Dr. Sandy Patient Helping Patients

I really enjoy traveling. I also really enjoy using the toiletries at the various hotels. I asked Nina if I could write this blog while I am traveling and after sampling various lotions and responding to work emails. Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy using the various toiletries and sampling various lotions and potions. I do however consider part of my job to test products.
One of my favorite patients is one of those unfortunate people who cannot try various toiletries or lotions. She suffered with various rashes and ailments for years before she presented to our clinic. She would often “break out in a rash” while traveling or visiting a friend. We decided she should be patch tested and learned that she was/is sensitive to some chemicals and ingredients. She learned how to avoid those ingredients and became loyal to “free and clear” products. She was doing fine for a few years but then returned to the clinic with a new rash around her eyes and neck. She was perplexed because she did not change anything. She has not tried anything new. She didn’t even travel somewhere and try their soaps and lotions. So we decided to patch test again. Lo and behold she now is allergic to Cocamidopropyl betaine. This is not something I could easily pronounce but do know that it was the allergen of the year in 2004. I also know that it is related to coconut oil. The surge in popularity of coconut oil may be related to the surge of people allergic to Cocamidopropyl betaine.

One of the reasons that she is one of my favorite people is that she is a great researcher and sleuth. She learned that there are many alternative names for this ingredient and that it also cross reacts with other ingredients. She also learned that it is in some products even if it is not listed on the label. For example, it is found in many mascaras…even the “organic” or “natural” ones.

According to livestrong.com (I like the way they worded this) “Cocamidopropyl betaine is a chemical found in many personal care products, including shampoo, toothpaste and body wash. The chemical is derived from coconuts and is used to make products produce more foam. Because cocamidopropyl betaine originates from coconut oil, even some personal care products labeled as natural still contain it. Although the government regards the ingredient as safe, some people do have negative reactions after exposure to it.” Many of us like Cocamidopropyl betaine because it is a “natural” surfactant that makes products sudsy. After all, we all like “natural” products, right? After all, coconut oil is natural. Poison ivy is natural. True mascara is made of bat guano which is also natural.

She was generous enough to share with all of us some ingredients that she can use even though she is allergic to Cocamidopropyl betaine. She shared this list with us.

1)Laundry detergent-the only SKU from 7th Generation

2) soap/shampoo bar from amazon-all 3 of us love this. It has no chemicals so after 3-4 washes, your hair is much softer. It takes a few times to detox the hair.

3)lotion-this is WalMart’s version of Aveeno. We use both.

4)I’m making my own makeup remover with equal parts Witch Hazel (Walmart) and Grapeseed oil (Old fashioned Foods) plus 4 drops lavender oil. You have to wipe it off with dry cloth but it works.

Like many people who suffer with contact dermatitis, she has learned to be creative. We would be honored if you suffer with contact dermatitis or other skin ailments and would like to share some of your creative solutions with us. Please do so by emailing our skin care product specialist Brooke at brooke@johnsondermatology.com or posting on Instagram or Facebook and tagging us at location Johnson Dermatology or with #realJDpatient Until next time, stay skintastic and know that our team at Johnson Dermatology is here to serve you and your skin care needs and wants. S



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