Things are getting a little hairy around here, in more ways than one.
Do you remember Bill the Cat? From Bloom County? Famous for acking and cacking and spitting up hairballs?
Yeah, well, Oscar is giving Bill a run for the money.
To that end, (the front end) I am treating Oscar with a daily glob of hairball remedy – a natural concoction that smells like maple syrup.
To the other end, Reiner groomed booth cats. They now have lovely, glossy coats. And a new toy to play with! The hair from the brush packed down into a compact SOS-scouring-pad-sized ball. They love it! They’ve even taken to batting it back and forth, like a game of road hockey.
And this brings us to our PSA (Public Service Announcement): Watch out for nasties in your shampoo!
Last year at the beginning of December, I felt “off my feed.” No surprise. It was flu season. It was Christmas Shopping Season. It was time for the assorted Christmas craft and bake sales at the library, and time for the Annual General Meetings for two of the local committees for which I volunteer. I’m right there, in with the throngs of people hacking and cacking and coughing up lungs.
Then my eyes started to water and itch, and I had a hard time focusing on what I was reading. I felt that pre-sickness prickliness – fatigued, sore throat, and just plain bleah.
But something else happened: I developed a rash on my face, at my nose, around my ears, and at my hairline. Up until now, I haven’t had much by way of allergic reaction to anything. What the hell was going on?
I treated my skin with an assortment of ointments, including Aloe Vera and an over-the-counter eczema remedy with colloidal oatmeal. Didn’t help.
Then, after talking with my cousin, I tried an over-the-counter hydro-cortisone ointment. That seemed to work.
The first of January, the flu finally caught up with me, and set me on my butt for a good two weeks. My immune system kicked into high gear and the rash eventually cleared up.
Until it returned this week. The dry skin, the itching, watery eyes.
What the hell?
Have I been exposed to something at the library? I volunteer once a week, and meet the patrons while I cover the circulation desk; I handle books and CD’s that have been touched by multitudes.
Or… could it be my new eyeglasses that I started to wear at the beginning of December? I had new lenses put into old frames. I called the optometrist yesterday to inquire.
She agreed that it is possible that the lens material and/or the coatings might be the cause, but I should continue to search for other reasons. Have I changed my routine?
What DIDN’T I change last year? I moved to a new house, to a new climate zone, to a mining town no less, one surrounded by potentially toxic minerals. I told her that I’d give it some thought.
Then Linda’s SoCS prompt came into my WP feed. “Hair.”
What about my shampoo? The shampoo that I buy, not because it works the best, but because it is the one that is on sale at the moment. What about that new brand I just started to use the first of December?
I typed “allergic reaction Dove Shampoo” into Google and this headline, dated YESTERDAY, believe it or not, from the Telegraph in the UK popped up:
Feel free to skim the article copied below – I’ve formatted the text that stood out for me.
[Methylisothiazolinone] is used in a wide range of shampoos, moisturizers and shower gels as well as make-up and baby wipes.
But dermatologists warn people are being exposed to much higher doses than before, leading to a steep rise in allergies known as contact dermatitis where the skin becomes red and itchy and can sting and blister.
Experts say the chemical is second only to nickel in causing contact allergies. One in 12 adults and one in five children in the UK now have eczema, of which contact dermatitis is one of the most common types.
Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative which is also found in paint. It is added to products to prevent unwanted growth of bacteria and yeasts.
The substance is safe and non-toxic but European regulations now permit stronger concentrations than previously allowed.
Dr John McFadden, consultant dermatologist at St John’s Institute of Dermatology in London, said: “We are in the midst of an outbreak of allergy to a preservative which we have not seen before in terms of scale in our lifetime.
“Many of our patients have suffered acute dermatitis with redness and swelling of the face. I would ask the cosmetics industry not to wait for legislation but to get on and address the problem before the situation gets worse.”
The chemical was previously mixed with another preservative, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) in a three-to-one ratio.
But concerns about MCI causing allergies meant some manufacturers started using MI as a single agent. Used alone, it has been included at a much higher concentration.
When the two compounds were used, MI it was found in concentrations of around four parts per million (ppm). But on its own a level of up to 100ppm, a 25-fold increase, is allowed under European regulations introduced in 2005.
Experts say that since its concentration in products increased there has been a serious rise in cases of contact dermatitis, particularly in the last two years. They believe there is a link. [italics are mine]
Yes, my Dove shampoo contains these two potentially nasty ingredients.
Yes, I am going to replace it with a hypoallergenic product and hope that this thing clears up.
Thanks, Linda for the PERFECT prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday.
Update February 11, 2017 – one week later – Garnier Fructis for the win. The rash has subsided. It would appear that I am sensitive to MI and MCI.
Categories: In Other News