6.06.2021

It's Just the Coffee Talking: Apparently I overloaded my 'little' nickel allergy with too many products over the past two weeks and it's getting back at me

 

Good Morning Coffee Friends!

I figured out a couple years ago I seemed to have developed an allergy to nickel.  I've never had any sensitivity to anything my whole life so it was a learning process for me to figure it out. I think that was April of 2017.  I figured out the allergy for sure by May by testing my theory a few times.

The point is - I developed a nickel allergy in 2017 and figured it was just from cheap jewelry and random items.  I'd break out every so often - deal with it for a week - it would all go away - and life went on.  I was too busy to really pay much attention.

As time went on I started to notice some consistency, a recurrence 'schedule' and it seemed to be getting worse, spreading further and breaking out more intensely - and from more items.

I didn't know this was a 'thing' with nickel allergies.  I also figured that with every break out I was 'building up' my resistance like food allergies can - and that soon I wouldn't break out at ALL from them - once my immunity was built up to it.

Boy was I wrong.  Nickel allergies are OPPOSITE OF THAT.  Once you have them, they are for life and they get worse and intensify.

I know that now.

So, 4 years into it - learning a little bit here and there, changing a few things, starting to use anti-itch products when needed, etc.  it's REALLY CAME TO A HEAD IN 2021.  

It's been a bumpy ride over the past 5-6 months as things really, really stepped up their game.  I already figured out many things that would set it off or certain brands that set it off so obviously I stopped using them.  (Mainly, I figured out a certain hair color brand would cause huge raised welts on my head and itch so badly I couldn't THINK... but my normal two brands are fine.)  Things like that I figured out and changed to avoid the bloody itching on my body.

Over the past couple years it went from no allergy at all to now I can tell many things set it off - NOT JUST CHEAP JEWELRY.  

One of the most CRAZY things I learned around December of 2020... the allergic reaction had progressed so far that the tiny little metallic threads in the fabric of my red plaid Victoria Secret pajama pants was enough to set it off!  It was the metallic thread coupled with the brushing of the inner seam brushing against my inner thighs when I walked.  

Unfortunately, it's progressed so much in a couple months that my favorite OLD pink flannel pajama pants that I've owned for years and years - and have washed and worn so many times they are threadbare in places out of pure love - started to bother my thighs as well.  The itching being so intense that my thighs are constantly bruised and bloody... I looked closer and guess what? They have a tiny metallic thread running through them! 

(I wear ALL pajama pants inside out now because the brushing of the inner seam from loose pants set off some intense itching only stopped by itching with a bristle hair brush, spraying or using a cream with numbing properties, and then dusting with corn starch baby powder.)

Ok so the point of my chatting about this topic over coffee this morning is that I unwittingly set up the "perfect storm" for a huge break out over the past couple weeks and I had NO IDEA.

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Here is the deal... I knew the common sense things to look for when trying to figure out this allergic reaction.  I also was thinking maybe the 'scents' in items were also starting to set it off because things just did not make sense.

I've paid attention the obvious.  But this most recent 2-3 months has been worse than ever.  Also - my inner thighs never 'stopped' breaking out since the March outbreak.  It also got so bad that I've had to start using all sorts of anti-itch products, dusting with baby powder on top of them, and taking a Zyrtec in the morning and a Benedryl at bedtimes.  

The break outs have now traveled where they've never shown up before.

(And you need to realize this isn't just an ugly rash that itches a  little bit.  It's so itchy that I am bloody and bruised.  The kind of itch that makes you want to cry out in frustration, and only using a bristle hair brush to scratch will quell the insanity the itching causes.  But liquid seeping, raised, dry, itchy patches.. bloody because of the scratching.  This isn't just a little bothersome itch.)

For the first time ever the breakout itchy rash traveled to other parts of my legs, my stomach, my arms, my lower back... but the worst is it traveled up my neck and for the first time ever, passed my jawline.  My itchy, raised rashed neck now reaches back to my hairline, up my jaw onto my cheek, on my forehead and even on the outer fold of my ear!?

Never before.

So what the heck happened?????  I wracked my brain because I haven't used any 'new' laundry soap, bath products, hair color brands, lotions, etc.  What else could it be?

And now I know.

I had NO IDEA nickel was in so many things.    

I created the perfect storm by accident.

I FINALLY TOOK THE TIME TO LOOK UP WHAT ITEMS NICKEL IS IN THAT I MIGHT HAVE COME IN CONTACT WITH.

Wow.  I had no idea I was recently using so many nickel items at once.

(Just a few at random because they were things I've came into contact with numerous times over the past 2 weeks that might not have been the 'norm' for me)

coins
laptops
keys
make-up (especially DARK colors like browns and blacks)
hair color
dog bowls
faucets
pots and pans
doorknobs
silverware
jewelry
zippers
belt buckles
cell phones
piercings
hair clips
nail polish
watch bands
glasses (the frames)
bra hooks

foods include; wholegrain flours, oats, soy, legumes, shellfish, nuts, almonds, licorice, chocolate, canned fruits and vegetables, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, leafy greens, pineapple, vitamins....

  • My foundation powder is most likely what has caused the spreading and itching on my neck, face and ears.  It's all the places I was using the new foundation powder instead of my normal dusting powder.  (Apparently many women with nickel allergies have problems with that brand).
  • The foods I ate that were high in nickel, I ate in amounts larger than normal and more often than normal.  (I never eat HUGE salads 3 days in a row like I was, on top of the shrimp, wholegrain flour that was in the new King Arthur keto flour I was trying, the nuts that are my go-to snack or the tons of almonds and cabbage I was eating).
  • The nail polish was bad enough to start 'now' but I also unwittingly chose black. A dark color. 
  • When itching like CRAZY all week, I've been wearing my black nail polish to do so. I've been itching my neck, ears and jawline with same. The ends of my nails were constantly worn from itching and rubbing because I have to scratch my inner thighs and legs so much; so I was replacing the black polish daily. I've also kept my toenail painted lately - since the warm weather started.
  • I've been using hair clasps/barettes instead of my normal rubberized bands.  
  • I've been cleaning and touching door knobs, dog bowls, cell phones, laptop, zippers, keys and faucets. 
  • Cooking more than usual in my pots and pans that have nickel as I typically grill/microwave more often but this week I've been using the pots and pans; and hand washing them a good portion of the time.
  • On top of all this I needed to color my hair this week. 
  • And kept my silver cross necklace on this time through the break-out when I normally take it off for a few days during the allergic reaction week.

I had MORE exposure to nickel at one time than I think ever before.

 


 Now I know.

Whew!  I can fix some of these things now that I am aware of it!

 

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In researching, I've read NATorigin brand mascara, eyeliner, etc. are supposedly nickel free as Sweden and Denmark have nickel free products.  I do plan to try some of these but I haven't yet because... I did not know!  I found these on Amazon - which makes it easy.

NATorigin mascara, eyeliners, powders, etc.

 

 

I DO own a wood watch from Jord.  I don't remember to wear watches often but I've worn mine without issue - probably because I only wear it about 3 or 4 days consecutively before getting out of the habit - and it only has a small amount of metal.  I do know I have to be careful to dry my wrists completely after washing my hands, to ensure no water splashed up between my wrist and the metal parts.  It's mostly wood though - which is a blessing!

 

Jord watches (with wooden watchbands)

 

I've read online that many people Dr. Lipp brand lip cosmetics because they don't have nickel allergies with them.  Out of the UK I believe.

Dr. Lipp cosmetics

 

I have not bought this (never knew I needed it) until this weekend.  Now that I know about it, it's something I'll keep in the back of my mind if I can't clear up the reactions and need more desperate measures.

 

Metal & Nickel Allergy Pack - Protection against metals (Nickel, Chromium, Cobalt). Moisturizes. Cleanses. Extremely safe cream. Proven efficacy (guard). No need for Nickel-Free Earrings anymore!

 

I did not know this was even available... but I DO plan to try it.  Again - I found these links on Amazon so it's quick and easy to order them.  It's a nickel allergy test kit to see if there is nickel in your jewelry.  I don't wear much jewelry, and I know my favorite ring has nickel so I have to weigh the consequences if I decide to wear it for a couple days.  But I'd like to know if my cross necklace has nickle or not.  It doesn't usually bother me - but I think it does when I have 'overdone it' with more nickel products than usual and the reactions start to flare up.

 

Reveal and Conceal Nickel Allergy Test Kit by Smart Practice - Detecting Nickel is a Snap - Test for Nickel in Your Jewelry and Prevent Skin Exposure With Liquid Clear Coat - Includes 10 Test Swabs 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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