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December 30, 2019


My dermatologist diagnosed me with eczema 8 months ago and while it wasn’t earth-shattering, I was surprised because I’m 50 and wouldn’t eczema have shown up before now? Really? Short answer, yes! It’s the atopy of eczema, asthma and hay fever – if an immediate relative has one or all of these, then yes, any one of the three can show up at any time. Life continually presents challenges, big and small, and it is during these times that I think of my meditation practice and remember that everything is fluid and changing and nothing, good or bad ever lasts, they are in fact opportunities to learn.

If you suffer from eczema, you’re familiar with the extreme discomfort that has often made it impossible to sleep. I was convinced that scratching my legs and ankles with a brillo pad would be the only thing that would work. No damage, right? Oatmeal baths and antihistamines help but are a band-aid for the true cause(s). Allergy tests confirmed that I am reactive to products containing 3 different chemical agents – anything with MCI/MI, propolis and neomycin sulfate.

Neomycin sulfate is found in topical antibiotic ointments and propolis (bee glue) is used in topical and oral bee products. So far so good, not so difficult to avoid contact with these products.

The difficult one is MCI/MI – Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone – it’s everywhere! Hair products, soap, skin cleansers, sunscreen, cosmetics, laundry cleaners, paints, pesticides, and household products just to name a few of an extremely large list. MCI/MI is a preservative agent used in so many products to combat bacteria, yeast, fungi and algae. A great agent for extending shelf-life but not so great for a large population that are sensitive to this known allergen.

It has been an interesting endeavor going through my house and reading product ingredient lists. We hear a lot about food additives and preservatives that are difficult to pronounce and less than healthy, well personal and household products are no exception. I ended up tossing a garbage bag full of products and it turns out that I’m allergic to my favorite shampoo! Finding new hair products has been a challenge but after a few different brand trials, I really love AG hair products which are pricier but perfect for my superfine hair. Like food products, the goal is to keep the ingredient list as short and as natural as possible.

Some MCI/MI-free products:
AG Balance Shampoo;
AG Boost Conditioner;
AG Remedy Detangler;
Biotherm – Daily exfoliating Cleanser;
Saje – Goddess body wash;
Vichy – V Mineral 89;
Loreal – Hydra Genius facial moisturizer.

Dermatologist recommended:
Live Clean products – hair products and hand soap;
Cerave – Facial cleanser and body moisturizer.

My upcoming projects are laundry soap and cosmetics. While the laundry soap I currently use is MCI/MI free, I would like to experiment with soap nuts and move toward less processed detergents. It has been eye-opening to investigate the amount of chemicals, toxins and allergens that are in almost everything we use and contact the skin – is it any wonder that the body calls a time-out and fights back? I’ll keep you posted on what I find…

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Photo by Nefeli Kavvada on Unsplash