ASK THE ALLERGISTA: Is propylene glycol the culprit?

ask_the_allergista

Q

Hello, I saw your pictures on your reaction to propylene  glycol.  My daughter has recently been diagnosed with an allergy to that too, along with fragrances and a milk allergy.  We have gotten some medicines to help clear her up.  We think we are making progress and she gets worse or has a flare up.  These flare ups happen when we are outside for long periods of time, example a trip to Disneyland and a football game.  Did, do you have flare ups like that?  I am just wondering if it truly is an allergy to the pg or something else dealing with the heat and sun.  Thanks a bunch, hope I made sense.

A

Hi!

Thanks for writing me! Yes, I'm definitely very allergic to propylene glycol. I've tested positive for it and since eliminating PG, my skin has improved a LOT. My experience with breaking out has been a bit different from your daughter's though. I don't break out from just being outside. If I DID break out after being outside for a long while, I would blame it on pollen in the air for me personally. A know people with seasonal allergies who break out on their skin as well, so they keep their windows shut during the bad months and make sure to shower as soon as they get home. There are people who are indeed allergic to the sun, though. Heat is also a big aggravator for problem skin.

I don't think your daughter's propylene glycol allergy is causing her to break out after long periods of exposure outside. I think it's most likely something else. There's a chance there could be hidden proplyene glycol in her sunscreen. PG can be hidden in botanical extracts, so that's something to think about. I was on a similar cycle of doctors prescribing stuff, my skin getting better, and then it getting worse than before. It was all because I was actually allergic to the ingredients in the steroid ointment they were prescribing me! At that point, we didn't know the extent of my chemical allergies.

I hope you can figure out what it is so she can enjoy being outside more.  My heart goes out to her!

Sincerely,

The Allergista