent book for learning about and changing your environment to be healthier.


Dadd, does an excellent job of pointing out the trouble spots in your home and telling you how to find better and safer alternatives. She is a consultant, lecturer, and writer on healthy and green living, Dadd has appeared on Today, Geraldo at Large, and CNN, and has been featured on the cover of Natural Health magazine. I found this book on

Information on skin allergies, itching, dermatitis and eczema.

For almost two years, I have written many blogs on skin allergies, dermatitis and eczema. They are my popular posts by far. In this blog post I would like to summarize some of my most popular blogs to  give you easy  access links to many of my most popular blogs for skin allergies.

Check out a few of  these past blogs of mine. You can also scroll down to the bottom of this page to see all the blogs on skin allergies, dermatitis, eczema and itching skin.

A listing of a few of my most popular blogs on this page, just scroll down the page to see them all.

• Help for those with dermatitis and eczema. 
• Causes of eczema and dermatitis and how to eliminate them
• How to Make Itchy Skin Go Away 
• Allergic to your clothes? Some helpful advice. 
• Atopic dermatitis Why it's so hard to control  h
• Removing "tagless" tags from clothing 
• Why do blue jeans turn my legs blue and make me itch? 
• Are your clothes causing an itchy rash? 


Causes of eczema and dermatitis and how to eliminate them

Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are two different forms of eczema. Contact dermatitis is an external reaction that occurs when your skin comes in contact with something your are allergic to or a chemical that is irritating to your skin. This type of eczema is the easiest to figure out and correct.


First of all eczema is used as a general term for many types of skin inflammation and itching skin (also called dermatitis) and allergic-type skin rashes. There are many things that can irritate your skin.

Allergic to cleaning products

There are two basic types of causes for eczema and dermatitis in your home; allergens and irritants. Some reactions happen on the surface of your skin and some reactions happen internally but show up as irritation on your skin.


Atopic dermatitis is the result of an internal reaction by your immune system to an irritant or allergen. When your immune system interacts with the trigger, and typically another component in your body such as irregular hormones, food allergies or stress-related toxins, the result is an eczema outbreak on your skin that is painful, swollen, and itchy. This rash can occur anywhere on your skin, not just at the spot where you contacted the allergen or irritant. Atopic dermatitis is the hardest type of eczema to eliminate, because it is hard to know what to look for, when two elements are involved.


The irritant may also be a common household chemical. Some of the more common chemical irritants are laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning solvents, latex products, and nail varnish. However, you may eliminate all these things and still find you are breaking out. If that is the case, check many of the items you use on a regular basis, such as the synthetic fibers in your bedding, clothes, furnitures, rugs and your beauty products, to make sure they are not irritating your eczema. Also look for mold, mildew and pet dander in your environment which can serve as a trigger for allergies. Many people have a reaction to lime juice, hand sanitizers, antiperspirants, hair removal products, antibiotic ointments and even metal zippers and snaps (it's the nickel).


Some allergens in your foods can contribute to your atopic dermatitis. Foods like peanuts, strawberries, food coloring, cow milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat and other food additives are known to cause internal and external eczema.


Here are a few tips for avoiding skin irritation:


1. Read labels. Know exactly which chemicals are in the product you're using. Try to avoid products that contain ingredients you've had a reaction to in the past. Follow directions on the label so you know you're using the cleaning product safely.

2. Go alternative. "Green" cleaners won't necessarily prevent dermatitis, but they are generally gentler on the skin, not to mention on the environment. Look for cleaning products labeled "fragrance and dye-free" or "all natural," or try an old-fashion cleaner like baking soda.

Bottom line: Be your own detective. You are the best one to narrow down and eliminate irritants in your surrounds. Why spend the money on allergy patch testing when you can do a more accurate elimination trial on your own using products you already have.


If you have any comments or suggests please comment on my Allergy Confort Forum site

Beautiful Fall Brings Not So Lovely Allergies

If you have a runny nose and sneezing with watery or burning eyes, you have an allergy. Welcome to the club. It's not a very exclusive club because over 50 million Americans have allergies or develop them sometime in their life. One of the most common allergies in the Fall is pollen. It can come from grass, weeds or trees. Ragweed is the most common culprit in the Fall.


Besides the usually symptoms of runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes, many people develop seasonal dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is simply your body's reaction to something touching your skin. A skin allergy can be mild, like a slight rash or It can be more pronounced, with itchy bumps or blisters. Allergic reactions are caused by our body's natural immune system, the body's system of white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infection.


In people with allergies, the immune system over reacts to things that aren't really dangerous. Their immune systems react to certain foods, plants like poison ivy, pollens in the air, metals like nickel, or ingredients in makeup, detergent or shampoo. Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but there seems to be a genetic connection, because allergies tend to run in families.


A rash can be caused by:


• Irritants in the air
• Nickel, often found in inexpensive plated jewelry or white gold jewelry
• Preservatives, including formaldehyde and quaternium 15, which are found in some cosmetics, paints, and household cleaners
• Fragrances in shampoos, detergents, lotions and anti-aging products
• Latex or other materials in rubber gloves
• Cobalt chloride, found in some deodorants. I use Almay hypoallergenic Fragrance-Free Antiperspirant & Deodorant
• Fabric dyes, especially those used on synthetic fabrics.
• Poison (plants or chemicals in cleaning products)
• Certain foods


What to do:


• Many dermatologists will tell you to use-low dose steroid creams. They are fine for very short-term use, like for poison Ivy. I would stay away from them for extended use. I used steroid creams for many years and have permanently damaged the skin on my arms and upper legs. My skin is now thinner and crepey in those areas.

• Avoiding the irritant is the best course of action. Always shower and wash your hair before going to bed. to remove any air-borne allergens from your skin that would transfer to your bedding. Wash your clothes after coming in contact with the allergen. Use a fragrance-free, dye-free detergent, with a double rinse.

• Check labels carefully for ingredients you are allergic to. Be careful of cheap jewelry and white gold jewelry that might contain nickel.

• I also like to use over-the -counter antihistamine tablets, such as an allergy medicines. Consumer Reports recommends: Loratadine 10 mg tablets, Loratadine dissolving 10 mg tablets, Loratadine liquid 10 mg or Alavert dissolving 10 mg tablet. These all contain the same best-selling prescription drug as Claritin (in 2002  loratadine became generic). Antihistamine medicines block histamine from interacting with your skin and nasal tissues.


If you have any other hints, please share them with us on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Itchy New School Clothes Cause Rashes 9/4/11

It's back to school and all those new Fall clothes that cause itchy skin and rashes. I can remember as a child hating new back-to-school clothes because they itched so much. I always had problems with sensitive skin rashes. My mother didn't know to wash all new clothes several time and double rinse before putting them on my sensitive skin. She just thought I was a complainer and a "drama queen".

Even today as an adult, I always wash all my new clothes three times with dye-free and fragrance-free detergent and double rinse before wearing. Some highly processed fabrics and very dark textile dyes still make me break out in rashes after this 3-wash treatment. Synthetic fabrics are colored with dyes that tend to irritate skin more than the dyes used for natural fabrics.

If clothes are labeled as wrinkle-free or stain-resistant, be very hesitant to purchase them if you or your child has sensitive skin. Your clothing may be processed with formaldehyde.  Many people are allergic to formaldehyde . It takes many, many washings for these finishes to "wear" off. The clothes will look old and worn out before you can even safely wear them.

I always recommend wearing dye-free thin 100% cotton or 100% silk long underwear or t-shirts under suspect clothing. has some great cotton things for adults and children. I also recommend for silk long underwear for children and adults. 

 If you have problems with allergy to the labels printed on the garments. Try my trick of using Wintergreen Oil. Brush it on the tagless label and let it sit for about 10 minutes. then use a tooth-brush to remove the loosened and dissolved bits of the  tagless tag. Then wash the garment as usual. Wintergreen oil is non-toxic when used for removing labels in this manner. This method has worked successfully for me and many others on many types of printed labels.

Please let readers know about your solutions to itchy skin on the Allergy Comfort Zone Discussion Forum

How to Make Itchy Skin Go Away

There are many reasons that you may have itchy skin, some of them could be quite serious. When itching is accompanied by difficulty in breathing with swelling of the face or tongue the itching my be do to an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening emergency. Seek immediate medical care, call 911 immediately.

For normal itching associated with dry skin, contact dermatitis, eczema, menopause, pregnancy and sun-burn there are a few simple remedies. When you itch at night and can't sleep, you need help. For the extreme itch of poison ivy and bug bites see the special sections below.

Ice packs, you can put ice cubes in a zip lock bag or use a frozen bag of peas.
Cool showers or running cool water over affected area. A cool bath using products that contain colloidal oatmeal (available over-the-counter) have helped me a lot. Also adding baking soda can help. Do not use hot water, it may feel good for a while, but will only dry out your skin.
Avoid soaps and harsh cleansers. My dermatologist recommends Dove for Sensitive Skin. I have tested Dr. Bronner's Organic Soap and found it very soothing to my skin. If you are allergic to perfume try Dr. Bronner's  unscented baby soap, or I like his almond scented soap.
Apply a rich moisturizer to your skin while it is still damp from your bath or shower. You should try not to bathe more than once a day, so your skin doesn't dry out. But I find that not bathing every day causes more itching with the build-up of dry skin.
Wear loose comfortable clothes in natural  fabrics. Choose clothes that are soft and not highly colored.
Anti-itch over-the-counter creams can help. Try creams containing: Pramoxine, Phenol, menthol, chamomile lotion or camphor. I have to admit, all of these help me for only a short time, then increase the itching. Benzocain (Solarcaine) can be applied every few minutes to deaden the nerve endings.
For itching caused by allergies a non-sedating  antihistamine may help.  Loratidine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra) and my favorite,cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec).
Aloe Vera is used by many for itching. I seem to be allergic to it, Aloe Vera always causes my skin to become inflamed.

For insect bites:
• Make a paste of baking soda and household ammonia  • Cider vinegar  • Toothpaste  • Mouthwash • A wet aspirin held over the bite • Underarm deodorant 
• The inside skin of a banana

Bee stings:
• Use meat tenderizer, baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice and rubbing alcohol and ice wrapped in fabric.

Poison Ivy:
I have written about remedies for Poison Ivy in my blog. Here is the link:

If you have any other remedies that work for you, leave a comment on my Allergy Comfort Zone Discussion Forum.

Allergic to your clothes? Some helpful advice.

I have been writing this blog for one and a half years now. My most popular posts and the most comments I receive are about allergic reaction to clothes, skin irritations from laundry detergents, eczema and contact dermatitis. This is a subject close to my heart, or should I say skin. I have had problems with textile allergies and reactions to detergents for over 10 years. I have tried all sorts of remedies suggested by doctors and other allergy suffers. A lot of things I tried didn't work at all. Some of the "solutions"  were worse than the original problem.

 Causes of textile allergies:

• Dyes, Formaldehyde and N-methylol, fire-retardant coatings, anti-cling, anti-static, moth-proof, mildew resistant, anti-shrink and waterproof finishes.
• Remains of detergent, dyes in the detergent and perfumes in clothes can cause irritation.
• Friction from clothing The areas of the body that come in the closest contact with the affected materials are: underarms, inner thighs, inner elbows, around waist and neck.
• Latex from gloves, rubber additives • Chemicals used to dye and process leather, and glue products.
• Metals, especially nickel in buckles and some jewelry.
• Dyes on inexpensive beaded costume jewelry. 

 This is a summary of the best solutions I have found so far.

 1. Do not buy highly colored synthetic fabric clothes that will touch your skin. Be careful of highly colored natural fabrics also, be sure to wash all clothes at least three times before wearing.
 2. Do not buy any article of clothing, especially for babies and children that is: wrinkle resistant, resistant to stains or odors or has fire retardant coatings.
 3. Be especially careful buying underwear. NEVER wear any clothes that touch your skin, even totally white ones, before washing several times.
 4. Use special clothes washing detergents that do not have added fragrances or dyes. Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda, 50 Load Bagis my favorite, there are many others available. I also rinse all my clothes twice.
 5. Do not use dryer sheets or fabric softeners, I use a Natural Anti Static Dryer Bal like Nellie's PVC Free Dryer Balls with pretty good success. I also use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser on my machine, it helps to remove detergent residue and softens clothes. Even fabric softeners without fragrance are unnecessary, they just add chemicals to your clothes.
 6. When relaxing at home, have special "pure and natural" clothes that you can feel completely comfortable in. Wrinkled, white on white 100% cotton, may not be a fashion statement, but I sure feel more comfortable in my special "at home clothes". I get mine at
 7. In the winter I wear white or off white long underwear under my dark or brightly colored clothes. I like silk the best, it doesn't make me look bulky or make my clothes too tight. has some great styles. Of course, I notice my silk long johns will turn light blue after wearing them under blue jeans. This dye would normally be deposited on my skin, no wonder blue jeans make me itchy and break out in rashes.

Please add your comment. We can all help each other this way.


Pay Back Time: Skin Allergies Reduce Risk of Cancer.

Skin Allergy This study made by Danish researchers Kaare Engkilde, Jacob P Thyssen, Torkil Menné and Jeanne D Johansen was published first in the British Medical Journal 7/11/11.

Could there really be something good about the aggravating skin conditions so many of us endure? It could almost make our suffering more bearable to know there might be a pay-back later on.


The new findings may support the theory that people with contact dermatitis and other allergies develop hyperactive immune systems that are primed to detect and stamp out tumors more quickly as they formed. Experts who analyzed allergy and cancer data from nearly 17,000 adults found men and women with contact allergies had "significantly lower" rates of breast and non-melanoma skin cancer compared with those without contact allergies. They said previous studies had shown allergies to substances such as pollen and dust mites could affect cancer rates. They thought people with common allergies like hay fever, asthma, metal allergies, poison ivy and others chemicals have a slight decreased risk of some cancers.

 About 20 per cent of the population are allergic to one or more of the chemical and metals that constitute the baseline patch test panel. These irritants cause skin itching and inflammation. Skin allergies prompt the production of immune system T cells, which in turn can destroy cancer cells. Any protective effect may stem from the immune system going into "overdrive," said Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, a New York City allergist and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

 To read more go to:

I tested Dr. Bronner's Organic Soap for (seven) months

Dr. Bronner's Organic Soap I don't write about a product until I've tried it for at least one month. I tested Dr. Bronner's Organic soap starting in the month of June 2011 and I am still using i1. This soap has really helped my eczema.  My dermatologist always told me, that it is best not to use any actual soap products on my sensitive skin and certainly nothing with fragrance. For years he told me  to use a non-soap cleaning bar like Dove for Sensitive Skin. I have also tried Cetaphil Cleansing Bars, and Purpose and Basis soaps, they all irritated my skin to some degree.

A reader suggested I try Dr. Bronner's soap for my Eczema. Her daughter who had terrible eczema had used it with great success. I decided to try Dr. Bronner's All-One Hemp Pure-Castile Soap in almond because it sounded the most mild.   It was very soothing and made my skin softer after my showers and less irritated. I also found the lavender fragrance very soft and non-irritating to my skin and I love the smell. Dr. Bronner also makes a Dr. Bronners Bar Alo Vera Baby Mild and about 5 or 6 other great fragrances. I usually do not use anything on my skin with fragrance so this was a real stretch for me.  I just couldn't pass up the yummy smells after denying myself fragrance for so long. These soaps get their fragrance from organic oils, maybe that is why the fragrance does not seem to irritate my skin.  I am comfortable in my own skin for the first time in years. I do not have the constant itching that was always there before.

I still have areas of my skin that look slightly darkened, crepey and damaged from over 10  years of constant rashes and using doctor-prescribed hydro-cortisone creams. I hope that these areas will clear up over time. I am still experimenting with body lotions. I may try some of Dr. Bronner's lotions now that this soap has been so successful. I will write about my success or failure with the lotions also.


I must also mention, during the test I was not wearing any dyed fabrics touching my skin, or fabrics with any coatings or wrinkle resistant finishes. I always wash my clothes three times before wearing with a fragrance-free and dye-free detergent. I know what irritates my skin and I try to stay away from it.


P.S. I started this post after one month of using Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, but I have now used it for seven months. I am hooked. My skin looks so much better and the scarred areas from previous rashes are looking so much better. Winter is here, that will really be the best test of all. I have very dry skin in the winter. I still love the lavender fragrance the best, but I think the almond is more gentle. Finally loving my skin after all these years.


If you have any experiences with Dr. Broner's Organic Soap, please leave a comment on my companion blog, Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Crisco for Eczema

I don't think using Crisco for a skin cream is a new use for the shortening, but it was new idea for me. I like to share things that work. I didn't want to write about my experience until I tried it for at least a month. I hate when someone writes" I just tried this product yesterday and it's wonderful", how do they know?

First of all I read the ingredients carefully. It contains: soybean oil, palm oil ,mono and diglycerides, TBHQ and citric acid. The only ingredient that sounded strange was TBHQ. I looked that up and found out it is butyl hydroquinone, which is an antioxidant made from petroleum. Looks like it not so great to ingest, but the jury is still out on using it on the skin. Many people swear by using petroleum jelly on their skin. OK, so nothing extremely scary in the product unless I'm worried about my arteries. I always check that the creams and lotions I use do not contain fragrance and Crisco has no fragrance or odor what so ever on my skin, but I do notice a slight odor on my clothes if they are not washed right away.

I used Crisco after my shower or bath while my skin is still damp. It seals in the moisture to help my skin stay moist and supple. I have used heavy creams and lotions on my skin for years because of my eczema I hate to think how much I've spent. Other more costly products may work, but why pay more for something when something as simple and cheap as Crisco can work. I have not used Crisco on my face, and do not recommend it for that use.


I did find a major problem for me with using Crisco for a skin cream. After about 6 weeks I noticed that my clothes and sheets were retaining a slightly oily even rancid smell. This is after they had been worn and washed many times. You may not notice this, I have a very sensitive nose because I do not use any perfumes or fragrances in any products including detergent. I stopped using Crisco after 6 weeks because of this residual smell in my clothes.


Atopic Dermatitis- why it's so hard to control

If you have contact dermatitis or eczema there are pretty straight forward treatments to control the condition. First you find out what you are sensitive to, then you eliminate the cause. The causes can be, perfumes, soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, textile dyes, fabric treatments, latex, household chemicals or anything your skin comes in contact with.

With Atopic Dermatitis, it can be very frustrating finding exactly what your allergic triggers are. Atopic Dermatitis is the result of several factors combining inside your body. The multiple triggers must be tracked down and addressed individually. The main trigger will most likely be a skin irritant, the other factors can be any number of things. Simple allergy testing doesn't pick up these multiple factors, because they only become irritating when combined. It is a long process of trial and error to finally find the right combination of triggers.

Many scientists believe that there is a fundamental weakness of the skin that makes it easier for these irritants to deteriorate your skin. A good diet, vitamins, moisturizers and irritant-free cotton clothing certainly helps to strengthen the skin. The third trigger is probably the hardest to find and control. Sometimes there are endocrine problems that cause a hormone imbalance in your body. A doctor will have to help to pin point these problems and correct them.

Keeping a diary can help to pin point problems. You can keep a diary of what you eat, your stress level, mood swings, monthly cycles for women, what you wear and what products you use on your skin. It may take a while for a pattern to develop.

While treatment for Atopic dermatitis is more complicated, it is not impossible. Be pro-active with your own diagnosis and you can make your heath professionals job so much easier and find a way to relieve your atopic dermatitis. If you would like to comment, visit my Allergy Comfort Zone Discussion Forum.

New Year's Resolution: Track down secondary reasons for skin irritation

I'm always very careful about what touches my skin because it is so very sensitive. I stay away from dyed clothing, especially disperse blue and red, synthetics, fabric coatings and wrinkle and fire retardant finishes. I wash all new clothes three times before I wear them using detergent without perfume, dye or coloring and rinse twice. In the shower I only use luke warm water with perfume free cleanser for sensitive skin (I like Dove sensitive) and towels without dyes or fabric softeners.


Now why would I still be having problems with my skin breaking out in rashes when I am so careful with all these things that I'm allergic to?

Food & Mood Diary


I believe there is another element to the equation. It's probably either something I eat that helps set off the reaction to an skin irritant or it happens when I am stressed. For my New Years Resolution I will keep a diary of everything I eat and my stress level each day and how it coordinates with any rashes on my skin.

I really believe that this is something everyone must do for themselves. A doctor may suggest keeping a "Food & Mood" diary, but he/she can't do it for you. I will blogging about how successful this diary is working for me.


If you have suggestions about keeping a "Food and Mood" Diary leave them at my allergy discussion forum.

Removing "tagless" tags from clothes

Before writing this blog, I searched the Internet looking for ways to remove the latex and polyurethane based ink printed tags that so many children and adults are allergic to. I didn't find any sensible suggestion at all. So I collected all my "tagless" clothing together and started experimenting with different methods of removal.


It didn't work:: I noticed when I get an iron near the tagless tag it sometimes get stuck to the iron, so I thought I could use an iron to remove the tag. The tag would stick to the iron and even smear a bit, but the latex based ink was still there. I tried different types of pressing cloths (synthetic, paper and all cotton), none worked.


Strong solvents didn't work: I started with the strongest thing I had on hand, fingernail polish remove with acetone, it didn't budge the tag. Then I tried Goof Off, it removes dried Latex paint why not. Again it didn't budge. Then I remembered something I had once splashed on a table top by accident and it removed the finish instantly, wintergreen oil.


You won't believe this, I dabbed a little bit of Wintergreen Oil on the printed tag, waited a few minutes and it started to get soft. I used a toothbrush and brushed it a little and it started to break up. I put on a little more and and rubbed the cloth against itself and it entirely came out. It worked on a j.crew top and a t-shirt from Target. I have also tried wintergreent oil on the larger plastic Hanes labels with great results. It may not be worth your time and the amount of wintergreent oil it will take to remove huge areas of the latex based ink.


Wintergreen essential Oil can be found at many stores that carry flavorings for candies or pharmacies for aromatherapy massage . It is not toxic and can be washed out of the clothes with warm water and detergent.


Until the clothing industry listens to its customers and stops using "tagless" tags, try using wintergreen oil to remove them. Of course you could just refuse to buy clothes with "tagless" tags. If you have other ways you have successfully removed the tags, please comment on my Allergy Comfort ZoneForum.

Can I be allergic to bed bugs?

Bed Bug bites are sometimes mistaken for allergies because the bites appear as itchy bumps. The bumps appear in the morning, usually in a line pattern and fade later in the day.

Much has been written about bed bugs in the last few months. I have done my research and really haven't found a lot of information about people being highly allergic to bed bugs. That being said, everyone is different so you could still have a severe reaction to their bite. If you get large welts from the bites, you are allergic and It's best to stay away from them if you can.

In some countries bed bugs are a way of life and are not considered a dangerous pest.

Bed Bug

Bed Bug

The most important thing about bed bug bites is not to scratch the the bites to the point of breaking the skin. The bumps can then become infected, which will cause increased pain and itch. If they are not scratched the bites will go away on their own in a few days.

How to get rid of bed bugs
Bed bugs are easy to see, they are about 1/4 inch in length. They leave messy black or brown droppings on bed linens and mattresses. Professional pest companies know how to exterminate bed bugs once you have them. Some of these companies can heat up a single room in your house hot enough to kill the bed bugs. This is expensive and hard on your furniture. Others use pesticides, that you may not want your family exposed to.

The best thing to do is stop them from coming into your house to begin with. Stores are now selling new items already contaminated with bed bugs, so protect yourself. Wash all NEW clothes, rugs and bedding with hot water and dry in the dryer. If clothes can not be washed, place them in the dryer and run on hot for at least 20 minutes before hanging in your closet or putting in drawers. Carefully check new or used furniture before bringing it into your home.

If you see bed bugs, vacuum all surfaces in the room carefully, your mattresses, drapes and rugs. Check the back of headboards and under box springs, where they hide during the day. When finished, it's very important to remove and destroy the dust collection bag in your sweeper so the bed bugs don't spread.

Dry cleaning solutions should kill bed bugs, but clean clothes can be contaminated by the bed bugs in dirty clothes if they are not carefully separated and handled at the dry cleaners. I run my freshly dry cleaned clothes in my home dryer on hot for 20 minutes before hanging in my closet. Take out right away so they will not wrinkle.

When traveling, do not set your luggage on the bed or floor. When you arrive home, put all clean clothes in the dryer on hot for 20 minutes and wash and dry all dirty clothes. Put your luggage in a plastic bag and seal it tight, it could be carrying the bugs. Travelers have spread these bugs all over the world.

You can also pick up bed bugs at the theater, on a subway, bus, at work or on a plane. Anywhere you come in contact with surfaces other people use. If you have any more hints for  getting rid of bed bugs, make a comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum.

The worst time of the year for textile allergy sufferers.

Each Fall, I have problems with my wardrobe. I'm allergic to textile dyes and fabric finishes on my clothes. (see blog below) In the summer I can wear a white top with a well washed white or light bottom (pants/skirts) and look half way normal. When it's really cold in winter, I can wear colorful sweaters and blue jeans like everyone else, but only because I wear silk underwear under all colored or itchy clothing.

It's the Fall that is the most troublesome for me. I want to wear darker colored clothes and long pants, but it's still too warm to wear silk underwear under my clothes. It' also looks a little crazy to wear white trousers with a white blouse when everyone else is breaking out the Fall colors.

I have one pair of well washed light colored blue jeans that do not seem to irritate my legs, they can do in a pinch, but what after that. I guess I'll just do what I always end up doing, looking stupid in all white or suffer until it's cool enough to wear my silk underwear again. My favorite silk underwear is Winter Silks

Why do blue jeans turn my legs blue and make me itch?

Blue jeans turn your legs blue because the dye in blue jeans is not completely attached to the fibers, they are made to slowly fade in color.


My most popular blogs by far have been the ones associated textiles and clothes causing rashes, dermatitis, eczema and skin allergies. It seems to me, more and more people are becoming super sensitive to the clothes they wear everyday. In my previous blogs I've talked about skin sensitivity to textile dyes and fabric coatings, now I want to tell you what to do to protect yourself.

Blue jean dye on legs


A vinegar rinse after washing helps set some natural dyes such as indigo, and might or might not help. This vinegar treatment, of course, would need to be done after each washing until the jeans are quite faded. Actually Indigo dye is a natural dye and should not be as irritating as synthetic disperse dyes. Your blue jeans may make you itch because they have spandex and you might be allergic to spandex, spandex is made from several chemicals that are known sensitizers.


There are a lot of things to consider when buying clothes. Clothes are not marked with warning labels that say they use certain red and blue disperse dyes that a lot of people have allergies to. They don't tell us they are using dangerous chemicals to treat the fabric to be wrinkle-free, fire retardant or resistance to stains and odors. New technology uses nano particles to deliver these chemicals which can penetrate the skin. Since the FDA doesn't seem ready to step in to protect us from these irritating chemicals and potentially dangerous nano particles, we must act for ourselves.


1. Do not buy highly colored synthetic fabric clothes that will touch your skin. Be careful of highly colored natural fabrics also, be sure to wash them at least three times before wearing.

2. Do not buy any article of clothing, especially for babies and children that is: wrinkle resistant, resistant to stains or odors or has fire retardant coatings.


3. Be especially careful buying underwear. NEVER wear any clothes that touch your skin, even totally white ones, before washing several times.


4. Use special clothes washing detergents that do not have added fragrances chemicals or dyes. Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda, 50 Load Bag is my favorite, there are others available.


5. Do not use dryer sheets or fabric softeners, I use Nellie's PVC Free Dryer Balls with pretty good success. I also use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser on my machine, it helps to remove detergent residue and softens clothes. Even fabric softeners without fragrance are unnecessary, they just add chemicals to your clothes.


6. When relaxing at home, have special "pure and natural" clothes that you can feel completely comfortable in. Wrinkled, white on white, may not be a fashion statement, but I sure feel more comfortable in my special "at home clothes". I get mine at


In the winter I wear long underwear under my dark or brightly colored clothes. I like silk the best, it doesn't make me look bulky or make my clothes too tight. has some great styles. Of course, I notice my silk long johns will turn light blue after wearing blue jeans. This dye would normally be deposited on my skin, no wonder blue jeans make me itchy and break out in rashes.


I always like to hear what others do to combat their clothes allergies, please comment on my Allergy Forum.

Home recipes for Poison Ivy

I've written about Poison Ivy before, but it's that time of year when so many people are suffering the effects of the nasty plant. About 15 percent of the 120 million Americans who are allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are so highly sensitive that they break out in a rash and begin to swell in 4 to 12 hours instead of the normal 24 to 48. Their eyes may swell shut and blisters may erupt on their skin. This is a very serious condition.

Doctors can give you a shot of cortisone steroids to bring the swelling down in extreme cases. Many people are allergic to cortisone so sometimes home remedies make the most sense. Some doctors prescribe oral prednisone for 6 days of 60mg, then 6 days of 40mg and finally 6 days of 20 mg.


You can try a Poison Ivy Block Lotion, but beware, you still need to clean off the highly allergic Urushiol Oils so you don't transfer to other parts of the body.

Poison Ivy

IMPORTANT FIRST STEP! The very first thing you should do after working in a garden or walking in the woods is wash with COLD water and a very strong soap like Fels Napha. This laundry soap will cut the oily residue Poison Ivy leaves on the skin (Urushiol Oil) without spreading it around to other areas. Be sure to do this BEFORE you know you have Poison Ivy. The cold water will keep your pores closed so the oil doesn't penetrate. It may take 24 to 48 hours for you to breakout, by that time it will be too late to stop the process.


SECOND STEP: Apply Rubbing alcohol to the effected area. Or try Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub The idea is to remove as much Poison Ivy oil as possible. Be sure to clean the tub, shower or sink carefully with alcohol, so other family members or even you don't pick up the invisible oils. Also wash all towels and sheets that might come in contact with the poison ivy oils. Many people spread poison ivy around their body and to other family members before they even know they have it.


If the Cold water and strong soap and alcohol doesn't remove all the oil and you break out anyway, read below I will list some home remedies to try only after using the first step of the cold water wash to remove the oils.


Ivy Super Dry this product will dry out the blister's in about 2 to 3 day's.

Ivy Dry With Zytrel works miracles with Poison Ivy.


• Hot water treatment: The stuff in your body that makes your skin itch is called histamine. To control the itch some people recommend an antihistamine such as benedryl "the histamine blocker". Another way is to use hot water. What hot water does is it forces the body to make a lot of histamine at once. It takes your body 6-8 hours to regenerate the histamine which why you start itching again. So a hot bath or shower, (as hot as you can stand) will at first hurt, but then help calm down the histamine and itching for about 4-6 hours so you can sleep.


• Chlorine bleach and hot water: Some people swear by swimming in a swimming pool for 30 minutes then laying in the sun. Other use 1 cup of chlorine bleach in a tub full of HOT water. If your rash is only in a small area, you can mix up a water bleach solution and apply it with a wash cloth or cotton balls.


• Baking Soda: 2 boxes of Baking soda in a bath full of hot water. Or for smaller areas, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply as hot as possible.


• Tea Bags: Take a tea bath Use regular tea bags like Lipton or Chinese tea (not herbal). Tea contains caffeine which acts like an "external" steroid and tannins that help to dry out the oozing and reduce the redness. Use about 20 regular tea bags in the hottest water you can stand. Clean you tub out afterwards or it may stain.


• Epson Salts: Use about a cup of Epson Salts to a tub of very hot water.


• Aloe Vera is good to soothe poison Ivy rash.


• Oatmeal contains numerous vitamins and antioxidants that when applied to the skin are absorbed and work to relieve inflammation, itching and pain. Baking soda works to equalize acids on the skin, which will immediately begin to relieve itching and reduce blistering on poison ivy rashes.

Fix the oatmeal according to the directions, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the oatmeal and stir for several minutes. Once the mixture is at a comfortably warm temperature, apply directly to the rash. Allow the oatmeal to dry onto the skin before rinsing with warm water. Repeat as many times as needed for itch and pain relief.

Witch Hazel is commonly used to treat skin conditions due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. When used to treat a poison ivy rash, the nutrients within the liquid will immediately work to soothe itching and reduce the amount of swelling and blistering. Witch hazel also works as an astringent, which will help dry out poison within the skin and reduce the duration of the rash. Witch Hazel Astringent Cleanser


Hope these remedies work for you, I have used most of them myself for Poison Ivy and Poison Sumac relief.

Contact Dermatitis and Chemicals used in the Jewelry Industry 6/27/10

I work with metals because among other things I am a metalsmith, I have a lot of problems with my hands breaking out from all the chemicals I use on a daily basis. Dermatitis is a real hazard for jewelers. Metal workers suffer high rates of skin disorders. If you use any of the chemicals listed below in your work or hobby, you may be at risk.


Contact dermatitis is a group of skin conditions that may be brought on by exposure to chemicals and metals you work with or are exposed to by wearing jewelry or other item s that are in close contact with your skin. I am extremely allergic to nickel as are many other people. Nickel can be found in white gold as well as inexpensive costume jewelry. It usually shows up when the surface plating wears off and the inner nickel touches the skin. Perspiration can make it worse. I am strictly against gold jewelry that contains nickel. White gold made with palladium and yellow gold cost a little more, but is much better and safer product. Ask for it when you buy white gold jewelry.



The list below of causes of contact dermatitis is fully explained in the excellent article at:


Alkalis: soaps, ammonia, lye (sodium hydroxide), potassium hydroxide, potassium carbonate, ammonium carbonate, cement, sodium silicate, trisodium phosphate, amines (epoxies).


Acids: all acids in the shop can cause dermatitis (and worse, of course). These might include sulfuric, hydrochloric, phosphoric, nitric, acetic, and oxalic acids. Salts such as ferric chloride, which releases HCl, and sodium bisulfate pickle, which releases sulfuric acid, are also potential causes of dermatitis.

Oils: cutting and lubricating oils, particularly ones used on machinery, can cause dermatitis, and in some cases acne. All forms of mineral oil, petroleum oils, petroleum pitch, tar, "white spirit" and paraffin.

Solvents and degreasers:
Almost all solvents can cause dermatitis. Assume they all can and take suitable precautions. Examples include petroleum solvents, coal-tar solvents, chlorinated hydrocarbons, esters, ketones, turpentine, terpenes, carbon bisulfide, alcohols.

Oxidizing agents: hydrogen peroxide, bleach, potassium chlorate and certain other salts.

And metals:
nickel and its salts are particularly bad. Other metals and metal salts that cause dermatitis include arsenic (and salts), antimony (and salts), chromium (and chromate salts), copper sulfates, copper cyanide, mercury salts, zinc chloride, and rarely, platinum (and salts).

Other causes include adhesives, epoxies and other synthetic resins, some plastics, soot and friction, especially when dust or grit gets between the skin and clothing (or a ring shank).

Textile allergies- are you allergic to your clothes? 6/15/10

Allergies to clothing is quite common, the reaction is mostly because of the finishes or dyes used on the fabric. More and more fabric finishes are being used everyday, so more and more people are becoming allergic to clothes. This is a subject that I have been very concerned about for the last 10 years or so when my symptoms started.

Textile dermatitis is red bumpy slightly weepy skin rash, usually found in the underarm, inner thighs, inner elbows, around waist and under tight clothing. It may dry out when it heals and flake or peel. I always tell people it's like a bad sun burn. Red painful swollen and weepy at first, later becoming dry and itchy. It then peels or flakes and leaves a darkened, "tan" area for weeks/months. Some people can also have itchy, teary eyes and shortness of breath along with the rash.

• Cotton rarely causes an allergic reaction itself, but azo dyes, disperse dyes and formaldehyde resins used to give a non-wrinkle finish may cause sensitization. White or soft colored soft cotton that has been washed many times is a favorite of mine. has a selection of very soft untreated cotton items.
• Silk is one of my favorite fabrics, it's warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It comes in many different weights for all seasons. Usually the dyes used on silk do not cause allergic reactions. Silk can be layered to protect the skin from more irritating fabrics. I get my silk at
• Polyester along with acrylic, nylon and spandex can cause irritation that could be because of the material itself or the dyes or finishes used.
• Wool may cause irritation in some people, because of the roughness of the fabric or because of a reaction to the lanolin. Cashmere does not bother me as much as regular wool, I must be a true princess.
Causes of textile allergies:
• Dyes, Formaldehyde and N-methylol, fire-retardant coatings, anti-cling, anti-static, moth-proof, mildew resistant, anti-shrink and waterproof finishes.
• Remains of detergent, dyes in the detergent and perfumes in clothes can cause irritation.
• Friction from clothing The areas of the body that come in the closest contact with the affected materials are: underarms, inner thighs, inner elbows, around waist and neck.
• Latex from gloves, rubber additives • Chemicals used to dye and process leather, and glue products.
• Metals, especially nickel in buckles and some jewelry.
• Dyes on inexpensive beaded costume jewelry.
Some things that can make your allergies to clothing worse:
• Heat , humidity and friction
• Clothing that is too tight or too loose
• Clothing that is not washed often enough or rinsed thoroughly
• Dry skin tends to make it worse in the winter.
• Avoid wrinkle-free or crease-free clothes at all times no matter what materials they are made of.
• Wash all clothes before wearing.
• Dry cleaned clothes may need airing and an under garment layer to protect skin.
What you can do:
• Wear natural fiber clothes with little or no dyes next to your skin.
• Use dye-free and perfume-free detergent to wash your clothes. Double rinse if possible.
• Use a perfume-free, dye-free soap or body wash in the shower or tub.
• Bathe often, but very quickly with tepid water, even if skin is dry. The build up of skin flakes and perspiration can be irritating.
• Use a perfume free non-irritating body lotion on your skin.
• See your dermatologist for cortisone cream for short term use. I don't like this cream for long term use and I believe it can be detrimental to your skin and health. I use it only in emergency situations once in a while.

Are the FDA & EPA protecting us from harmful chemicals? 5/24/10

Those of us with allergies are more susceptible to poisons and reactions to chemicals than the general public. So I would like to expand my subject from allergies to a wider problem for all families.

Environmental and public health groups are worried that the chemicals in consumer products need to be more carefully regulated. In 1976 the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) became law. This law was supposed to be the answer to all our concerns about dangerous new chemicals.

Since 1976, the number of chemicals in commercial products has increased from 60,000 to 80,000, yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only required testing on 200 and restricted five. According to the TSCA chemicals are presumed safe unless proven otherwise. This is a major weakness of the Act. The burden of proving the chemicals unsafe is expensive and not popular with major industry and their lobbyists. The process can be greatly influenced by political pressures.

The Safe Chemicals Act (SCA), which was recently introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.,N.J.) would give the EPA greater authority to control new chemicals as well as those now in use. Manufacturers would be required to prove the chemicals in their products are safe. But how much incentive would manufactures have to admit the products they are developing may not be totally safe. How can the safety of a single chemical be determined when consumers are confronted with a barrage of chemicals in daily life which may interact unfavorably with the new chemical?

The Safe Chemicals Act may once again fall to political pressure and greed. How can we as consumers protect ourselves from harmful chemicals? How do you think science and progress can best be monitored and controlled to protect our health? Please comment on my Allergy Discussion Forum.

Beware of Nanoparticles Used in Cosmetics and Sun Screens 4/30/10

What Are Nanoparticles?

A nanoparticle is a piece of material so small that its size is measured in nanometers or billionths of a meter. As a comparison, a typical nanoparticle is approximately 1/50000 smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The size of nanoparticles is their greatest asset and also their greatest health risk.


Why am I writing about nanoparticles on an allergy web blog?

I feel strongly that new technology has the potential to create new allergens or weaken our natural defenses against natural allergens. We should always be aware and on guard to protect our bodies.


Nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter on the molecular level, generally raises no new safety issues, but the tiny particles can behave in unusual ways. In some instances non-toxic materials can become toxic. Existing safety rules do not take into account "safe" non-toxic materials posing risks at the nano scale. Nanoparticles are so small they can infiltrate our skin, lungs and intestinal walls, giving the toxins free access to the body.  For example they can get into our lungs but are so small they are not easily cleared by normal body functions. This causes the lungs to be overburdened and we have to work harder to breathe.


But new research just published in the journal Cancer Research demonstrates that it is the surface interaction the nanoparticles produce inside a body that causes genetic damage. Bottom line: the study conducted by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has revealed for the first time that TiO2 nanoparticles induce single and double-strand DNA breaks and cause chromosomal damage, as well as inflammation, all of which increase the risk of cancer.


Nanoparticles are found in products that are unmarked and commonly used. Two common sources of nanoparticles today are sunscreens and mineral make up. Nanoparticles are used by firms including Boots, The Body Shop, Avon, Nivea and Unilever. (Nanowerk News) Testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth has found nanoparticles in foundations and concealers sold by big name brands, including Revlon, Clarins, Clinique, Max Factor, the Body Shop, L’Oréal, By Terry and Lancôme Paris. The use of nanoparticles in high exposure consumer applications such as cosmetics has attracted increasing controversy as evidence of potential toxicity has grown.


Scientific testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth Australia and carried out by the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility www.

Has found numerous cosmetics that have light defusing properties that use nano articles that can penetrate the skin.


These particles are being used in products without sufficient safety testing. "The cosmetics industry needs to stop burying its head in the sand and come clean about how it is using nanotechnology," said Sue Davies, chief policy adviser at Which? "Many of the applications could lead to exciting, revolutionary developments ... but until all the necessary safety tests are carried out, the simple fact is we just don't know enough. The government must introduce a compulsory reporting scheme for manufactured nano materials ... and only those that are independently assessed as safe should be allowed to be used in cosmetics.


" Dr. Epstein, who is interviewed on Dr. Mercola's web site, has serious concerns about cosmetic products containing nano-particles, and that the facts about these technologies are being hidden and ignored. “There is no labeling of the warning at all of the dangers of these nano-particles, instead they are touted as reducing wrinkling and firming up the skin surface,” he says. These ingredients are used in many different brands of cosmetics and cosmeceuticals, so I encourage you to use this information to evaluate ANY type of cosmetic you’re considering buying. Some of these nano-particles are so dangerous, in fact, they’re slowly but surely becoming known as “universal asbestos.”


Read Dr. Epstein's full article here:


All this talk of Nano-particles makes me think of Michael Crichton's book of fiction "Prey" from 2002. As always Mr. Crichton was ahead of his time. I recommend this book highly for an exciting and thoughtful read.


Please comment on Nano-particles on my Allergy Blog Forum

Bee Sting Allergies 4/15/10

Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are the most common stinging insects in the U.S. One of the best ways to prevent these stings is to leave the insects alone– as many insects many may only sting in self defense.


Wear light colored clothing, avoid perfumes. Wear clean clothing and shower regularly– sweat attracts bees. In addition avoid flowering shrubs and don't leave food containers open.


If you are stung, wash the area with soap and water and remove the stinger by scraping with a fingernail. Do not use tweezers; they can cause more venom to be injected from the stinger.


Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling, and don't scratch because scratching will only make matters worse and can cause infection. It can be helpful to apply an OTC1% hydrocortisone ointment or cream or baking soda paste to the area until the irritation subsides.

Poison Ivy Itching 4/9/10

If you have ever had poison ivy, you know how painful the incredible itching can be. Believe it or not, NOT everyone is allergic to Poison ivy. I spent the first 30 years of my life able to walk through patches of it in the woods with no problems at all. In fact, in Girl Scouts, I was the one they sent into the woods to fetch arrant volley balls.

Then when I was 30, I walked into the shrub border around my back yard with freshly shaved legs. OMG, within minutes the itching started and large blisters formed. This terrible itchy rash lasted two weeks and only subsided when I asked my doctor for prescription strength topical Hydrocortisone cream and pills.

Symptoms of poison ivy for individuals can range from transient redness to severe swelling and blisters that may ooze fluid. A rash usually occurs within 48 hours after coming in contact with the sap of the plant. I have a friend who spent a week at a camp with shared showers. She had not gone into the woods or taken off her shoes and socks all that day. But the person who used the shower right before her had worn sandals in the woods and had poison ivy sap on their feet. My friend picked up a nice case of poison ivy on her feet from the shower floor.

What can you do?

-First of all, know what Poison ivy looks like so you avoid it. I live in the midwest and it grows all over the place and looks like a lot of other plants to me. The plants have groups of three leaves with pointed tips. The leaf edges can be smooth or serrated. Poison oak looks similar to poison ivy, but the leaves have rounded lobs on the sides (like oak leaves). Different areas of the U.S. have poison ivy that has slight modification in looks..



- Poison Sumac looks quite different: The branches are made of up of small leaves that line up down the sides. It's easy to find all three in the fall because the leaves turn a beautiful red. If you want to remove the plants, mark the plants in the fall.  Winter is the best time to remove it from your property. Even if the sap is not running, be careful to cover your skin. Do not burn the plants, the smoke can cause irritation to your eyes.   POISON SUMAC

-Wear long sleeved shirts and pants when hiking through brush; if skin comes in contact with a toxic plant wash with soap and water or a special Ivy Cleanse product within 10 minutes of exposure to reduce the chance of outbreak.

- Use a poison ivy blocking solution to exposed areas of your body. Ivy Block Lotion For Poison Ivy,Oak And Sumac Rash-4Oz Don't forget pets can carry the sap on their fur. Use caution when handling your pet after a romp in the woods. You hands may not be sensitive, but you can spread the sap to other areas of your body.

- Wash all areas that have come in contact with the sap including tools and gloves and shoes soon as possible after exposure. Use a product such as Adventure Medical Kits Ivy Cleanse to be sure to get all traces.

- Use a soothing product such as Ivy Soothe with 1% hydrocortisone to help with the itching. Stronger hydrocortisone cream must have a doctor's prescription. Ivy Soothe 1 % Hydrocortisone Cream --- 1 Oz

- Contact a physician if the reaction occurs in a sensitive part of your body such as the eyes, mouth or groin, or if you experience nausea, vomiting or stomach cramps. I would also say, if you can't sleep because of the itching, call your doctor.

Are your clothes causing an itchy rash? 3/17/10

If you have textile dermatitis, you are not alone, more and more people are becoming sensitive to the clothes they wear. Generally, it is not the cloth itself people are allergic to, but the dyes and finishes added to the fibers. Textile dermatitis also can be caused by detergents used to wash your clothes and fabric softeners.

Textile rashes usually occur at friction points on the body: Under arms, inner elbow areas, behind knees, around waist and inner thighs. Luckily it is usually the areas are hidden by clothes most of the year. The rash can damage the skin to the point that a residual change in texture and color is evident on the skin for several weeks or months after the irritating clothes are removed.

New textile technologies have recently been developed with the goal of giving additional functionality to garments. Textiles have been "improved" to protect against UV radiation, wrinkling, soiling, fading, fire retardancy and many other modern conveniences. All these technologies can cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Certain dyes, especially disperse blue 106 and 124 and some red dyes which are combined in acetate and polyester clothes in all color families except pure yellow and light creams and beige.

There are no guideline by the FDA for a definition for hypo allergenic. One is definitely needed for any clothing item, cleaning product or cosmetic that comes in contact with our skin.

Sensitive individuals should wear 100 percent natural-based fabrics, such as, cotton, linen and silk. 100 percent silk long-sleeved undershirts and slip pants, and loose-fitting clothing really help, all of which should be washed three times prior to wearing with a dye-free, perfume-free detergent. Also double rinse all clothes that come in direct contact with your skin. I do all these things and it really helps. I order 100% silk undershirts and long johns from Winter Silk. They have a full line of styles from very thin and light to heavy weight for winter warmth. I use a dye-free and perfume free detergent like Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda, 50 Load Bag and Nellie's PVC Free Dryer Balls instead of fabric softener.

Watching the Oscars with Itchy Red Skin 3/8/10

I watched the Ocars last night. The Red Carpet part is always so interesting to me because I love fashion and jewelry. As I watched all the cute young things and some not so young things in their strapless creations, I marveled that their skin was so flawless and smooth.


As an allergy sufferer with eczema and contact dermatitis, I can never depend on my skin looking decent on any given day. I know what my triggers for flare-ups are (I think), but being careful doesn't always work. I think stress must play a role in the on-set of the rash. Can you imagine the the stress level of the nominees at the Academy Awards?


One of my allergic triggers is textiles dye, mainly blue and red. Eliminating blue and red eliminates a lot of colors. When you think about it most colors have some blue or red mixed in them except pure yellow which is definitely NOT my color. I mostly wear white and shades of pale beige next to my skin.


I also cannot have any fabric with a coating or finish on it and I can not use any product with perfume in it. So I must watch what moisturizers I use to camouflage my flaky skin. So all my clothes have to be natural materials and be washed several times before wearing. Can you image that glorious Ocar dress after it has been washed a few time in perfume-free and dye-free detergent.


Well, I wasn't nominated for an Oscar this year and doubt I ever will. I just enjoy watching all the fun, stress free on my TV dressed comfortably in my well washed white cotton clothes.

A Strong Immune System for Healing Eczema. 2/25/10

One of the most important keys to fighting eczema is a strong immune system. You can get a strong immune system with a healthy diet. Your body needs to be fed the correct nutrients which will help it keep all your systems running at peak efficiency. There are some food groups that are necessary in healing eczema. These nutrients are best delivered to the body with the food you eat (not supplements). It is impossible to get adequate levels of all nutrients in one meal, so you must vary your diet.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is often associated with good vision and skin which is helped by an increase in the immune system. Since eczema is an immune disease, we can understand the significance of this important nutrient for healing processes. In other words, an eczema flare up may signify a lack of vitamin A (beta carotene) which is an important factor in eczema. There are two forms of vitamin A: beta-carotene and retinol. Focus your attention on beta-carotene foods that are dark green or other dark color, these vegetables include: broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, pumpkins, peppers (all colors) and sweet potatoes. Servings per day of more than one of these vegetables will start the healing process. They are particularly important since they play a dual role of supplying both beta-carotene and fiber, which are crucial to healing eczema. A word of caution, over-dosage of vitamin A can cause problems. That is the reason it is better to get your nutrients by eating these vitamin rich foods instead of taking pills.

Vitamin B
B2 (riboflavin) helps our cells to use oxygen and to promote the repair of tissue / skin health. B3 (niacin) is essential for maintaining cell metabolism and absorption of carbohydrates, which helps healthy skin. Food sources of vitamin B2/riboflavin are milk, cheese, liver, fish and poultry. An important resource for B3/niacin is liver . Vitamin B is a vitamin that vegans should be very careful to include in their diet. Rice and wheat are wonderful foods that contain Vitamin B3, including fortified bread and cereal. But if you are also on a gluten free diet, supplements may be necessary.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine, without the harmful side effects. Vitamin C is important to strengthen the immune system. You must ensure that your body gets a daily intake of vitamin C, because it is not stored in the body.

Fiber is especially important for the health of the digestive system. Fiber promotes good digestion. This will not only help to eliminate the problem of clogging, but it will also remove Candida. Candida is a yeast like parasite that can cause eczema. Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system and helps rid the body of Candida.

Omega-3, Omega 6, Omega-9, GLA and vitamin E
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and vitamin E are responsible for the humidity in your cells. This is important because the moisture content is used as a barrier for the skin as protection against the elements. Some of the food sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are fish, fish oils and shellfish, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables and nuts. EFA is certainly a very important factor to relieve suffering from eczema, but don't forget the other vitamins in the list above. Eating the right food is the first step toward healing eczema. I hope the list above helps you to become more acquainted with the nutrients in food that can help to make you more health conscious and aware of the benefits in the food you consume.

Please make a comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Banish Dry Skin Without Costly Prescription Cream 2/17/10

You don't have to spend your winters in dry, tight, itchy skin. I have incredibly dry, sensitive skin. I've had eczema for the last 10 years, the severity of it changes depending my stress level, the weather, and on my exposure to allergens. There are four products that have helped me to keep my skin healthy with very little medicated creams or ointments, and since I began using them regularly, my eczema is somewhat under control. They are dye and fragrance free, and I recommend them without hesitation to everyone with eczema I meet.


On my face I use Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion for all skin types (not the oily skin version). The Cetaphil cleans my skin without leaving it dry or irritated. Even though it is a moisturizing cleanser, it does not leave a greasy film. Instead, my skin is soft and supple, not tight and dry. I then use a Neutrogenia moisturizing lotion.


In the shower I use Dove for sensitive skin. It is not completely fragrance free, but has a very soft pleasant fragrance. This fragrance has not irritated my skin and my dermatologists recommended it along with Aquaderm and Cetaphil. Dove is a unique body bar (it is not really soap) it leaves no "soap scum" in the bath or shower walls or on my skin. The ph of dove is 6 the same as healthy skin. Most soaps have a ph of 7-9, that's why they cause dryness. I tried the Cetaphil cleansing bar and Aquaderm and did not like them as well. After I eliminated all fragrances from my life, I found it amazing how annoying some fragrances can be. I hate the smell of Cetaphil's Cleansing Bar and Neutrogena's unscented Cleansing Bar.


After my shower, I apply Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Cream in the big jar. I have tried everything and this works the best for me. Eurerin is too stiff and paste-like to spread evenly on my irritated skin without considerable discomfort, Cera Ve is a little too thin. Other advertised brands either had too much perfume or did not moisturize enough. Sarna Sensitive was a complete bust for me, after the sedative wore off I was itching like crazy.


Prescription brands were no better and cost a lot more. My dermatologist prescribed a hydrocortisone cream (Topicort) to help with the eczema, and it helped dramatically at first. After using it for several years I noticed a change in my skin in the affected areas. The skin seemed thinner and less supple and the texture was changed. Hydrocortisone cream is not to be used long term on large areas of the skin. I no longer use it at all except for emergencies. You know, those times when you've purchased a sleeveless dress for a special occasion and your arms break out in a blistery rash three days before the event. Hopefully this blog will help someone else to find the products that work best for them. Comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum about what works best for you.


Please make a comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Nickel Allergies 2/5/10

I have had nickel allergies for many years. Many people do, but don't realize it because they don't know that much of the costume jewelry that is sold and most white gold jewelry contains nickel. If you get a rash from a belt buckle, watch, glasses, rings or if your ears get red and swollen wearing earrings it's probably the nickel in the metal.

I think white gold is the worst culprit. If you buy cheap earrings or a belt, you might expect the metal to be made of a cheap material like nickel. But, when you buy an engagement ring or wedding ring of white gold you pay a lot of money and expect quality.


Be sure to question your jeweler about what kind of white gold he is using.

14K white gold is made of 14 parts yellow gold and 10 parts white metal. The white metal is usually is nickel or palladium. Palladium cost a lot more than nickel so nickel is what is used most of the time in jewelry. Most white gold rings are rhodium plated before being sold. This coating looks better and helps with the nickel allergy at first, but as the coating wears off, more nickel touches the skin. Then the allergies start.


It is illegal (and has been for some time now) to sell jewelry in the UK, and in Europe, that contains nickel. I don't know why the U.S. has not taken a stand on this issue. Allergy to nickel has grown recent years, largely because of the introduction of cheap fancy jewelry in which the underlying metal layer consists of nickel. 10% to 12% of the female population and 6% of the male population are estimated to be allergic to nickel. The allergy is not caused by nickel itself but by the nickel salts which are formed under the effect of perspiration in contact with the piece of jewelry or watch.


What can you do if you want to wear white gold or costume jewelry? There are temporary coatings that can be used to form a barrier between the nickel and your skin to prevent allergies, they go on like fingernail polish. Athena Allergy Nickel Solution Detect & Protect is one that also have a nickel detection solution.


Please make a comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Acupuncture for allergy relief expensive and short lived 1/14/10

Last January I was totally fed up with my allergic contact dermatitis. This was before I found out I was allergic to textile dyes and perfume in detergents and fabric softeners. It was cold, I had been wearing blue jeans, dark colored turtle necks, black socks and sweaters, which I now realize are very bad for my allergic skin. I was hearing a lot of good things about a certain acupuncturist in town. It seemed like she could cure anything with a few well placed needles.

I was skeptical about the whole acupuncture thing, but desperate to find relief. I’m not afraid of needles so that didn’t bother me, I had heard it didn’t really hurt. I ended up visiting this acupuncturist twice a week for seven visits at a cost of approx. $55 to $58 per visit including Chinese vitamin supplements. My health insurance did not cover these fees.


The treatment was not really painful, just uncomfortable. Laying completely still for 10 to 15 minutes at a time with 12 to 15 10" needles stuck in various parts of your body is uncomfortable. I wasn’t supposed to move until she would come back into the room remove the needles and have me turn over for the other side. She also tried “cupping”, which was really weird. She used these glass cups which she would remove the air from so they sucked onto my back and stomach. It seemed like they would remain in place for hours, but it was really only only about 10 minutes. Cupping hurts, I hated it. It left big round “hickeys” on my skin that lasted for two weeks.


After my seventh visit, she said she and her husband were going on a month long vacation to Italy and suggested I purchase a special aloe cream to use while she was gone. At this time my dermatitis was clearing up and I was a lot more comfortable. I hoped it was the end of my treatment. How long could I continue, I was running out of patience and money.


The Aloe cream turned out to be a disaster. It was like rubbing acid on my skin. Within minutes my skin was red and burning, then masses of blisters formed everywhere I had rubbed the cream. I was mad, she was in Italy enjoying herself on my hard earned money, $395 so far, and I was in misery. I did not go back, I never saw her again. Did it work? Maybe, I did find some relief during that time.


My temporary relief from my skin allergy also could have been influenced by other factors, like double rinsing my clothes which I had started to do during that time. Maybe I was wearing older lighter colored clothes without realizing it was helping me.

Should you try acupuncture? How much money do you have and how desperate are you? Does it work for contact dermatitis? I’m not sure. If any readers has an experience with acupuncture and allergic conditions I’d love to hear about it. Please make a comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Are 'Hypo allergenic' products really allergy free? 1/6/10

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that there is no federal standards or regulations to govern the use of the term "hypo allergenic". This term may be applied without any proof that the product causes fewer allergic reactions than others. The manufacturers themselves are responsible for carrying out any tests they feel are necessary for their packaging and advertising.


This statement would lead us to believe that "Hypo allergenic" on the label is just a marketing tool and has very little meaning. The FDA also does not require that all cosmetic ingredients be listed on product labels. So consumers have no way of avoiding certain the chemicals they know they have an allergic reaction to. I have tried calling the consumer 800 numbers for these products and still have not been able to get the true ingredients. One company I called, said it was proprietary information when I was asked for the percentage of alpha hydroxy in their product.


On the other hand, I have always had better luck with products marked "hypo allergenic" than the ones that are not marked this way. Just eliminating the heavy perfumes helps my allergies to a certain extent. Most "hypo allergenic" products will still have a light "masking" perfume. If you have ever smelled Nuetrogena's completely unscented you soap will appreciate a light masking scent.


If a product says it is dermatologist approved, that only means that a dermatologist checked the list of ingredients and pointed out if any of them were highly known to cause allergic reactions. This still does not mean that a product that is labeled hypo allergenic and dermatologist approved still won’t cause an allergic reaction in some people.


Please make a comment on the Allergy Comfort Zone Forum

Your Red Irritated Itchy Winter Skin 1/3/10

I have allergic contact dermatitis an allergy resulting from my skin's contact with allergens to which I have developed a sensitivity. I also have eczema, a reaction pattern on the skin with various causes... (that's a lot of help). I can't tell the difference but my dermatologist says I have both. It really doesn't matter to me, all I know is I'm darned uncomfortable most of the time.


Although the exact incidence of textile contact dermatitis is unknown, recent studies have shown that contact dermatitis produced by allergic or irritant reactions to clothing not only is more frequent than previously thought but also increasing. This increase in allergies has been rationalized by a "hygiene hypothesis," which attributes the increase to reduced microbial exposure in early life, especially in developed countries. This means we keep our surroundings too clean.


In the winter most of us suffer with dry skin and that seems to make contact dermatitis and eczema worse. We also wear more clothes which in the case of textile dermatitis makes things go from bad to worse to worst. The trick is to try to figure out what you are allergic to and try to eliminate as many irritants as possible.


•  Perfumes are a very prevalent irritant for both respiratory and skin allergies
•  Dyes, this is a big one for me. I am allergic to red and blue disperse dyes. All colors except pure yellow have at least a little red or blue in them.
•  Most cases of homemaker's eczema (mostly on hands )are irritant contact dermatitis resulting from repeated skin exposure to low-grade skin irritants, particularly soaps, water, and detergents. detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate in combination produce more irritant contact dermatitis in combination than singly
•  Another common irritant to those with allergies are protein hydrolysates, found in many conditioning shampoos, intensive conditioners, and skin creams. These proteins help to quickly add moisture to dry, damaged hair and skin. Unfortunately, they also cause moderate allergic reactions in many people. Therefore, it is best to purchase hypo allergenic products that do not contain protein hydrolysates.
•  Textile coatings and finishes, modern clothes are covered in all sorts of helpful finishes and coatings like formaldehyde. Most clothing companies, have no idea what exactly is on their clothes, because the fabric and clothes are made in China.
•  Synthetic and natural fibers. Some people are allergic to synthetic fibers fabrics and others natural fibers like wool and down.
•  Patch testing for contact allergies should include: para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which historically has been considered to be a screening allergen for textile dye dermatitis, is included in most baseline patch test series. Some disperse dyes known to cause contact allergy are included in textile patch test screening series but not in commercially available baseline patch test series.


What should you do?

You can either save your self some time and have professional patch testing done by your doctor and then experiment with eliminating the things you are shown to have a reaction to, or save yourself a lot of money but use more of your time to just use your brain and start eliminating likely irritants. I ended up doing both, my first patch test was non conclusive, A slight reaction to everything including the tape. The right irritants were not used and this test set me back $900 out of pocket. The only place in my city that offered the test was not on my health insurance's preferred provider list.


Then, I took matters into my own hands and started experimenting. First I eliminated all perfumes from all health and beauty products, this helped. I then started buying Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda, 50 Load Bag . I started running the rinse cycle twice on loads of laundry. This helped a lot for a while.


Then I noticed that in the winter my dermatitis was worse. My husband came up with the idea of the dyes in textiles being an irritant after he read an article in the Wall Street Journal of all places about the increase of textile allergies. I usually wear darker clothes in the Winter. I love red, bright pink, green and blue clothes, these all contain red and blue dye. Once I started experimented with wearing white or light cream or yellow clothes it really helped. I had been dying my salt and pepper hair brown since my mid 30's. I stopped and my scalp cleared up within a month.


There are no legal standards of labeling something Hypo allergenic. The manufacturer decides whether to use the claim and the decision is not free from their own self-interest. I have found that beauty products labeled as hypo allergenic have less offensive perfumes than unmarked products. Very few are completely free or allergens.

Almay is one inexpensive brand of cosmetics that I have been able to use. My dermatologist suggested it because it was less expensive than others with the hypo allergenic label.


I also use Cetaphil perfume free lotions for cleaning my face and lubricating my dry irritated skin. Eurerin perfume free is thick and greasy and helps with dryness, but I find it is so thick it drags on my sensitive skin when I try to smooth it on. Cera Ve has also been a good moisture lotion for dryness. I have tried a lot of products and these inexpensive ones seems to work as well as the expensive brands.


I successfully used topical hydrocortisones, such as Desoximetasone .25 (prescription strength) for many years, but I found it was thinning and changing the texture of my skin. I was using it on large areas of my body. I now only use it when I absolutely need to clear up an area quickly in 2 to 4 days. Lower dosage hydrocortisone creams can be purchased over the counter.


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