Thanks Johnson & Johnson

Last week, I forgot to put a new bottle of shampoo in the shower for me, so I decided to use the kids’ shampoo, which this week happened to be John & Johnson’s baby shampoo for thick and curly hair (the light blue bottle).  BIG MISTAKE……HUGE!  Now, I’ve posted before about my past/present with food allergies, but NEVER in my life have I had a reaction like this.  The reaction is concentrated around my neck , chest, back and ears, with spots also on my forearms and the back of my hands.  I don’t know why this is the case since the shampoo ran down my whole back when being rinsed off.  I hope my new allergist, whom I will be seeing tomorrow will be able to tell me more because I certainly don’t want to use another product with whatever ingredients were in the J&J thick & curly shampoo.  And I certainly don’t plan on buying anything else from J&J anytime soon.  So much for it being dermatologist and allergy tested, which by the way it says in the description of the product.

Chest after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Man, does this itch!

Left arm after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Right arm after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Normal Sized Ear

Somehow my left ear seemed to escape any reaction.  My right ear was not so lucky.  Anyone seen Hitch with Will Smith?  Yeah, that’s my ear!  It feels like someone has a blowtorch on it and is crushing it at the same time.  Sleeping on my right side is a real pain…..literally.  You can also see where it is starting to migrate onto my cheeks.

My angry allergic reaction ear

Back of neck after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

See that angry ear again in this picture???

Angry, Itchy, Painful neck after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Needless to say that shampoo went right into the garbage.  I get to spend the next two weeks on steroids to make this rash go away and I’m praying that the allergist can tell me anything about this reaction tomorrow because I have no idea what caused it.

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16 Responses to “Thanks Johnson & Johnson”

  1. Chris wrote:

    Oh that SUCKS! And who would have thought of that with a Johnson & Johnson product? Especially one that’s dermatologist tested. Ugh.

    Good luck with the allergist! Hopefully they can determine what the heck is going on.

  2. Diana Hermann wrote:

    I have to look those ingredients up to see what the heck was in there. Was there jojoba oil in it? That causes allergic dermatitis reactions in a few people (like me!). Man, I hate to itch! I feel so badly for you. Hope it is clearing up now. I would like to share this on my blog, too - any idea how I can connect to this? (I am not much of a techie).

  3. Diana Hermann wrote:

    So I looked at the ingredients (total crap as far as skin care is concerned). I think the problem is the PEG-80 SORBITAN LAURATE. Check out this safety issue listed with the Cosmetic Safety Database:

  4. Jeannie wrote:

    After dealing with two children with allergies for over 30 years I believe you are mistaken about the source of your reaction. I don’t see any mention of scalp lesions. THIS would be the most obvious spot for you to be showing signs of a problem. Did you happen to go outside in the sun after washing your hair? This looks more like a form of sun poisoning to me. What did your allergist say?

  5. mamamamahoney wrote:

    Jeannie - While I appreciate your comment, I’ve never been your typical allergy person. I’ve grown up all of my life with various “sensitivities” to both food and chemicals. Most of them never show up on an allergy test, but I assure you that when I eat a tree nut, my mouth and lips swell up as fast as anyone with a diagnosed tree nut allergy. When I eat soy protein, I get bois and cysts all over my face. It has taken many years to figure out my triggers. Many commenters like you and doctors alike have told me I’m fine and I don’t have allergies. While the paper that says that may be true, my appearance would suggest otherwise. I’ve found a small group of physicians and naturopaths who also disagree and have worked with me to help me solve my problems. Unforunately, the doctor that I saw for this reaction was a typical doctor who told me that he had no idea what I had a reaction to and therefore could not treat me. Thankfully, my PCP gave me some steroids to help combat the massive itching that was associated with this rash. As it was, it took 2 weeks to go away. And as a side note, I’ve had sun poisoning before and 1) it didn’t itch like this did and 2) it didn’t look like this either - not to mention that I was not in the sun at all. Since this reaction, at the suggestion of my PCP, I have gone completely fragrance free and several of my skin ailments have disappeared indicating to me that there clearly has been some sensitivity to some fragrance component. Unforunately, for people like me, there continues to be a community that has decided that unless your “allergy” appears on a test result, there is nothing wrong with you.

  6. Melody wrote:

    I found your blog while searching Google for information on allergic reactions to shampoo. My skin rash looks very similar to yours, only BOTH

  7. Melody wrote:

    my ears are red and swollen. Also, the rash is on my scalp, and is migrating to my face. It is painfully itchy. I have some steroid cream and am taking Benadryl. It is hard to function and its hard to sleep.

  8. mamamamahoney wrote:


    It took my rash almost 3 weeks to go away and that was with the steroids from my doctor. Since going fragrance free, I haven’t had any more problems and some of my other skin ailments have also disappeared or at least become better. My doctor thinks I’ve developed a sensitivity to some component in fragrance. Since we don’t know what in the fragrance is bothering me, the doctor suggested going fragrance free. You might want to try this and see if it helps. Good luck and feel better!

  9. Melody wrote:

    Thank you for your advice! Sounds like we are both “delicate flowers.”

    Three weeks seems like an eternity! I have been on steroids for severe asthma all my life, I would prefer not to use them in this case, if possible. My side effects [insert long list] may outweigh the benefit. Anyway, I will use fragrance free products from now on. There is absolutely no way I would like to relive this experience!

    I am curious- did you contact J&J regarding your reaction? Did you get refunded? I spend $20 on the products I am allergic to and I would like to contact the maker (Hugo).

    You are welcome to email me if you’d like.

  10. mamamamahoney wrote:

    I never did contact Johnson & Johnson, because honestly, we are still not 100% sure that is from where the reaction came. Also, I didn’t think it necessary to call regarding a $2.99 bottle of shampoo. $20, I might, but there is no guarantee that the company will refund your purchase since if you are allergic to it, it really isn’t a fault of the company. You can definitely try, though. Quite often commenting on products will get you coupons or free products. Perhaps they can suggest something else in their line that would be good for you. Good luck.

  11. kk wrote:

    Yes you do indeed have allergies, because thats a classic allergic reaction pattern on your chest. My friends children are allergic to all johnson and johnson products, so she has to used Baby Aveeno instead. I happen to get itchy bumps on my face from a type of silicone (I am pretty sure, by use of several products with only this ingredient in common). You may have a rare type allergy…I think they can call it hypoallergenic if only a very small percentage of the population reacts to it. But its still not cool to me…what if a child had this painful reaction? BAD!!

  12. markus wrote:

    This is nothing new. This shampoo is known to cause allergic reaction quite often. I know about it for years and recently my doctor confirmed it.

  13. Alex wrote:

    My Daughter had a serious alergic reaction to Johnsons baby Shampoo and we called the paramedics to treat her. She had severe red marks on her skin from her waste an below. Her hands an face also red marks. Her lips were swallen and paramedics prescribed ANDRELINE medicine which is a powerfull antihistamine. If we did not call the paramedics and if swelling was continuing inside the body then the case would have been escalated in a life threat situation. DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT, it is DANGAROUS.

  14. Yvonne wrote:

    My son developed a rash that looks just like yours 2 days ago. We’ve been monitoring it and realized that the rash flares up after his’s all over his legs and is spreading to his arms and cheeks. We’re not going to use the soap tomorrow and see what happens. Not sure what to give a 20 month old but plan on taking him to the doctor on sunday.

  15. Yvonne wrote:

    p.s. he had been using the same shampoo for at least a year and it’s not until this last few days where I think he’s not reacting well to it

  16. krystina wrote:

    I am having this same problem with my 6 month old. She has this rash all over her body. I at foray thought it was from the fabric softner we were using so I discontinued using it. The rash was still not going away and the doctor told me it was eczema . So I started using aquaphor on her after her bath. It calmed down a bit but still very bad. My sister suggested changing from j&j to use the aquaphor wash too so I started using it and her akin was clearing up. She had some spots on her head and the doctor told me to put oil on her head before washing it. The oil I had was j&j well the next morning she had an awful rash all over her face and next and scalp. It was just awful. I told my husband not to put the oil on her the next night. Not even thinking I gave her and my son a bath at the same time and he idea the left over j&j with no problems. Well I guess from it being in the tub and her laying on her sponge on her back, she got a rash all over her back and thighs. I had to give her an avenno bath and buy the eczema lotion. Today she seems to be a lot better but she is still red and bumpy. The j&j is now in the garbage and no one is going to use it anymprw in this house. I feel so bad for her because I know how itchy and awful ahe must be feeling. And I have heard that other babies have been allergic to Johnson and Johnson before. I never would have thought these products could so this to your akin they are suppose the be the best.

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