Work In Progress

I have suffered with eczema for 13 years. It just popped up one day and decided to never leave. My most common flare ups occur on my face which has severely affected my self confidence. Going through high school with a weird rash all over your body was really tough. Eventually we linked it to quite a few food allergies and that alleviated it for about 5 years. I had the occasional flare up here and there but nothing major. This winter my husband and I moved to a new state with a different climate and here I sit with a flare up on my face again. My job requires me to be on stage with a camera in my face every weekend and I dread having to try and cover it up because that doesn’t help a thing. I’ve been on a fairly recent journey to try and become more natural with my products and more whole in my eating to try and overcome this. I found your blog and have been so encouraged. No one in my circle has suffered from eczema so I’m just walking around embarrassed with no one to talk too or help me out. Finding your blog and the links to others and realizing that there is a community for people who suffer from eczema is amazing. Hopefully I can find a way to heal and I know your blog will provide me with so much knowledge! Thank you for all you do!
— anonymous Allergista reader

I'm so happy that you found me as well as our eczema community! I know what a great advantage it can be to hear other people's stories and solutions. Eczema can really feel like a never ending battle sometimes.

Ugh, high school kids can be really mean... I'm so sorry to hear that you went through that. Having your eczema in such an obvious place - especially having to frequently be in front of a camera - can't be easy! Here's what I do when my eczema freaks out and as far as products go, there are great stores on both the allergy resource page and the eczema resource page.

Major life changes like moving or stressful events can really flare up our eczema, so I'm hoping that yours will be able to calm down with a little TLC and move on to adjusting to your new environment.

I wish you a speedy recovery! Hang in there and make sure to reach out to all of us if you need to! That's what we're here for :-)


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Propylene Glycol Free Products for Curly Hair

SOOO many of you send me e-mails and write on my facebook page about your propylene glycol allergy. In fact, it's one of the top allergens that bring people to this website.

Like myself, you know what a pain in the @$$ it is to find hair products. You probably have about a one in six chance of finding a product you can actually use.

It's times like this that we should thank our lucky stars for the internet! There are a zillion more options online.

While propylene glycol isn't listed in any of these products, we must all still beware of artificial colors and botanical extracts due the fact that propylene glycol can be hidden inside them.

Hidden ingredients add a whole new level of difficulty when it comes to allergies.

None of these products shown below contain extracts and as far as I know, I've never had a reaction to artificial colors. Regarding fragrance, when I went through my allergy patch testing... I didn't react to the "fragrance" section of patches, so I typically don't worry about it. 

Trying to tame curly tresses without product can be like trying to squeeze water from a brick... and then you take that brick and smash it into smitherines because your hair won't cooperate. And that sucks.

We don't want that, now do we?

So, I did a bit of searching online for you! I found twelve different types of styling products:

These days, I use the Strictly Curls Cream in the yellow bottle and love it. Great stuff!

Do you have any to add?


What Are Epinephrine Auto Injectors?

Chances are, if you have allergies, you've heard of Epinephrine. It's used in auto injectors which are administered when somebody is having a life threatening allergic reaction, most commonly anaphylaxis. The most popular brand of epinephrine auto injector is the EpiPen.

Luckily for me, my breathing is rarely affected by my allergens. Benzoic acid seems to be the only one that really sets me off in that direction, but my throat has never fully closed up.  I've had a couple other random run-ins like this one, but again... I was still able to breathe the whole time even though it was difficult. I should still get an auto injector, though, because those symptoms could quickly turn severe.

So, what is epinephrine?

“Epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline, is a hormone secreted by the medulla of the adrenal glands. Strong emotions such as fear or anger cause epinephrine to be released into the bloodstream, which causes an increase in heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism. This reaction, known as the “Flight or Fight Response” prepares the body for strenuous activity.”
— University of Delaware

This same hormone is life-saving when it comes to:

  • anaphylactic shock
  • cardiac arrest
  • asthma attacks

Epinephrine auto injectors are easy to use, portable and make it possible to inject epinephrine quickly without having to use a normal syringe.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, these severe symptoms indicate that an epinephrine auto injector should be used:

  • shortness of breath
  • repetitive coughing
  • weak pulse
  • generalized hives
  • tightness in the throat
  • trouble breathing/swallowing
  • combination of symptoms from different body areas such as hives, rashes, or swelling on the skin coupled with vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain

With Thanksgiving around the corner, food allergies may be amiss whether it's yours or somebody else's at Thanksgiving dinner.

Knowing how to administer an epinephrine auto injector is key.

I've gathered up an interesting handful of videos for you watch - which covers a lot of info including:

  • When to use an epinephrine auto injector
  • How to use an epinephrine auto injector
  • What NOT to do
  • Advice from a doctor
  • A parent's personal experience of administering for the first time
  • A girl's experience of injecting herself (explicit language)

Make sure to check out this super awesome Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan from F.A.R.E as well! It also gives more specific instructions on how to use the various brands.

Have you administered an epinephrine auto injector?

What was the experience like?

sources: University of DelawareACAAI, US National Library of Medicine