Tips on How to Deal with Skin Allergies
I’m Allergic to What?
So I'm allergic to the color blue! WHAT? Is that even possible? For as long as I can remember I've struggled quite a bit with allergies. What I have is something called "contact dermatitis", which is a type of inflammation that can result from allergens or irritants. And let me tell you, I constantly have inflammation somewhere. After years of dealing with this, trying different ointments and creams, I finally got an "Allergy Patch Test". This is done at the dermatologist and tests a variety of different chemical substances. This is how I figured out I'm allergic to the color blue. Now most people I've said "Hey fun fact I'm allergic to blue", looked at me like I'm completely crazy. I kindly explain to them about the patch test and the long list of chemicals that I react to.
How Does The Patch Test Work?
I'm going to start by saying, it isn't a very fun experience. When you finally decide to take action, you're basically going to suffer for 2 days. I've done this test two time, and it sucked. Although it's awful, it was definitely worth it. Basically the dermatologist is going to tape a bunch of patches to your back. You have to keep this on for 48 hours! During this time you're recommended not to take allergy medicine or itch your back. OH MY GOSH, this was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done. It's such a relief to take it off after your 48 hours is done, and after your doctor gets to read the results!
My Advice To You If You Decide To Get Patch Testing Done
- Schedule your appointment near the weekend, you don't want to have a full schedule while being super itchy! YUCK!
- Keep track of what your results are.
- Do your own research! Learn as much as you can about the chemicals you're allergic to, and what you can find them in.
- Check the ingredients on all of your daily products/things you come in contact with.
- And last but not least, stick with it and try not to overwhelm yourself.
My first time getting this test didn't do me any good. But the second one did!
"Energy and persistence conquer all things."— Benjamin Franklin
After You Get Testing Done
After you get patch testing done you might feel a little overwhelmed. Although you've FINALLY learned what the chemicals are you're reacting to, unfortunately it' can be hard to identify them. After my first patch test, I got my results back and was told to use this information to check the products I was using. Easy enough, right? WRONG! There are so many different names for these chemicals! I looked at the ingredients of every product I owned, and found nothing. Fast forward a couple of years and I decided to give it a try again, even though I was pretty discouraged.
Turns Out Second Times A Charm
The second patch test I got done taught me so much! I googled for hours after I got my results.
So Here's Some Of What I'm Allergic To
- Cobalt (II) Chloride- Hexahydrate
- Disperse Blue 106/124 Mix
- Oh and fun fact, I was also allergic to the tape they used to put it on!
I was provided a "patient information sheet" for each one of these chemicals. What's so crazy is that these are actually different than my results the first time (except the cobalt).
My Patient Information SheetsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Finally Some Results!
After my second time doing the patch test, I assumed it would go the same as it did before. My dermatologist also mentioned I might not ever pin point exactly what it is I react to, especially since I have multiple different allergies. Fortunately this time I was able to cut out multiple products that had some of these chemicals in them. I had to get rid of a couple mascaras, my tooth paste, and both of my lotions. I also had to switch my bedding and start transitioning my clothing. I learned the second time around that I am not only likely to react to blue dyes, but black as well.
Figuring out your skin allergies is hard and sometimes you feel helpless. I strongly suggest continuing to do research and advocate for yourself. The more persistent your are, the more results you get! Below I have linked some sources you can use to learn more about skin allergies!
Visit These Sites for More Information
- Allergy skin tests - Mayo Clinic
Allergy tests — Overview covers definition, risks, results of skin tests for allergic sensitivities.
- Contact dermatitis | American Academy of Dermatology
Comprehensive information about contact dermatitis, including its cause and treatment options.
Last But Not Least
To wrap things up here are a few more tips I suggest when dealing with your contact dermatitis;
- Not everything that says dermatologist recommended will work for you. Still remember to check the ingredients!
- Hypoallergenic doesn't always mean it won't cause a reaction! I've used so many "hypoallergenic" products, they might work for others but not for people with crazy allergies.
- Try to use mostly natural products, it's easier to avoid some of your allergens if you use natural items.
- Continue to learn!
The more you learn, the more you help yourself to achieve the healthy skin you've always wanted.
© 2018 Makayla Cox