Allergy Testing Oh Yeah…..! {journal}

The first week of March I did allergy testing through the dermatologist.

He did patch testing, which involves putting patches of common skin allergens and chemicals on your back on a Monday. On Wednesday they take them off, and then check them again on Friday. There is no showering, no sweating, no allergy meds…

My back on Monday, and then on Wednesday
My back on Monday, and then on Wednesday

And as I chose- no interactions with the outside world or people….

However for my pain and agnony (it really wasn’t that bad…unpleasant at best) I got some results! Which in and of itself is amazing since the chances of finding out what you are allergic to through this method is about 33-36%. 

I had 3 that reacted between Wednesday and Friday. At least one, maybe two, were itchy by the time I got home from them putting on the patches! Under the watchful eye of my PB, we took pictures with my phone and documented the changes so my dermatologist could see. Which in his words “saved this test”, since I couldn’t live in his office for a week… And my worst reactions happened between visits.

After seeing him Friday I came home and almost immediately showered 🙂 I had one more patch turn red at that point. And then the following week I got major hives in one tiny little spot on my back (they are actually still fading despite allergy meds and topic steriods!) We added those 2 to the list as well.

My list of allergens from the test:

Nickel (commonly found in jewelry)

Quaternium-15 (preservative is beauty products)

Balsam of Peru (aromatic, both cosmetic and food sourses)

Lyral (or Hydroxymethylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyde) (fragrance)

Propolis (waxy resin made by bees)

Thankfully my dermatologist office sent me a PDF safe list that is generated to avoid your allergens as well as their cross reactors. It’s generated through the CARD database, which has an iPhone app, but it is currently not working so I’m using either the PDF or web version. 

Basically, everything with fragrance is out for me. And that is not “unscented” that is “fragrance free”, because unscented generally just means they used chemicals to cover up the smell of the rest of the chemicals. Certain companies of cosmetics and beauty products are out depending on the preservatives they use.

Over this past weekend I finished sorting and reading the labels on all my beauty, hair, and lotion products. Which I actually had a pretty big collection of; stuff I’d tried and never used a lot of, stuff I kept around hoping to use some day when my skin calmed down, stuff I wasn’t fond of, stuff I love, stuff I used once and a while, and stuff I used every day… The collection is going to be a lot smaller going forward… 

These used to be full!
These used to be full!

It was a bit depressing quite honestly. After going through drawers and makeup bags and shelves, I’m left with 2 hair products, 2 eye shadow palettes, 3 eye pencils, 1 foundation (that’s way too old and I didn’t even like when it was new), 2 organic mascaras, a couple lip colors, and 2 tinted lip balms (if I ignore Burt’s Bees “all natural” aroma/flavor). I cheer myself up with the fact that a handful of my besties are about to be blessed! 😉

Give away pile
Give away pile

I also found it difficult because my more natural product brands are not on my safe list from the dermatologist, but I can’t see if they don’t make my safe list or are just not in the database. Since a lot are smaller companies, I hope for the latter… I’ve also been using the EWG Skin Deep database to check stuff, since most my allergens don’t get good marks, the products they are in don’t either. 

Going forward I obviously need to find products that don’t include any of my known allergens, or their cross reactors, but also I will be looking for products that get a good score (low number) on the EWG Skin Deep database.