This summer, my 6 year old daughter underwent patch testing (more details on that here), and we found out she was allergic to about 6 common chemical ingredients. Among these were formaldehyde, propylene glycol, and orange and blue textile dyes. Basically, this was the answer to years of struggling to get rid of her itchy skin patches. But when it was complete, her doctor walked in and handed me a fact stack of paper. Friends, these ingredients were in EVERYTHING (or so it seemed). So now what? Here's my best tips for how to handle your patch test results.
I know it's overwhelming. I know it seems like these things are in everything. But don't panic, you WILL come out on the other side, and it WILL be ok. Take a deep breath, a walk, or a nap. Grab your Peace and Calming oil and breathe deeply. Whatever you have to do, it will get done. Don't panic.
Eliminate in small batches.
Trying to eliminate source of your allergens at once can be overwhelming and costly. When we got our results, there was a lot to take care of. Clothes, medicine, foods, soaps, shampoos, lotions-pretty much everything we were putting on and around our daughter had to be replaced. How you do this depends on your level of discomfort-for my daughter, these things had caused itchy patches that were annoying but could be controlled. They didn't affect her daily life in a major way. Because of this, we were able to work on making small changes, one at a time, until we had eliminated all the problem causing issues in our home.
I would suggest tackling the most used items first. For instance, with our daughter, propylene glycol turned out to be in her allergy medicine, the steroid cream we applied to her itchy patches, and the lotion we used to try and help her skin. So basically, everything we were using to control her allergy was actually causing it. Just changing those few things made an immediate difference for the better. Then we were able to take our time phasing out the rest.
Find a company with products you can trust.
There are lots of great companies out there that have made commitments to use chemical free ingredients for their products. For us, this started our journey with Young Living. Young Living has a great blog post detailing ingredients you'll never find in their products. Many of these were synthetics that my daughter was allergic to. Their Essential Rewards program allowed me to get products delivered monthly to my door and earn points back towards free things. For me, this sealed the deal. It was nice to know there was one line of products I could trust for everything, without having to walk through Target and scrutinize labels. Do your research, you'll find yours.
I hope this post is helpful. Remember that your patch test results is just the first step-and it's the step that will lead to you getting well! So stay positive, and baby step your way to better health.I'd love to connect with you and hear more about your journey. Come join my Facebook group for more natural living tips and tricks and a great community vibe. See you there!
When my oldest daughter was born, I learned very quickly that she had sensitive skin. I LOVED the baby lotions, baby shampoos, ALL the things that made my sweet baby smell clean and fresh. But I quickly realized that none of those things agreed with my baby's skin. I threw all of them out and started over with the non fragranced "organic" stuff I could find on the store shelves.
And so it continued....
Despite the change of products, my daughter continued to struggle with what the doctors said was eczema. Several pediatrician visits resulted in a referral to a dermatologist who recommended several different kinds of creams. None of them totally got rid of the problem. Then back to the pediatrician, for another referral, this one to the allergy specialist, who did traditional allergy testing. She revealed allergies to several kinds of environmental allergens, so they placed my daughter on a cocktail of allergy meds and lotions and creams.
Again, the problem never fully disappeared. I'd be very vigilant for several days with applying steroid creams and lotion to her itchy skin, the red patches would go away, and then I'd relax. And they'd come back. Finally, after a couple years of this and when my daughter reached 6, the doctor suggested patch testing.
Patch Testing to the rescue!
Patch testing is a process of testing the skin for allergies to chemical compounds that are common ingredients in the products we come in contact with every day. This whole process really opened my eyes to the things that are in practically everything we use. My daughter was tested for almost 80 synthetic ingredients, and she came back allergic to about 6 of them. Among these were propelyne glycol, formaldehyde, black rubber mix, and blue and orange textile dyes. The doctor came in after the testing, handed me a stack of paper, and I started to panic. These ingredients were in EVERYTHING and THEY HAD MORE THAN ONE NAME. I was so overwhelmed-how was I ever going to eliminate them from my home?
The second chapter begins-
For advice on what to do next, check out the next post in this series, where I go in to depth a bit more about how I cleaned our home up in the wake of this testing. My number one piece of advice to you would be: don't panic. If you or someone you love is facing patch testing, the answers to some very frustrating questions are on the horizon. There ARE good products available without the junk that causes issues. And if you are a person or a momma with a child who has skin issues that just don't seem to clear up, ask for patch testing. You'll be surprised what might come up!
If you have questions or want to connect, I'd love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below or fill out my contact form.