I’ve discussed this topic here before, I have allergies and sometimes it’s hard not to whine about it. I stopped using incense in my rituals years ago when they gave my husband asthma (and I must admit, triggered some in me too). I’ve lost a few family members in recent years, and at the time of their deaths, I burnt candles here at home for them, until one day my husband pulled out the filter on our a/c to find it pitch black. EEEK. I’ve not burned a candle (much) I’ve had to scan ingredient lists for thyme, after I bought a plant and found myself allergic to it. I know to avoid these things. Don’t burn candles, don’t burn incense, don’t use thyme, so it’s no big deal. I just buy cosmetics and stuff without the offending ingredients and avoid incense when I can.
But this past winter put a new, urgent turn on my allergies. I don’t often wear make up often–it’s just something I stopped doing a long time ago except for photos or special occasions. The news stories of all the chemicals found in the stuff puts me off, I must say. If you poke around on my blog you’ll find a post or two about the chemicals in nail polish. One thing I kept doing, though, was coloring my hair. I am Irish at heart, though not (so far as we can find) genetics and I’ve always lamented my dark hair. So I color it. (Yes, I’m owning up to those roots in my author photo, big deal). I’m just too young for those grays!
Medusa by Arnold Bocklin, 1878
Concerned with the odd chemicals, I tried a more natural/organic brand a year ago, and strangely, reacted to it where I had never had a problem with the more well-known store brands. Huh. Weird. So, I went back to the least offensive of the store brands. Lately, my nearby stores stopped stocking my favorite color (which we thought strange) but checking everywhere I could I couldn’t find any recalls or news about said-color, so I moved a shade darker. Did all the necessary tests and didn’t have a problem….until early January. In early January, I did a touch up (with said darker shade) and no problem for about a week. Then I woke up one morning with an ear itching and around my hairline… and…it got worse over the next couple days until I was squirmy-not comfortable. Through trial and error we deciphered my misery had all the earmarks of reaction to a chemical in the dye called PPD–and the beginnings of an allergic reaction that could potentially kill someone. In my case, I lucked out in that my reaction wasn’t that bad. I abhor taking medication of any kind for anything (daily allergy pill included) but I downed a quart of Benadryl (no, not actually a quart), and washed (and washed, and washed and washed) with dish detergent and vitamin C (yes, that does actually work! I was skeptical when I read about it but it does) to get the darned color/the chemical out of my hair, and the itching subsided.*phew* All this after I’d done an allergy test, first before coloring and it came up negative. (The instructions say wait 24-48 hours, after all, not seven days). So I used the color without any worry this might happen. But it did. (and it’s happened to others, including actresses–which I had wondered about). How could I have a reaction after the allergy test came up negative? I’ve not found a mention of this online. Just my luck, I guess.
Hubby teased about shaving my head at one point and I tell ya, I was seriously considering it. That’s how uncomfortable I felt.
I finally cut as much as possible the color out of my hair, and have been sporting what my friend Beth calls a guillotine cut. *cries* For someone like me who’s always loved my long hair, this hurt. I have to cut more as the newly-colored hair grows out until I get rid of all the colored hair, but after this reaction and everything I’ve read about PPDs and such, no more dyeing for me. I’m going to have to embrace the grays. Why? Everything I’ve read said that once you have a reaction to this chemical, you’re predisposed to have it happen again, and it may result in anaphylactic shock and death. EEP! Not something I’m brave enough to court. This sucks, not only for the gray hair but that I’ve been planning to get a tattoo and the articles say those inks can trigger a reaction too. (My first one, years ago, did not. Oh, if I known Raven Queen Publications was on the horizon!!) Anyway, it was a total scare here, and I have to wonder why my gods couldn’t have just …you know, put the idea in my head not to use the stuff again without the cluehammer but it will be for the best. *g* At least it’s spring. I won’t have to worry about ear warmers for a long while. *lol*
*Why not just use commercial color remover or bleach? It’s the hydrogen peroxide that fouled up/didn’t oxidize the PPD mixture fully, we think and why would I want to oxidize it???? (Or I was afraid and didn’t want to risk) And store bought color remover is …you guessed it, more chemicals. Besides, I wanted the color gone without having to re-color my hair again, and color removers seem to remove all color, leaving you having to re-dye your hair. Not what I want. Anyway, that’s my story. be careful, gals, and read those labels!