I had a bit of a setback this week that I'm pretty bummed out about. For the past 15 years or so, I've had a variety of allergic reactions (contact - on my skin) to different things, and until this point, I've pretty much been guessing at what I'm allergic to. So, last November, I bit the bullet and asked to see an allergist.
Two months later, I got to see him, but he couldn't run the patch tests because he only worked at my doctor's office once a week (you need to see a doctor 3 times in 5 days). So he referred me to the Occupational Health Clinic at St. Mike's. Of course, this meant that I had to wait another 4 months for my appointment... which, I discovered, was only a consultation appointment. Well. Crap.
If you've never heard of the allergen patch test, it's pretty simple. They tape 5 patches each covered 10 common allergens (making a total of 50) to your back, forbid you to shower for 5 days and peel off the patches your skin's allergic reactions (or not) to specific stimuli.
Really, it's a pretty basic experiment.
Anyway, I've got two big allergies and a couple of small ones, but it's the big ones that are giving me a headache.
I've known for years (like 15 or so) that I'm allergic to nickel. Jean buttons bother me, I can't wear cheap jewellery (meh - it means I have expensive tastes), watch strap closures cause me to react... that's stuff I've been able to handle. What I didn't know is that people who have nickel allergies (and ones that manifest particularly badly) can have problems with foods that have nickel in them... and there's a big long list including kale, leeks, soy, spinach, oatmeal, shellfish, rhubarb, pineapple, plums, raspberries, tea, nuts, dark chocolate (God, just kill me now)...
Apparently you are allowed to eat Brussels sprouts, dill, parsnips and macaroni. Whee.
Basically a ton of stuff that's otherwise good for you goes off the table.
Now, I'm not at the point yet where I even vaguely feel like I need to go on an elimination diet, but as my allergies have gotten worse over the years, an elimination diet may not be far off.
My bigger concern is the second allergy: fragrance mix. Go take a look at a bottle of shampoo, or your deodorant, or your sunscreen, or your laundry detergent, and when you look at the ingredient list, you'll probably see fragrance or parfum listed. This is a compound of up to 8 different compounds and is the number one producer of allergic reactions to cosmetics. It has far reaching effects that go beyond cosmetics though - paints, insecticides, toothpaste, pads, cola, bubble gum, periodontal dressings... The list just goes on and on.
Now, I'm not allergic to all 8 compounds. I react to some sunscreen but not others. But because companies don't list their fragrance compounds individually, I'll never know if I'm allergic to something unless I try it out.
That pretty much means I have a lifetime of allergic reactions ahead of me.
I'm left feeling even more confused than before I had these tests done. I'm glad that I know that I'm allergic to these things, but I'm frustrated that I'm going to continue to be exposed to a lot of the ingredients that I'm allergic to.
Anyone have any great leads as to products that are fragrance free? Specifically eye creams?