SHARE YOUR STORY: Dishydrotic Atopic Eczema Turns to True Test Skin Patch Test Confirmed Allergic to Methylisothiazolinone

It all began when we first purchased Costco Kirkland signature brand dish soap. Lots of it , 2 years ago when we got a nice fancy stainless steel dish soap dispenser in our new sink. I daily used: Method brand foaming hand soap in the pretty bottles and Babyganics baby wash and shampoo for my baby daughter .... And dermatologists who decided it must just be over hand washing - recommending cetaphil restoraderm moisturizing bodywash by galderma. They all contain methylisothiazolinone, primarily produced by DOW chemicals as Kathon CG and now the newer version Neolone 950. The sad thing is that it took me 2 years of cracking bleeding skin on my hands to finally beg for a skin patch test to locate allergies... Only one out of some 40 chemicals came up positive. No previous allergies. Methylisothiazolinone is a severe skin sensitizer, it takes years to fully develop in some people, but when it does, there is no turning back. I am currently still on prednisone oral corticosteroids, hands wrapped in medical gauze most days, with medi - honey as only burn type cream I can use that is naturally antibiotic and does not contain and other potential chemicals or irritants. It is sticky and messy but I own 12 pairs of white cotton gloves. I wrapped my steering wheel to avoid the thiazolinones that are often also contained on leather conditioners . I wash my hair wearing cotton gloves inside 2 more pairs , first nitrile, second outer layer polyvinyl. I can not have a job currently, my hands swell up like blistering cracked bleeding balloons with weird circular dry red welts each time we try to taper my prednisone dose... Look for this particular chemical preservative/ biocide. Avoid it at all costs . Remove every item in your house that contains it and call consumer product safety commission, and Medwatch, the FDA reporting branch. Buy cotton gloves, and check all your makeup as well. Estée Lauder makes over 30 different makeup brands, and they love to use MI as preservative. It’s odorless, colorless, makes products stay on shelves forever, it’s in your Behr paint and sinner primers, it can be a neurotoxin, some will have serious breathing complications.... Write your congressmen. Be loud. Use products that have 6 ingredients tops! Make sure you know what each ingredient that is in your home consists of. The particle board. The rugs. The cleaners. The fabrics. The retardants. It goes on and on, we must come together to have collective consumer voices and choices for simple products and manufacturing processes.

Wow, I'll keep an eye out for this one. I usually stand by Method's products, so I'll take a look. Thank you for all of the information on Methylisothiazolinone... this has been an eye opening post. I definitely agree that the less ingredients, the better! I hope you can get your immune system built up so your hands improve... I know how hard it can be to have eczema on your hands - even just a little on the knuckles hurts!

FASHION FRIDAY: Shopping Tips for Cotton Clothing

After discovering that my skin hates synthetic fabrics (particularly polyester), I tossed out 95% of my wardrobe and bought 100% cotton clothing. I'm still building up my wardrobe, but it's been worth it. Going 100% cotton sounds easier than it is... a lot of things claim to be cotton and all it means is that it's a cotton blend. And that's not what I've been going for. Those of us with sensitive skin whether it's due to allergies, eczema or just being plain ol' sensitive tend to do better with 100% cotton. You'll find that a lot of baby clothing and other items like blankets are made out of 100% cotton. Why? Because babies are extremely sensitive in their early stages.

For those of you who are making the switch as well (for whatever reason - maybe it's not even because you have allergies, here are some tips for those shopping trips you may dread:

  • Bring a friend. Finding 100% cotton items involves reading the labels and therefore touching fabric before you know what it actually is. Depending on how sensitive you are, you could end up with some allergic reactions from your investigating. A friend can help you cut down on the amount of stuff you have to touch. Then take this friend out for a meal to thank them ;-)
  • Wear gloves. This is a lot easier in the winter when you may already be wearing some due to the weather.
  • Shop online. With the lovely feature of search engines built within online stores, you can easily draw up their cotton items all at once. Be aware, though, that not all websites are created equal. Some websites search function doesn't include fabric content. In my experience, it's about a 60/40 chance that the search function will work for me.
  • Check out the online shop's return policy. Not being able to try on clothing before purchasing can result in returns, so it's nice to not have to go through a lot of trouble to do so.
  • Find a store near you to get familiar with their sizes. Then, go online and shop away! This worked out great for me when I did some shopping at LOFT.com. They had an in-store and online sale going on, so I went in the store and tried on some dresses (as I was shopping for summer) and bought some. I had more money left in my shopping budget for the day, so I went online and snagged some other great deals as well, knowing that the dresses would fit. It was all around an awesome way to do it.
  • Hit up the end of summer sales. It's so easy to find cotton clothing when it's summer time. These pieces can be used for layering under sweaters during the colder weather - tank tops, t-shirts and of course long sleeve shirts are great to snatch up for this purpose.
  • Develop a few favorite stores and re-visit them again and again. You'll find better and better stores as you go along and you can swap out your top favs. I LOVE finding a new store that carries lots of cotton items regularly. Online I go to: Asos, Polyvore, and LOFT. When I stop by the mall, I go to H&M, LOFT, and Macy's.

Do you have any tips or tricks to add?

ALLERGY/ECZEMA STORIES: Allergic to Propylene Glycol

I too, am allergic to propylene glycol. It started in April after foot surgery. Doctor said I had a fungus which later was diagnosed as scabies. Blood test and biopsy were done. After all this , blisters continued to form on hands and feet. Patch test revealed that I was highly sensitive to propylene glycol. This also meant that every prescription given me from what was thought of as a fungus, scabies, and dermatitis, had this ingredient in it. I later found out that it was also in food, mouth wash and tooth paste, hair products, shower gels, laundry detergent, make-up, and lotions/moisturizers. This has been a horrible roller coaster ride. But knowledge is powerful. Now, I read everything; even after my doctor prescribe something. After all, they make mistakes too, sometimes.

I hear ya - being allergic to propylene glycol means investigating every single label... adjusting to that can be really rough. It was for me in the beginning. I felt like it was was one disappointment after the other. And we must be our own advocates - we owe it to our health. Even if it means reading every label! I find it really interesting that it developed after surgery... I wonder why that would happen exactly? Hmm...

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RECIPE: Blackened Chicken

Having a whole bunch of food, food product and preservative allergies means cooking from scratch at home. Since we all lead busy lives, it's nice to have a go-to recipe for the main course of dinner. In our house, my blackened chicken recipe is one of them!

Matt likes to dip his in ketchup. I'll confess that it's actually a tasty addition ;-)

All you need to do is mix together a bunch of lovely spices. The greens are homegrown parsley and oregano from our garden. We love love love gardening.

All you need to do is mix together a bunch of lovely spices. The greens are homegrown parsley and oregano from our garden. We love love love gardening.

Then you rub it on a couple of chicken breasts and throw them in a hot oiled pan...

Then you rub it on a couple of chicken breasts and throw them in a hot oiled pan...

...just until they're blackened! After this, you toss them in the oven for a while.

...just until they're blackened! After this, you toss them in the oven for a while.

And up with beautifully blackened yet juicy chicken. On this particular night, we had homemade cranberry sauce and sauteed veggies as our sides.

And up with beautifully blackened yet juicy chicken. On this particular night, we had homemade cranberry sauce and sauteed veggies as our sides.

Recipe: Blackened Chicken

You'll need:

  • a baking dish (I used a square glass dish and covered it with foil)
  • tinfoil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • canola oil (you could also use any other neutral tasting light oil)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix together all spices
  3. After rinsing and patting the chicken dry, rub the TOP part of the chicken breasts with the spices
  4. Heat a skillet on high and put in just enough oil that the bottom of the pan is coated
  5. When the skillet is hot, place the chicken spice side down - and jiggle a couple times to make sure they don't stick.
  6. Cook for 4 minutes, jiggling a couple more times throughout the 4 minutes
  7. While they're cooking, line your baking dish with foil and lightly coat with olive oil
  8. When the chicken is nice and blackened, transfer spice side up into the baking dish
  9. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until no longer pink.

 

A Day in the Life of Nickel Allergy

For those of us with severe nickel allergies... going out in public can be rough. We're hit with a thousand obstacles and when you're like me and you react like poison ivy... the world can be a bit scary. 

To demonstrate what a day in the life of nickel allergy is like, I took photos during my commute to work and while I was at work. Every time I came across nickel, I snapped a quick photo. The quickness resulted in some blurry photos (like while taking a photo while going through a revolving door), but you'll get the point. Just think of it as being "in the action" with me. We have to think quickly on our feet every day and that involves thinking about our allergies at the same time!

On this day I woke up early and put on my coat. For whatever reason (don't ask me why, I don't know) we haven't replaced this hook which happens to be 100% brushed nickel. I hang my coats backwards on it so the nickel doesn't touch the inside of the jacket which would then touch my skin.

On this day I woke up early and put on my coat. For whatever reason (don't ask me why, I don't know) we haven't replaced this hook which happens to be 100% brushed nickel. I hang my coats backwards on it so the nickel doesn't touch the inside of the jacket which would then touch my skin.

Then it's time to walk the dog. I haven't been able to find a leash that's nickel free AND has a cotton handle. When my skin continually touches synthetic fabrics, I break out. Since I don't have to touch the nickel parts of his leash and harness, I opted for the cotton leash.

Then it's time to walk the dog. I haven't been able to find a leash that's nickel free AND has a cotton handle. When my skin continually touches synthetic fabrics, I break out. Since I don't have to touch the nickel parts of his leash and harness, I opted for the cotton leash.

When it's time to leave, I have to come into contact with one of my foes: my key chain. Keys are full of nickel and the coating on my keys is starting to wear off. Must be careful! The covers are a big help.

When it's time to leave, I have to come into contact with one of my foes: my key chain. Keys are full of nickel and the coating on my keys is starting to wear off. Must be careful! The covers are a big help.

Then I plop my keys in this cotton American Apparel bag so the keys don't rub all over everything in my purse.

Then I plop my keys in this cotton American Apparel bag so the keys don't rub all over everything in my purse.

I make sure I have my bandanna which will get me through the next round of obstacles...

I make sure I have my bandanna which will get me through the next round of obstacles...

...such as this door handle. Gotta get in the train station somehow!

...such as this door handle. Gotta get in the train station somehow!

And when it's time to get on the train, I have to exit the station as well. More metal!

And when it's time to get on the train, I have to exit the station as well. More metal!

I get on the train and boom - more metal! Even if I tested the metal, they swap the cars out as they need and it's just not worth testing it every single day.

I get on the train and boom - more metal! Even if I tested the metal, they swap the cars out as they need and it's just not worth testing it every single day.

As I sit on the train, my finger itches and I look down at this reaction that popped up recently. See that circular cluster of bumps between my knuckles?  It definitely looks like a typical nickel reaction to me. I put on a little steroid ointment since this one has been persistent and the itch goes away shortly after.

As I sit on the train, my finger itches and I look down at this reaction that popped up recently. See that circular cluster of bumps between my knuckles?  It definitely looks like a typical nickel reaction to me. I put on a little steroid ointment since this one has been persistent and the itch goes away shortly after.

As I leave the station and go through these rotating doors, I make sure to push the glass instead of the metal handle.

As I leave the station and go through these rotating doors, I make sure to push the glass instead of the metal handle.

To get into work, I have to open this door - bandanna to the rescue!

To get into work, I have to open this door - bandanna to the rescue!

In my cubicle, my drawer handles have been swapped out for nickel free versions. I got a note from me doctor about my allergies, so as long as I submit the request through HR, accommodations are made for me :-) It rocks!

In my cubicle, my drawer handles have been swapped out for nickel free versions. I got a note from me doctor about my allergies, so as long as I submit the request through HR, accommodations are made for me :-) It rocks!

On this particular day, one of my co-workers came over and put this on my desk - not realizing he essentially plopped a piece of poison ivy on my desk. Turns out I never gave him any of the vinyl coated paperclips I use, so I gave him a handful which he kindly agreed to use in the future.

On this particular day, one of my co-workers came over and put this on my desk - not realizing he essentially plopped a piece of poison ivy on my desk. Turns out I never gave him any of the vinyl coated paperclips I use, so I gave him a handful which he kindly agreed to use in the future.

Time for a bathroom break! We just moved onto our new floor at work so I have yet to test all of the metal pieces on everything. This type of fixture inside bathroom stalls is typically laden with nickel.

Time for a bathroom break! We just moved onto our new floor at work so I have yet to test all of the metal pieces on everything. This type of fixture inside bathroom stalls is typically laden with nickel.

For lunch, using this microwave = touching more metal. I use my bandanna, my sleeve, or a piece of paper towel to deal with this.

For lunch, using this microwave = touching more metal. I use my bandanna, my sleeve, or a piece of paper towel to deal with this.

This is me using my sleeve to turn the sink on...

This is me using my sleeve to turn the sink on...

And I make sure to watch out for these bad boys on the kitchen cupboards. They look JUST like brushed nickel.

And I make sure to watch out for these bad boys on the kitchen cupboards. They look JUST like brushed nickel.

I used my sleeve to open the refrigerator door...

I used my sleeve to open the refrigerator door...

And as I eat lunch, I use a plastic fork so I don't even have to think about metal. (excuse my stupid camera phone focusing on everything but the fork.

And as I eat lunch, I use a plastic fork so I don't even have to think about metal. (excuse my stupid camera phone focusing on everything but the fork.

After lunch I wash my hands and am mindful of the big load of metal in front of me. I used my bandanna for this one.

After lunch I wash my hands and am mindful of the big load of metal in front of me. I used my bandanna for this one.

As I leave for work, I make sure to avoid this bad boy again...

As I leave for work, I make sure to avoid this bad boy again...

After I make my way through he revolving door you saw in the morning, I am presented with these giant shiny doors...

After I make my way through he revolving door you saw in the morning, I am presented with these giant shiny doors...

And it's cousin...

And it's cousin...

After I get on the train, I head on home and prepare to do it all over again the next day.

As you can see... developing this allergy in 2009 was quite the journey. No longer could I walk carefree... anywhere in public... but just like anything else, I've started to get used to it and I don't think about it much anymore. I get a routine down and glide through it easily every day :-)