Allergy to Rosin, Nickel, Cobalt and Budesonide

I a mom if three beatiful children, my oldest daughter is allergic to rosin (colophony), nickel, cobalt and budesonide. Her two more agressive allergies are rosin and nickel. She has very severe contact dermatitis. The hardest part of this journey was 6 years ago when she was 9 years old. Her legs started developing a rash, that soon became infected huge blisters oozing and bleeding. The first doctor said she had a atopic dermatitis and gave her corticosteroid that didnt make anything better. Things were getting worst, the rash was all over her shins, she was sent by her pediatrician to the ER were tgey treated her for MRSA (that at the end was negative) with very strong antibiotic called clyndamicin. We were sent back home.

After going repeatedly to the same pediatrician and not getting any different answers, we decided to try a new one. As soon as i went to the new dr, she sent mu daughter again to ER because st this point the rash was spreading to her back and face. She was admitted to the hospital and treated for staph and severe dermititis with efusion. She was on IV antibiotics for 5 days, and everyday she was take to a stainless steel bath tub where they did bleach baths and after that covered her in topical medicines and covered her whole legs with bandages. During her time at the hospital they tested her for diferent things for example Lupus and Celiac Disease they all came negative. It was a very frustrating time. She also received life coaching becuase at this point all this uncertainty was afecting her so much in her confidense and trust. During her stay her legs did get better and we were hoping that was the end of it. But as soon as we got home the nightmare started again. I decided to start sending her pictures to research facilities in mayor hospitals like john hopkings hoping someone would have an answer. I was told she had numular excema and that she would have to learn coping strategies since she would allways have this horrible disfiguring rash.

After maybe 6 months of this struggling our pediatrician sent us to a dermatologist that gave her a T.R.U.E patch test, there she tested positive for rosin, nickel, cobalt and budesonide. We went home and took all school uniform blue socks and put them in the garbage, got white socks instead, we met with the school to cover all metal chairs that she used so she would not have contact with nickel, shenhad to sit out playground time becuase the rubber mulch in the playground might have contained rosin. After all this efforts NOTHING changed. The rash was still there oozing and bleeding. Summer came and we went on a trip to our native country in South America for one month. There finally the rash disapeared. We were finally getting over this nightmare. But then ofcourse we started to think there was an allergy to something in the air of our city were we live, maybe a plant or a type of pollen. We really considered moving back to South America. After all, what we wanted was our daughter’s health back and it seemed it was only possible there.

So we came back to Miami ready to pack our stuff, but i told my husband “before we leave lets make sure were are not packing the allergen with us”. We decided to empty our house completely and just like when you start a baby with solid food, introduce one thing at a time. So we were left with one bed for all 5 of us and nothing else. We ate in the floor and the rest was open space. We brought in one piece of furniture every three days. And finally the culprit showed up! It was the kitchen stools i had bought a year before from a major store. It never occured to me that this could be the problem, specially becuase they were leather stools. Well when i did resaerch on the stools materials i found out that leather is treated sometimes wit abietic acid (another name for colophony or rosin). And then just like that she finally started getting better. Slowly she regained her confidence and life was beatiful for her again. (It is amazing how hard for a little girl it can be to have uncertainty about your health and to not be able to wear shorts or play at park with out worries.)

Years have passed since then and we have completely ignored the fact that rosin is not her only allergy even though is the worst one. Two years ago we had another long episode of uncertainty when she started to wake up often with her eyes swollen shut and her legs full of blisters again. Of course detective mom to the rescue! We tried to figure out were she was being exposed to rosin but we couldnt pin point it. Again we were referred to a rheumatologist who looked for different autoimune disease like Lupus that sometimes manifest with these bad rashes. Again all was negative. So we were back at square one. Looking for the source! Not an easy task. And finally we found it! My daughter is a ballet dancer and that year she had started dancing pointe. Well it turns out dancers use rosin on their shoes to have grip and not slip. There you go again rosin the culprit!

And again we where faced with the decition of giving up on dreams of being a dancer and find somethibg else to do, only that i am not one that gives up easily. So after long research hours i found a man that makes synthetic rosin for string instruments, contacted him and he is now selling rosin to us. We provide the dynthetic rosin for all of the dancers at the school. This is the only way we can be sure she will not be exposed. I hope this person will allways be available to sell us the rosin, he really does not produce rosin for dancers i buy ut directly from him. We are forever thankfull of him because thanks to his creation my daughter can still dance.

My daughter is now 13 years old and most of the time she has no rashes but they do appear every so often so we decided to go back to the dermatologist and get tested again. This time her patch test included 126 reactives. And again her results were the same nickel, rosin, cobalt, and budesonide. The dr. says her ocassional rashes are most likely from the constant nickel exposure, so know we need to take care of thAt. For now i have ordered the nickel tester and im waiting for it. Also looking for an alternative to hair removal because shaving has nickel and wax has rosin. Not many options left. It is very difficult to completely avoid this allergens but we try our best everyday.

My heart goes out to all the ones that suffer without an answer. Hang in there and be proactive!!! Answers might be hard to find but they exist. We are so thankfull that at least we now know what to avoid. Everyday is a new adventure. Im thinking that by this time next week i will be testig my whole house for nickel. Wish us luck!
M.H.

Wow, best of luck to you! I wish I could send you all the luck in the world! Looking for the culprit can be SUCH a long and rough test of one's patience... hats off to you for figuring it out time and time again! Finding the culprit is such a great feeling... it's definitely worth all of the detective work. Your daughter is lucky to have such a committed mother! As far as hair removal, maybe she could try products like nair or think about laser hair removal...

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Skintifique: products for people with nickel allergy

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you may remember me talking about this new product line out there called Skintifique. The purpose of their most interesting product is to create a barrier between your skin and the nickel out there in the world. It sounds like a dream, right?

It took me some time, but I did some tests and… I think I’m more confused than I ever was before. After waiting and waiting for my skin to be 100% clear so I could test the product out without any complications… I just couldn’t wait anymore. Not only did I want to know if it worked for me, but the owner of the company so generously gave me a number of items and I wanted to get a review up soon.

So, I began my tests… during one, I held onto nickel plated nail clippers for long periods of time…

Another time, I put on the lotion and went about my day. Nothing happened.

I also held onto quarters...

And then nickels because they have more nickel in them than quarters do (go figure):

Again, nothing happened even after about 30 minutes. I'M SUPPOSEDLY SO ALLERGIC TO NICKEL... I was told I react like poison ivy and I've watched myself touch metal and react soon after. I don't get it!

Aside my from my skin getting slightly itchy at certain points, I saw no actual reaction in the way of redness/bumps. While I was excited, I felt like I had to do a more controlled test.

I took nickels (which are 25% nickel  these days), and strapped two groups of them to my arm... they were made in the same year and everything. I drew a line down the middle and on one side, rubbed some Skintifique nickel protectant. I placed a nickel on the Skintifique side and a nickel on the other side which had no protectant. That was my control group.

Hot, right? It's a 100% cotton sock and a rubber band for vegetables.

So, after hours of waiting I took off the sock, removed the nickels and waited.

The result? Well, first of all… the control group nickel didn’t cause any reaction on my skin! What’s that all about? I was told that I react like poison ivy… my full-of-nickel eyelash curler used to destroy my fingers… and touching doorknobs at work used to warrant my crazily scratching my palms all day long…

And then get this… I REACTED ON THE SKINTIFIQUE SIDE! But I ONLY reacted where the nickel touched my skin… I didn’t react on the square shaped area where I rubbed the lotion… My reactions were in a circular shape – ONLY under the nickel. It seemed that I was having an allergic reaction to the chemical reaction of the nickel and the lotion coming together! I mean, seriously? Wow.

I was positive that I kept track of which side had the protectant, but hey, I don't know it all and sometimes I make mistakes like we all do… so I did it again. And this time, I wrote ON my arm which side HAD it and which side DIDN'T.

I. GOT. THE. SAME. RESULT.

You can see the top toward my wrist was the one where I didn't draw an actual line and label. Below, is the test where I wrote it on my arm. The hazy "wo" stands for "without" and the other side (which you can barely see) says "w" for "with". See the round nickel-sized areas on the "with" side? The top one has had longer to become irritated at that point in the photo, which is why it's easier to see the bumps on that one than it is with the one below it. (I also have other random irritations that were there to begin with.

So...I wasn’t crazy. Or forgetful.  But I am perplexed. I accept the fact that my skin reacts to a chemical reaction…. BUT WHY DIDN’T I REACT TO THE NICKELS? I even tested them and yes they had nickel in them. Is my allergy giving me a break? Perhaps it’s going away? Maybe I don't react as quickly as I thought? With some allergens, I have to be exposed for a while before a reaction will occur.

I think I need to do another round of contact allergen testing after I get married this summer. There’s enough going on right now that I don’t want to add doctors to the mix (if I can get away with it), but I intend to figure this out…

In the meantime, you must check out Skintifique. It might work for you! I've actually done video chats with the owner (who lives in Paris) and she's told me that they have an 80% percent success rate. They've distributed it to people and asked for reviews themselves and it's now also being fed through doctors offices and people are doing well with the product. She and her husband own the company together and they are both chemists, so they're very well schooled in creating products like this. I can tell that she's a very genuine person and really cares about being able to help others gain some relief from uncomfortable and painful skin allergies. With an 80% success rate, it's definitely worth a shot!

I asked the owner, Elizabeth, if she's ever seen anybody else have a reaction like mine... one where they react to a chemical reaction between nickel and the cream. She said no. Somehow, I wasn't surprised. That's kinda just how my skin goes - it likes to throw curve balls! It definitely gave her something to think about, though. 

ALSO, I tried all of their other products and had no allergic reactions at all. They were all great! She included in the package:

The hand gel is amaaaaazing. It’s a moisturizer and is getting rave reviews in our household. My skin can get dry, but my fiance's gets incredibly insanely dry in the winter. It had his skin in great shape even a couple days later after using it for just one night. He LOVES it.

A big thanks to the people at Skintifique for letting me try their products and allowing an honest review to be posted!

You guys rock.

 

The Allergista Made an Appearance in Allergic Living!

Woohoo! Check it out!

the allergista
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If you haven’t heard of Allergic Living, head on over to their website now! It’s a great magazine focused on, you guessed it, allergies! I actually made my debut appearance in their print magazine (the U.S. version) last year.

This time around, they were looking for people with severe nickel allergies so I couldn't resist reaching out to them. The woman who interviewed me asked about the sort of struggles I deal with... from nickel in razors (and a zillion other items) to my hunny making me a guitar just so I can learn to play. Needless to say, I had plenty to talk about with her. This mini article was actually featured in one of their cover stories called "A Rash on the Digital Age" which is about modern technology containing nickel and the allergic reactions people have had because of it. These days, you can find nickel in cell phones, tablets AND laptops. 

A big thanks to the awesome people at Allergic Living for featuring me!

Pick up a copy here!

The Engagement

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you know that...

MY HUNNY ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM!!!

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It was so magical and awesome and thoughtful... he made me feel like the most special person ever :-) :-) And he actually surprised me! It's pretty hard to surprise me.

He did it on a day that he was at home all day and I was at work. This gave him the time to get everything ready...

When I came home, I noticed a red glow which struck me as odd. When I walked up to our door, I saw this in our trees:

Isn't it SWEET? I still haven't had the heart to take it down (no pun intended)!.

That's when I knew something was up ;-)

When I opened the door, there were flowers and lights everywhere, a record playing, and my hunny stood there all dressed up with a new haircut. He was holding both of our pets - one in each arm... and the little guys were dressed in matching tuxedos!

Then, he got down on one knee and popped the question:

And of course I said YES! He also VIDEO TAPED the whole thing! That photo above is a screenshot from said video :-) After this, he swept me off to a nice dinner which is where we took the photo of both of us and the ring. The restaurant was quiet as it was a little later in the night and we had a great time celebrating with just the two of us. It was perfect :-)

And this is what the boys were wearing:

Aren't they adorable?!? It all just melts my heart <3

I can't wait to marry the the most awesome person that I've met - ever. We've been together for five years and have been living together for four and a half... and it's been everything I thought it could be - and more! I'll be marrying the sweetest, most honorable and interesting guy on the face of this earth... There's nobody else I'd rather fall in love with over and over :-) I knew from the first night we hung out that this was going to be something special... something unlike any other relationship I've been in. Turns out, he's got every single trait I'd want in a partner... and I never really kept a list! He continues to amaze me as a person and I'm grateful for all the time I've had with him. I also have him in all my dreams for the future... I love love love him!

And before I start sobbing happy tears, let's get onto the ring ;-) Here's a closer look!

Isn't it beautiful? He did very well, eh? ;-) And it's exactly what I wanted! It's hard not to just stare at it all day...

As far as the metal content and my nickel allergy, nickel is in most gold since gold is so soft. Nickel make it's harder. Platinum rings are reeeeally expensive and I'd rather have a bigger stone than a platinum band, so this was the route to go. This is white gold coated in rhodium. The jeweler said I should get it re-dipped in rhodium one or twice a year depending on the severity of my allergy. We'll see how my skin does. Either way, it's so nice to have the option of rhodium!

So, yeah... we're engaged :-) And I literally couldn't be happier to marry the man of my dreams. I think we're going to do something outside this summer, but we'll see! I don't want to leak too many details at this point. This early in the game, venues and all of the other decisions to be made are still kinda up in the air!

Let the games begin, though... I'm ready! <3 :-)

Introducing... Skintifique! Products for People Allergic to Metals

A few months ago, I received an email from one of the owners of Skintifique. The email was actually all the way from Paris! I dream of Paris, so that was kind of exciting for me :-)

She told me that her and her husband had been working on a line of products that have proven to help people with metal allergies such as nickel and chromium. Since nickel has been such a problem for me (see a day in the life of my nickel allergy here), we both agreed that I seem like a perfect candidate.

On October 11th, I did a video chat with her to learn a little more:

Her adorable son took part as well - popping in every now and then :-) We had a great talk and she said she'd send me some products, which I was very grateful for!

After dealing with my post office telling me my p.o. box was closed, figuring out that it wasn't, losing and then finding the package, I finally got my hands on their products. It might have been a month later, but I got them. I also may have gone slightly insane in the process.

From left to right:

How it works: You apply the protective cream and rub it in. I was told that the results vary from person to person, but that people have been able to go hours with this barrier and had no reaction! Seems miraculous!

The cleanser does just what it sounds like it does - cleans your hands of metal irritants. The lotion is also said to have protective qualities and the hydrating gel is for battling dry skin (which we all know about if you have to keep washing irritants off your hands). The owner also told me that people have used the protective cream with earrings with success. Pretty impressive!

I'm actually doing my last test with the protective cream as I type this. I have two nickels (which are actually 25% nickel per The United States Mint) strapped to my arm. One with protective cream underneath and one without. When you're allergic to tape and synthetic fabrics, you come up with ideas like this. Stylish, right?:

It's a 100% cotton sock and a rubber band. YUP.  I'm still trying to decide whether or not to rock this bad boy at the grocery store... So far, it's been on for two hours. I'm not itchy, so I guess I should leave it on for a while longer.

I'll keep you posted on my results, but either way, you should definitely check out these products! People have had success with them and I haven't seen ANYTHING else like it on the market. It's worth a shot!

You can buy the protective cream online for $28.24 right here on their website. Here are the ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Calcium Carbonate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bisabolol, Ceteareth-20, Carbomer, Chlorphenesin, Tocopheryl Acetate

Get in contact with Skintifique through the links below:

Official Website

Facebook

Twitter

Stay tuned...