I guess you could say that it all began one cold winter day in December of 1998. I was all decked out in my purple winter formal dress, the boy I had a crush on was coming to pick me up… We took photos in front of the Christmas tree, and I got the ever coveted formal date corsage. The rest is all history…
NO! Definitely not about the boy. About the corsage! Oh the corsage… it was perfect for a winter formal! Beautiful lavender colored flowers to accent my dress and pine needles! Lovely pine needles. Very… Itchy… Pine needles. And thus began a 15 year battle with eczema.
Well, I suppose that is part of the story. I suspect the other part happened while I was in the womb. God spoke down to my mother’s belly and said, “this child will never be satisfied with a crappy answer,” “she will question everything!”
So then we fast forward 15 years to the start of my naturalistic journey of questioning everything. We’ll leave my personal life to another blog post.
Of course upon the onset of this ever damning rash I consulted my PCP and was diagnosed with eczema, given a prescription for a steroid cream, and sent on my way. (Of course there was no question of whether or not this could have been an allergic reaction or anything…) The only problem was that.. this was on my hands. I touch things with my hands, and I eat with my hands, and now I’m putting steroids on my hands. Ya, no. So I only used it at night. Helped for a couple of days, of course if I stopped using it, then it came back. Before too long I just said screw it, I’ll deal with it. And that’s what I did for the next decade +.
Upon my college years, mother nature decided to give me the gift of adult acne when I entered my 20s! What joy! I didn’t even know there was such a thing! Thus began my almost-a-decade long journey of trying to find a working skin care system. There were, at times, regimes that I found helped.. and Always, always contained salicylic acid. But if there is one thing that you should know about me, I am obsessive about 2 things: smells and cleanliness. And everything that I used pushed those limits. Post college, with Google at my fingertips, I started seeking more natural alternatives. Clays, and hot oil treatments, anything in the natural store… still. nothing. helped. By this time I was battling cystic acne every couple of months.
Even though I was never able to find anything but salicylic acid to help keep my acne under control, I always knew there had to be a better answer. And then I became a mother.
Becoming a mom brought on a whooooole new dimension of care and concern for what we were using around the house and on ourselves.. what our daughter might be able to get in to. And then, And THEN… I found the validation that meant I had to keep going.
“Sunscreens are recommended for children and adults. What makes babies so different?
‘Babies’ skin is less mature compared to adults, and infants have a higher surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults.” explains Sachs. “Both these factors mean that an infant’s exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens may be much greater, increasing the risk of side effects from the sunscreen.'” [Emphasis mine]
I’m sorry, what? Chemicals? That’s why babies aren’t supposed to use sunscreen? As I pine over the frustration of being a beach bum with an entire summer on maternity leave and a baby born at the end of May.
Enter local natural, organic company. Score! Truly natural sunscreen! And we spent the summer at the beach with a newborn.
It wasn’t until February 2014 though that I really, finally found it. The answer to everything. Radiantly You. The door flung WIDE open in to a journey of discovery, learning, seeking, and educating.
Done pretty damn good job, huh?
It was only this past December 2014 that I started piecing some of my history together. We had just finished setting up our Christmas tree, got the lights on, and DAMN my arms were itchy! Uh-oh. Half panic set in…. I’m allergic to pine needles? Duh. But if it was just an allergic reaction I had at 15 years old then why did it never go away? Well that part was still a bit of a mystery until March of this year.
I came across this article: (http://abc7ny.com/health/chemical-found-in-all-natural-products-causing-allergic-reactions/552089/)
Holy shit. See, while my eczema was pretty much nowhere to be seen anymore, my crazy fingertips were still having problems. Random cracks and peeling, just weird stuff. What the heck was the problem now? BAM. Baby Wipes. Baby wipes, the ONE thing that I was touching consistently that was not really pure. Sure enough, if I changed brands, I got my fingertips back. Only it didn’t stop there.. after a couple weeks with the new wipes, it started again.
Preservatives in EVERYTHING.
So what happened in 1998? I had an allergic reaction to pine needles for sure, and at some point it either triggered a response, or I randomly acquired an allergy to stupid preservatives that are in EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT IN THE MAINSTREAM MARKET.
Do you see where I’m going with this? This is why I’m obsessed with using truly natural, preservative free products. This is WHY discovering and researching information is so incredibly important to this girl.
Oh yeah, and that acne? That’s totally gone too.