Allergy Stories: Chapter 4

I have found that I have a bad allergy to formaldehyde.  The way I found out was a really terrible story.  I had a breast reduction and the top layer of skin was closed using Dermabond, or skin glue.  No one ever mentioned that it would be used.  No one asked if I had a formaldehyde allergy.  The only thing they asked was what drug allergies I had.  Everything went fine for a few days...then the other shoe dropped.  The glue had actually pooled on the sides of me where my arms made a dam for the running liquid.  The skin started breaking down and the terrible burning started.  I began to feel sicker by the day.  I was diagnosed with cellulitis.  I was put on heavy doses of antibiotics but nothing changed.  The next idea was that I was suddenly allergic to all elastic types of fabric.  I was told to wear my bra on the outside of a cotton shirt but never against my skin.  I live in Florida and was now wearing a tank top, a bra and then my shirt.  Pretty hot! Finally my daughter went online and started doing some research.  She found out that Dermabond, like all glue, consists of formaldehyde.  The only other problem I had ever experienced with formaldehyde was in finger nail polish.  If I used a polish with formaldehyde, I would get little white spots on my nails.  I threw caution to the wind and put my bra back against my skin and nothing got worse.  The "raw meat" areas finally healed with steroid cream but the burning went on for about one year.  I'm sure my body just tried it's best not to absorb the glue.  My surgeon said he had no idea that there was formaldehyde in Dermabond.  Believe me...there will always be a thorough search of ingredients in my life.  I shop with A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients with me at all times.  In using alternate products, I also found out I am highly allergic to Witch Hazel which means gallates.  It's really hard to find products that aren't too chemical or too healthy.  I say one direction is chemicals and one is twigs and berries.  I have to stay in the middle.  Most companies develop products that are one or the other.  Not many in the middle ground area.

I love reading your blog because I don't feel like I'm the weirdest person on the planet and it's nice to have the information of others to help me on my journey. Thanks everyone!

WOW. That one allergy caused you to go through SO much! Add it just goes to show... we don't know enough about the ingredients which are in the things we use - even the doctors don't know! And that's pretty scary when you think about it. Major props to your daughter!

Thanks for passing along this information! And also for the kind words :-)



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