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View Full Version : Allergic reaction to a shampoo. Help!



Nadine <3
December 19th, 2014, 02:36 PM
...My mom was being very nice this morning. When she went to the store she on a whim decided to grab me a new shampoo and conditioner she thought I would like to try. She knows I have an assortment of shampoos and conditioners that I like to use, she knows I put weird things in my hair. She thinks it's weird so the most she comment on is "your hair looks really good today" or "that bun is cute" My mom and I have a rough relationship as it is, and I was really touched that she thought of me at the store and brought home a gift. She was really excited about it, so since today was wash day I used it. I didn't think much of it, it was a sulfate-y shampoo (L'Oreal volume filler) and I need sulfates to keep my scalp happy.

Well, now y entire scalp is absolutely covered in massive red, angry hives. They cover the back of my neck, my entire back all the way to my bum, as well as my hands. It's HORRIBLE and ITCHY and it's burning! I took some benadryl and now I'm sleepy but still covered in itchy hives. I've broken out from products like this before, but never this bad and they usually go away after taking some benadryl. How can I treat my scalp and the rest of my body?? Should I rewash? I'm considering going to the walk in clinic if it doesn't settle down soon.

Annalouise
December 19th, 2014, 02:42 PM
When I get a chemical reaction from a shampoo I immediately grab a 'safe' shampoo and wash the scalp and entire length to remove the
irritant. I'll wash my hair typically 4-5 times to completely remove the irritant. Then condition.

You probably don't need to go to a dermatologist. You are just having a reaction to a chemical in the product. DISCONTINUE use (obviously)
and write down the ingredients. See if you can cross reference with other products to see what ingredient is affecting you.

If you are chemically sensitive then you need to be very careful with drugstore/grocery products. When you're feeling better you can post the ingredients here and we'll take a look at them.

Good luck. And don't panic. Your skin will recover in a few days.

Nadine <3
December 19th, 2014, 02:50 PM
When I get a chemical reaction from a shampoo I immediately grab a 'safe' shampoo and wash the scalp and entire length to remove the
irritant. I'll wash my hair typically 4-5 times to completely remove the irritant. Then condition.

You probably don't need to go to a dermatologist. You are just having a reaction to a chemical in the product. DISCONTINUE use (obviously)
and write down the ingredients. See if you can cross reference with other products to see what ingredient is affecting you.

If you are chemically sensitive then you need to be very careful with drugstore/grocery products. When you're feeling better you can post the ingredients here and we'll take a look at them.

Good luck. And don't panic. Your skin will recover in a few days.


Thank you, off to go rewash.

Here's the ingredients,
Ingredients-
Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coco-betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Hexylene Glycol, Aminopropyl Triethoxysilane, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Polyquaternium-30, Carbomer, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hydroxide.

I've never reacted this way to shampoo, usually it's a body wash that does it. I'm mostly water only on my body for that reason.

Annalouise
December 19th, 2014, 03:00 PM
Also, I would look at the ingredients on the shampoos that work for you. And then cross off the ingredients above that are in the shampoos that work for you. That will narrow the list down of possible offenders.

The only thing that is a grey area is "fragrance" because it is a proprietor's secret and not required by the FDA to disclose what is in it.
Assuming its not a chemical in the 'fragrance' then you should be able to figure it out eventually.

If not, one can also opt for 'fragrance free' products to avoid the mystery chemicals.

meteor
December 19th, 2014, 03:06 PM
:grouphug: Terribly sorry that this happened to you! :(

Is it getting worse? If so, go see a doctor! Extreme allergic reactions are quite dangerous, actually.

If it's getting better, then just try not to put anything on scalp and body. Wash with water alone, if possible.
If you see that your skin is feeling painfully dry, flakey, then you can apply a barrier-repairing lotion or even simple Vaseline (it's basically mineral oil) on your body. It creates a neutral, occlusive barrier protecting your skin a bit while it's recovering.

But if it's pretty bad, consider asking your mom to go to a pharmacy to get you a hydrocortisone cream: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-10402/hydrocortisone-top/details
It's usually what a doctor will prescribe anyway, unless it's really severe, in which case you should just go to a hospital now.

Best of luck! :D I really hope you'll recover soon! :flowers: Let us know how it's going!

Annalouise
December 19th, 2014, 03:13 PM
This jumps off the page for me: Aminopropyl Triethoxysilane.
It's not something I often see in skin products and its known to cause skin irritation.

swearnsue
December 19th, 2014, 07:52 PM
Nadine, how are you doing? Is the rash going away?

Nadine <3
December 19th, 2014, 08:28 PM
After reading the responses here I rubbed some cortisone 10 all over the rash, laid down and fell into benadryl coma lol I woke up and my scalp still has a few bumps on it, and my back is still red...I'm still a bit itchy, but it's slowly getting better.

At some point I need to attempt detangling the mess of hair on my head...didn't detangle after washing. I'm scared to comb it, I've never had any luck getting tangles out of dry hair! I might re wet and condition it just to get it detangled. It feels like hay from all the washing I had to do :(

Annalouise
December 19th, 2014, 08:59 PM
Your health is more important than your hair!!! You can always do a deep treatment later.:D
It will take awhile for your skin to heal. But it does. The bodies immune system kicks in and your skin will go back to normal in time.
The reaction you had is your bodies way of telling you: "NO!, I can't handle these toxins." So pay attention. This is coming from someone who has MCS and deals with chemical burns and rashes. I don't use synthetic chemicals anymore.

The reason your hair is like straw is that sulphates are very drying. You might want to keep a soap based non chemical shampoo in your cabinet for these emergency purposes so your hair doesn't get dried out if you have to scrub a irritating chemical off your hair/skin.

I'm glad you are feeling better!

AmethystLily
December 19th, 2014, 09:34 PM
I'd go back and cross-reference those ingredients like Annalouise said. Are there other products you've reacted to that had the same ingredients? You did mention body washes causing problems also. Do body washes and shampoos contain some of the same ingredients? I know the composition/formula varies because they target different areas, but I wonder if they both share other added ingredients.

Next time you get a new product, take a look at the ingredients list. If it shows one you might have had issues with, don't use it. Or if you're not sure or feel brave enough to try it anyway, put a small amount on your forearm and leave there for a few minutes. Just one more question: Do you have immediate (within minutes) or delayed (within hours to days) reactions?

Mya
December 20th, 2014, 03:56 AM
I too get allergic reactions from L'Oreal shampoos. From my experience, it's not really about what ingredients are in (last time it happened they looked safe), maybe it's more about their quality or the way they are mixed? Or maybe it's the mysterious "fragrance"? Fragrances are known to easily cause allergic reaction.

Anyway, never use L'Oreal shampoos. Ever.

Go back to your normal routine (don't overwash, unless you really feel it would make you feel better). Use a shampoo that is safe for you and stick to it forever. Be as gentle as you feel like. Your scalp and skin should gradually heal in a few weeks.

I'm sorry this happened to you and ruined your mother's nice gesture. But at least you learned something about what products your skin doesn't like!

mz_butterfly
December 20th, 2014, 04:08 AM
This might sound weird. but in the pet section they have an anti itch spray with hydrocortisone and it's a liquid form. It's a little more expensive than a tube of cream, but I would get some and use that on my scalp. It would cover the scalp better than gloppy cream.

I hope you get relief soon.

tigereye
December 20th, 2014, 04:31 AM
I'm allergic to SLS (and SLES, and ALS), so I feel you. I used to develop sores on my scalp until I figured out the problem ingredient. Plus, I am allergic to some perfume ingredient, but they never list them so I just go fragrance-free these days.

I don't find Benadryl to be that useful for contact dermatitis (skin reactions), though it's useful for respiratory issues. I find fexofenadine works better. I get prescribed it, but if you're in America, it's sold as Allegra. The only issues with antihistamines is that they all take a while to actually work - I take fexofenadine every day because I'm allergic to the nickel that our coins are made from and I'd scratch my skin off while waiting for an antihistamine to work if I took it after the itching started, so I take it before hand.

Better avoiding the problem ingredient where possible. Comparing the ingredient list to other shampoos is an excellent idea.

Halliday
December 20th, 2014, 06:45 AM
Oh my goodness, that's scary. I hope they die down soon. I don't trust L'Oreal sulfate shampoos, they contain irritants.

Agnieszka
December 20th, 2014, 07:21 AM
My son gets hives from various irritants (mostly food allergens and silk) and when his skin reacts first thing I do is I wash it with a mild soap and lots of cool water .That usually do the trick and hives go away between 10 minutes and an hour. I wouldn't give him antihistamine for contact allergic reaction as it was not effective. Antihistamine works very well when he eats irritant and starts to swell. In a past I used hydrocortisone cream but water was as effective. I hope you are feeling better now.

Ambrielle
December 20th, 2014, 08:46 AM
so sorry to hear what happened, hope you feel much better now :flower:

i've used the l'oreal absolut repair range in the past without any problems but as a rule i stay away from most shampoo brands that contain harsh sulphates anyway as i find them drying on my hair type.

In2wishin
December 20th, 2014, 08:54 AM
Thank you, off to go rewash.

Here's the ingredients,
Ingredients-
Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coco-betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Hexylene Glycol, Aminopropyl Triethoxysilane, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Polyquaternium-30, Carbomer, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hydroxide.

I've never reacted this way to shampoo, usually it's a body wash that does it. I'm mostly water only on my body for that reason.

Looking at that list, the first thing that jumps out at me is the Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone. They are formaldehyde releasing preservatives and are known to cause skin irritation. (They jump out at me because I am allergic to them)

Imalath
December 20th, 2014, 04:14 PM
I'm sorry you had such a horrible reaction to your shampoo, nadine. I have broken out in hives due to a skin product before, but it's usually bodywash or perfume. A trick my grandmother taught me when I was maxed out on antihistamines and still itchy is vinegar. Add a splash of vinegar to a bowl of water and use it with a washcloth as a compress over affected areas for a few minutes. I don't know the science behind it, but it has always worked for me. Not sure how you could apply it in your scenario though, short of taking a very smelly bath! Hope you feel better soon!

MeowScat
December 20th, 2014, 08:23 PM
How are you today? Has your skin calmed down?

Nadine <3
December 20th, 2014, 11:06 PM
My skin has calmed down considerably today. My back feels normal, my scalp is itchy but that's because it's all dried out now. My hair felt like hay so I wet it with a spray bottle and rubbed some olive oil in it this morning and you can't even tell I had oil in it now...it's completely soaked up! Going to add another drop before bed.

Next time I wash, I'm using my products and I'm never going to use anything else...gift or not.

In2wishin
December 21st, 2014, 06:34 AM
My skin has calmed down considerably today. My back feels normal, my scalp is itchy but that's because it's all dried out now. My hair felt like hay so I wet it with a spray bottle and rubbed some olive oil in it this morning and you can't even tell I had oil in it now...it's completely soaked up! Going to add another drop before bed.

Next time I wash, I'm using my products and I'm never going to use anything else...gift or not.

This is a great idea but it may also help to try and isolate the problem ingredient or ingredients if you can.

lapushka
December 21st, 2014, 08:56 AM
It's great that it's calmed down now. It's such a bad feeling to have, when your mom actually wanted to do something nice for you, and it backfired like that. Oh, give her a big hug. She couldn't have known. :) I think that's so sad.