Monday, December 20, 2010

Why Am I Itchy?

Unlike my son who gets an inflamed esophagus when he eats something he is allergic to, my food allergies usually manifest themselves as rashes.
And for weeks I have been feeling itchier than usual, with rashes popping up seemingly spontaneously.

So I became the detective… what was I eating that was making me itchy?

I had been using flax seed in my smoothies. I tried leaving out the flax seeds, and stopped using flax seed goop as an egg replacer for a while, but nothing changed.

I stopped eating chocolate for a few days, dreading the thought that perhaps I had suddenly developed an allergy to chocolate, and was quite happy when that didn’t solve the problem.

I was stumped.

Then in the shower the other day, squinting to see the 2-point font writing for the ingredients list on my shampoo, I thought I spotted “wheat” listed. Out of the shower I grabbed my reading glasses to check, and sure enough – the shampoo I have been using for the past three months has wheat in it.

I was very happy to find a culprit that wasn’t chocolate or a new food allergen to add to my list of things to avoid, but very annoyed that the labels on the shampoo didn’t allow me to easily discover this. In the US, while the top eight food allergens must be clearly listed on all food products, the same does not apply to cosmetics. If passed, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 would help by ensuring full ingredient disclosure, but would not have the same focus on calling out allergens that food packaging is required to have.

Have you ever had a reaction to a food allergen in your shampoo, soap, or make-up? How did you discover it?

Update: Since I posted this I have been through my entire stash of haircare and skin care products (including those travel sizes that tend to collect in the bottom drawer) and have discovered that nearly everything has wheat, or soy, or some kind of hydrolized protein in it. So I am looking for recommendations on great allergen-free skin and hair products. Any ideas?


Jean at The Delightful Repast said...

Colette, this post makes the case for allergy-free very clearly and succinctly! I just posted a recipe for a wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free snack. The photo shows it garnished with pistachios, but I just as often garnish with finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Though I enjoy it on whole wheat crackers, I also enjoy it just as much on strips of fresh vegetables such as red bell pepper. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the airlines would serve a snack like that?

Colette said...

Jean, I sooo wish the airlines would serve a non-wheat, non-dairy, non-nut snack. Besides being allergen free they would be healthier!