Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Final Part

Posted by Rachael Dunseath on

Well I made it! It's Friday and the process is over and I've had a shower, which felt amazing after a week without.

Read Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part 1

Read Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part 2

Read Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part 3

It depends on your view point as to what you think of my results. I wasn't contact allergic to any of the 114 chemicals I was tested for. That's good news, I have enough allergies to contend with as it is. However, the consultant has confirmed what I suspected all along and diagnosed pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema. He couldn't suggest any cause for it and advised that the only thing was to treat it when it flares up.

He wasn't very open to discussing other possible causes of the eczema. Luckily I am without a flare up at the moment but I have no way of knowing when if might happen and no way of trying to prevent one. Not the most satisfactory outcome. 

The patch testing process was certainly interesting and at worst it was uncomfortable. I still have some sore patches were the tape irritated but that will soon heal. If you are having the testing soon it's really nothing to worry about. Good luck and let me know how you get on!

 

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Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part Three

Posted by Rachael Dunseath on

Half way hooray! Today was the second of three hospital appointments in my quest to get to the bottom of what's causing my skin problems. And joy of joys the loathed strips were removed.

I'd had a second night of distrupted sleep and was thoroughly itchy and fed up this morning. The appointment began with the nurse removing all the tape and strips. It wasn't fun and she commented how well it had all stuck to my back. Imagine removing a large plaster and you'll get the idea, but the relief was worth it. 

Then the consultant came in to 'read' my back. I had reacted to the tape in several places (the worst patch is just off the photo below) and that was sore but he assured me that was a physical reaction from friction rather than an allergic one. It's still uncomfortable this evening, over 12 hours later.

Allergies wise there had been no reactions strong enough to declare an allergy at this stage but it can take the full 5 days for up to 30% of the chemicals to cause a reaction. Hence the need for the final reading on Friday. I remain itchy and the tape has left sticky patches that keep adhering to my clothes which is a pain but it's still more comfy without all that stuck to my back. As well as that I look like some sort of game board with all the pen marks and dots of chemicals all over me and it's no showering or bathing for 2 more days. Roll on Friday. Read Contact Allergy Patch Testing Final Part

Day one of this series.

Day two of this series.

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Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part Two

Posted by Rachael Dunseath on

Well it's day 2 of allergy patch testing here at Myroo HQ. 

You can read about day 1 here .

I'm afraid I didn't sleep very well last night. The newly applied strips are tight and uncomfortable and pull on the skin a little. I think if you sleep flat on your back you would fare better, but alas I prefer to sleep on my side. So I'm a bit tired today.

There's not much to report, except itchiness, which I suppose is to be expected. I can't decide if it's the micro pore tape or reaction to the chemicals that's causing the itch. Time will tell I suppose. This morning the strips were a little looser and so a little easier in comfort terms throughout today. I've checked them regularly to check they aren't peeling off, I'm a bit worried about them as I have no desire to repeat the process.

Slightly oddly I have some shoulder tightness, I think I'm moving in an unusual way which is throwing my biodynamics off. That combined with my inability to shower or bathe at the moment means Friday's ablutions are eagerly awaited.

Tomorrow morning I am back to hospital again. The strips will be removed, I'm hoping it's easier than taking off a plaster! Then the Consultant Dermatologist will take readings for all the chemicals and decide if I've started to react to any of them. I shall feel slightly easier with the strips off.

I shall let you know how the next stage goes. Read Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part 3

I hope you are finding this useful. I know I would have liked something like this before I went through the process. Do let me know.

 

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Contact Allergy Patch Testing - Part One

Posted by Rachael Dunseath on

My story of allergies and sensitive skin is an intrinsic part of Myroo's story too. The latest addition to my problems has been diagnosed as both pompholyx/dyshidrotic eczema and allergic contact dermatitis.

To get to the bottom of what was causing my skin to react, and to clarify the diagnosis, my dermatologist referred me for patch testing. I'm undergoing testing this week and will blog as the week progresses. I hope the mini series of blog tests will be useful to anyone looking for information on what to expect when going for patch testing.

Today was day one. Patch testing is used to identify any chemicals that you may have a skin allergy to and before my appointment I had received a leaflet giving me an idea of what to expect. I was still a little nervous, though I needn't have worried. The consultant was lovely and asked me lots of questions and answered all mine. He explained the process and spent some time exploring which ingredients could be culprits.

I then had a short wait while the nurse prepared all the chemicals that I was to be tested for. They are applied 8 at a time to adhesive grids. There is a little pocket to hold each chemical separate from the others. I am being tested for 112 different chemicals and chemical mixes, so 14 strips where stuck on my back. Luckily I am tall or the nurse advised I may have had strips on my arms too.

Strips for allergy patch testing

The process was quick and painless. I just had to undress on my top half but I had a robe so was perfectly modest. I was a little surprised that the chemicals were so colourful and also had a smell but given I was being tested for fragrance and colour compounds I should probably have engaged brain!

Back with patch testing strips on

The nurse then applied pen marks so that when the strips are removed each distinct chemical can still be identified. Finally she applied extra micro pore tape over the top to help hold it all in place. The whole process only took a few minutes and then I was free to get dressed.

Patch testing allergen strips with tape

I've had the strips on all day and I'll be honest, it's a little uncomfortable but no more. I can sense a little bit of irritation, time will tell if that is me reacting to some of the chemicals or just the tightness of the tape. I can't shower or exercise for the next 2 days and need to take care not to dislodge the strips. So it is a little inconvenient but I hope it will be worthwhile when we get some answers.

I'll keep you posted on the process over the coming days (You can read about Day 2 of Contact Allergy Patch Testing). In the meantime wish me luck for managing to get some sleep tonight. Any questions, as always do let me know.

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 Read about day 2 here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 tips if you are looking to avoid paraffin & petroleum based skincare products.

Posted by Rachael Dunseath on

There have been some sad headlines over the last week about the dozens of deaths linked to the flammable nature of paraffin and petroleum based skin products. Products often prescribed for people with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.

The research from the BBC showed, that with regular use, the products impregnated clothes and bedding and were not removed by a 30 degree wash. Exposure to a naked flame then ran the risk of the fabrics catching fire with tragic results. 

There are now calls for products containing paraffin to carry a flammable warning label.

It is undoubtedly sad news and terrible for the families involved. It's you not the only reason to avoid petrochemical based ingredients though.

Here's some tips and facts to help you as look to eliminate these ingredients from your routine;

1 - Paraffin wax and petroleum jelly are hydrocarbons derived from the petrochemical industry. Like all petrochemicals they are not sustainable or eco-friendly.

2 - Both ingredients are emollients, that is they soften the skin, but they are inert ingredients, there are none of the other goodies that come with natural emollients in petrochemical derived ingredients. Our natural emollients come from renewable sources and are packed with nourishment.

3 - Products like vaseline and E45 are occlusive. So they from a barrier over the skin. This traps moisture in the top layer of the skin and can give short term relief from dry skin conditions. However, that layer is pretty inpermeable meaning long term skin function can be disrupted and existing conditions can actually get worse over time. NICE have noted that "several studies reported alterations in skin physiology (thinning of the outermost layer of the skin and increased skin water loss) following application of aqueous cream as an emollient in adults, both with and without eczema". (1) 

4 - To avoid petroleum and paraffin ingredients is fairly easy, look for petroleum jelly, petrolatum, white petrolatum, soft paraffin, paraffin wax or similar on the ingredients listings of your products.

5 - It's a bit harder to remove all petrochemical ingredients, lots of synthetic ingredients are derived from them but if you are 'greening' your skincare it's a good place to start. Some of the main culprits for skin issues and allergies are petrochemical derived. Start by looking out for: methyl-, propyl-, butyl- and ethyl-paraben: propylene glycol: sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate: parfum: synthetic colours. 

6 - Petroleum jelly is filtered, prior to this it contains contaminants and potential carcinogens. Vaseline boast "Our Jelly is triple-filtered, ensuring it is truly free from impurities and safe to use". I'll just leave that one there. I've no desire to cause panic and will let you draw your own conclusions.

7 - Paraffin and petroleum based products are not know for their natural credentials, generally they contain a high percentage of synthetic ingredients as well as the petrochemicals. Interestingly this can irritate the very problems these creams are designed to fix. NICE and the National Eczema Society have both noted that aqueous cream when used as a leave on product "was associated with an immediate skin reaction (stinging, burning, itching, and redness) within 20 minutes in 56% of exposures". (2)

I hope it goes without saying, of course Myroo products are free from petroleum, paraffin and indeed all petrochemical derived ingredients. All the ingredients that we choose are there because they are skin loving, not because they are cheap or work as a filler.

As always do shout if you have questions or concerns.

 

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Sources: (1) & (2) - https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/aqueous-cream-may-cause-skin-irritation, https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/aqueous-cream-may-cause-skin-irritation

 

 

 

 

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