Itchy & Red

Well, I’m still itchy and red.  At this point no one has any idea what is giving me this allergic reaction.  Earlier this week, I went to a new allergist.  After reading many positive comments about him online, my first mistake was getting my hopes up.  Because in typical fashion, this doctor told me my reaction wasn’t “typical” or “normal”.  (I think we’ve already established that none of my reactions are ever typical or normal and I really hate doctors who think that if you don’t react like everyone else, there clearly isn’t anything wrong with you or it is all in your head).  That being said, he continued to tell me that he had no idea what was causing my reaction, that he didn’t feel any tests were necessary and that he really couldn’t help me.  Oh….and he was sorry.  And I had to pay $20 to hear that (mistake #2).  It is clear that this reaction is going to be a difficult one to diagnose given the various spots it is appearing on my body (chest, neck, forearms).  Thank God for my PCP who actually cares about my well being.  Firstly, he gave me steroids so that I didn’t have to put on the mittens from scratching my skin raw.  Secondly, he thinks I’m having some sort of reaction to a fragrance, given that this all started after I used the new J&J shampoo and it is mostly concentrated on my neck and chest.  I am beginning to think that he is right.  Last night, after I gave my kids a bath, my hands were super red and itchy again.  I was using a different baby shampoo, but it, too, contained fragrance.  SO – my first step in this reaction is to attempt to go fragrance free for a while and see what happens.  This made me a little nervous thinking I was going to have a difficult time finding products, but believe it or not, I was able to find quite a good selection in a main stream drug store like the Walgreens.  I also began thinking about how much in our daily lives contains fragrance.  We are going to have to do some serious product replacement in our house. And then, a bigger thought came to mind…..what about work and when you are not at home?  You can’t even wash your hands without being exposed to fragrance.

Last night I started by purchasing the following fragrance free items: Neutrogena Naturals Face and Body Bar, Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick – Unscented, CoverGirl Clean Sensitive Skin Pressed Powder, and CoverGirl Clean Sensitive Skin Liquid Makeup (all available in the Fragrance Free section of our shop!)  Today at work, instead of washing my hands, I’ve been using Fragrance Free Wet Ones wipes, which conveniently come in single serve packs.

I’m already a user of fragrance free detergent, but then I got to thinking…..what about my stain remover, what about my dish detergent, my dishwasher detergent?  Right now, I’m trying to replace products that directly touch my skin.  Since I am quite a sensitive person, I don’t like trying new things all at once, because if something else makes me react, then we are back at square one wondering what is giving me a reaction.  I’m also a little nervous about switching my makeup.  I’ve used the same brand for so long and because it was water based and a bit unique to apply, I felt like a complete spaz today attempting to put on Cover Girl.  I also wasn’t ecstatic about the lack of adequate coverage it offered, however, if this will help clear up my skin, then it is what I have to do.  To this day, we still don’t know why have so much trouble with my face and why nothing has ever cleared it up.  If fragrance has been my demon all along, there is only one way to figure it out……go fragrance free!

I also found that doing a search for Fragrance Free on Drugstore.com brought up a great selection of products for all different aspects of daily life – from beauty to cleaning products. So, now the journey begins to attempt to figure out what is bothering me.  Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted!

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