ASK THE ALLERGISTA: Know of any OTC medication for the relief of skin allergies?



Hi there, Ms. Allergista,

FIrst, thank you for your site. It's comforting to know we're not alone. My wife has been diagnosed with a severe allergy to PG - as a lot of folks have, the more we've read on the subject. Hers seems to be more of a contact dermatitis and occurs every 9 months or so? And last for about 9 weeks...9 weeks of constant burning and itching. She's eliminated as much PG as we know to, but somehow, it's finding its way back to her skin.

Is there a topical OTC that works?? As I'm sure you know, this can become paralyzingly depressing when the outbreaks are bad. I so badly want to make this go away for her or at least soothe the symptoms until it works through her system.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Desocort, Betaderm, Cyclocort, Aristocort? Just a few of the PG-free products I've heard mention of. Nickel is another, by the way.

Thanks so much for your time and wise counsel.


Hi! You are so welcome :-) I really do love love providing this platform where we can all connect.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's propylene glycol allergy diagnosis. That's a tough one. It's in everything!

That's really interesting that it occurs every 9 months or so  and lasts for 9 weeks... Propylene glycol can be hidden in things such as polyester resin and modified food starch (which is in a LOT of processed food). If I were her, I'd start documenting what I was doing while the breakouts were going on.. things like what food I ate and what activities I did (went to work, went swimming, etc). Write all of this down in a daily planner as well as the condition of the skin. That way, she can look back and see if there are any connections between what she's doing and her breakouts.

Regarding over the counter topical treatments, I don't know of anything that works. There used to be Calendulis Cream available by The Eczema Company and that helped calm down my allergic reactions. Unfortunately, they began adding pg and the owner pulled it from her store. Have your wife check out the store, though. The Eczema Company has some great products. I tried out their EczeHerbal ointment and found that it helped with the itch a little bit.

I haven't tried any of the ointments you mentioned, but maybe some of the readers have. I'll make sure to ask them in the blog post! You mentioned that your wife is also allergic to nickel. Make sure she keeps a nickel testing kit handy! That way, she won't have to avoid all metal. It's found in stainless steel and even gold.

When my skin breaks out, I do my best to avoid my allergens and I also make sure to abide by this list of rules. Please pass those along.

Good luck to your wife in her journey!


The Allergista