Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coconut-free Makeup?

A question I often discuss with many of you offline via email is MAKEUP!

Most make-up companies usually don't list the ingredients for the world to see. So, if you want to go to the drug store to shop for make-up, you will probably find it to be a frustrating and mysterious experience.
However, I have had great success and patience from workers at Origins stores, since they have their own storefront for just their brand.  However, don't try to get much from their online representatives.  All of my requests for ingredients have been redirected to the point of being completely ignored if I try to get them emailed to me.  Also, a good Mary Kay representative will be able to go into their personal computer system and search for ingredients that you are allergic to and see which products use them.  This has been how I get the only makeup I have found to work for me.  But, believe me, I really don't use much makeup anymore.

MASCARA= No, thank you.
I remember the first allergic reaction I had to some mascara (all mascara that I have found has SLS in it or something coconut related to make it slippery).  About a half hour after I put it on, it made me feel like my eyelids were being peeled back over the top of my head.  It burned!  This was, most likely, a sign as a teenager that I had a coconut allergy.  Mascara is just so risky if you're allergic to coconut.  If you MUST glam it up in the eyelash realm and aren't sensitive to adhesives, try some falsies.  They really are fun, can look pretty natural, and actually in fashion right now (well, depending on where you live in the country).  If you live in a big city you can even find salons who will glue them on for you!

Another makeup item to watch out for is cover-up or foundation.  In its liquid form, it contains SLS as well.  A good alternative is pure mineral makeup.

LIPSTICK= Take time to sort through them.
I find that about half of lipsticks have coconut ingredients.  Look for lipstick that you can sharpen with the big pencil sharpener, rather than the extra creamy stuff in the regular lipstick tubes.  Many of the pencil lipsticks still have Coco-something or rather.

EYELINER= Maybe, maybe not.
Liquid eyeliners, like lipsticks, tend to have more allergenic ingredients.  So, stick with the ones that are in pencil form, and research labels carefully.

EYE SHADOW= Yes, please!  But only if powder.  Still double check, but I haven't ever found a powdered eye shadow that had anything coconutty in it.  Cream eye shadows would be more iffy.

FACE POWDER- Safe :-).  This may be your go-to makeup item.  Powders usually have very few ingredients, mostly talcum, minerals, and tints.  Not usually anything coconut-related.

BLUSH- Usually safe, if powder

As you can see, most of the purely powdery makeup is safe.  You can make it work better if you skin is dry by applying a moisturizer that you aren't allergic to (nutrogena seems to work well) right before you put on the powder to help it stick.  You can even mix your powder with your moisturizer.

Experiment, and let me know what you've been able to come up with!  Let us all know what your favorites are.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LEAP MRT testing

I recently had a test that my new allergy doctor suggested to try and figure out some of my more serious, delayed reactions to foods.  It was really cosmic to see how accurate it was in finding the foods that bothered me, when the other common blood tests didn't show anything.  However, it didn't show a big reaction to coconut.  It is called LEAP MRT, which stands for Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance Mediator Release Testing.  It tests your blood over time to see whether it reacts by releasing mediators like histamine, cytokines, and/or prostaglandins when it contacts the food.  It doesn't say which kind of mediator is released, just that it happened.

My doctor has said this test has helped a lot of people, so I thought, why not go for it even though I had to pay for it all out of pocket.  The test alone cost me $295!  Not cool that even my slick PPO insurance doesn't cover it, but I was so intrigued, I had to spring for it.

It shows your reactions to more than a hundred foods and chemicals in green, yellow, or red, depending how your blood reacts to the trigger.  Here are some of my results for an example.  This is just for fun, because everyone's reactions will be vastly different, so my results will  not be anything like yours if you had the test.

This was the only test out there that shows chemical sensitivities, which I wasn't really worried about, but now I know that I have probably issues with some artificial colors.

Although coconut is on there and not considered really reactive as far as these mediators (even though if I eat or touch it I will have a textbook allergic reaction), maybe I should start worrying about sesame!
Here the section that shows my nemesis, wheat.   The only other things I was in the red zone for were peanut and tapioca.  I didn't realize I was having trouble with tapioca, since it's in all my gluten free bread. Darn!  

The question is, why did I not react to coconut in this test?  That is because this test shows a different type of reaction than the other allergy tests.  Although I will test positive on a skin test to coconut, it could be because my allergy is through mast cells and a tissue reaction rather than a blood reaction.  I am learning that there are so many different types of allergic-type reactions including things that are real reactions that doctors don't have a label to give to yet, so they just call them sensitivities! 

In any case, this test is mostly marketed to people with IBS or migraines, but it supposedly can help people with autoimmune issues, autism, ADHD, chronic congestion, etc.  So, I guess I have a few more foods to watch out for. 

The program intends for you to work with a nutritionist to plan your meals and do an elimination/ reintroduction diet.  That would cost me an extra $100 and the booklet explains how to do this, so I am going to set out to do it myself.  The real benefit to this is that the booklet has already included which foods for me to introduce when, so they already did most of the work.