Allergic Reaction To Shampoo

Posted by miss m on Friday, June 15, 2012 @ 3:18pm in General Blather, Photography and Pics, Reviews, Sickness and Health Issues |

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Towards the end of April, I started noticing I was having a sudden increase in acne. I’ve never been a terribly acne-prone person, but I get the occasional cluster of pimples here and there like any person. But this wasn’t just a small outbreak. It got very bad, very quickly.

All along my scalp line on my forehead was terribly, painfully broken out. The thing was, that they didn’t turn to “whiteheads” like normal pimples; rather, they just stayed as these large, swollen, puffy bumps that hurt but wouldn’t do anything. They wouldn’t pop, didn’t decrease in size and didn’t seem to heal. I bought some Neutrogena Acne Toner since it wasn’t improving on it’s own.

Around the same time, I also was having a TERRIBLE breakout across my chest. It looked almost like a rash, it was just so all-encompassing. Next, I started getting these even larger and even MORE painful bumps all over my neck, shoulder and back. I even started getting them behind my ears and right along the hairline at the base of my head!

Each and every time it got worse, it was so painful! Red and inflamed and none of them would improve! I was so frustrated. I remember it was the beginning of May at this point and I was thinking, I’m 2 weeks away from being 35, why am I getting such bad acne now??

I was being diligent about keeping my skin clean, applying my acne toner but it wasn’t getting better. I really thought I needed to see a dermatologist at this point – it was THAT bad. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. Nothing changed; I’ve always used perfume and dye free laundry detergents and fabric softener. Same body wash. No dietary changes. No medications. Nothing.

Then it hit me. One thing DID change. My shampoo and conditioner.

I had gotten a BzzKit for Garnier Fructis “Sleek and Shine” shampoo and conditioner. I had been using it pretty regularly since the end of April – the time this all started. The “breakouts” were all along where my hair is or touches, like my forehead around my hairline; the backs of my ears; my neck; shoulders and upper back! Every single place that was having this horrible, painful acne was everywhere this product came in contact with my skin!

About a week ago, the realization came to me that it could be the shampoo and/or conditioner. So I stopped using them and went back to the product I had been using before this all started. And in a little over a week, my skin is already improving.

Holy shit, I am allergic to something in the shampoo and/or conditioner and it causes me to break out in a type of acne as the allergic reaction!

I’ve had hives, rashes and other reactions from products. It’s why I always use things like Tide Free & Gentle. I try to avoid things that might irritate my skin. But I’ve never had a shampoo bother me before!

So, this is my cautionary tale to anyone else who might be having unexplained and horrendous breakouts, especially when it’s not normal for you. It might not really be “acne” per se, but rather, an allergic reaction.

I’m not sure what is the exact problem my skin has with the ingredients. I’m not sure if it’s the shampoo or the conditioner or both. The fact that the “key” ingredient is advertised as “Argan Oil from Mexico” that very well could be the trigger, but I don’t know that for sure.

Here’s what it says the ingredients are for the shampoo:

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coco Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Laureth 5 Carboxylic Acid, Cocamide MIPA, Amodimethicone, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Hexylene Glycol, Polyquaternium 7, PEG 55 Propylene Glycol Oleate, Propylene Glycol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Salicylic Acid, PEG 60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Linalool, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Butylphenyl Methlypropronial, Methyl Cocoate, Sodium Cocoate, Prunus Armeniaca Kernal Oil/Apricot Kernal Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Red 4 (CI 14700), F.I.L. D46037/1

And the conditioner:

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Fragrance, Isopropyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Pyrus Malus Extract/Apple Fruit Extract, Benzoic Acid, Trideceth 6, Potassium Hydroxide, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCl, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Citric Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Hexyl Cinnamal, Cetrimonium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Yellow 6 (CI 15985), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract

All I know is that I’m throwing the remaining product away. This reaction has been so horrible and humiliating and painful and just a nightmare. I’m so hopeful that my skin will get back to normal now and I won’t ever have to feel that way ever again.

To help with those who might also have an acne allergic reaction to something like this, I’m adding two images behind the cut. They’re gross (lovely acne-ridden back) and embarrassing but I think it’s important to show how badly this actually affected me and how quickly it seems to be improving just by ceasing use of the product. There will be nothing else besides the pics behind the cut, so if you don’t want to see, the entry ends here.

I would love to hear from anyone else who’s ever had a reaction like this, so please leave your experiences and what product(s) you had issues with in the comments.

The "acne" and red rashing all over my shoulders and neck

Improvement in "acne" and rashing after only about a week discontinuing use of shampoo & conditioner

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  • Do you remember that awful face acne I had a while back and it turned out the facewash contained maple extract but it wasn’t labelled on the ingredients? It was AWFUL and the only thing that got rid of the acne was applying antibacterial medication to it.

    I hope you contacted the company to tell them about this problem!

  • miss m says:

    Oh yeah that’s right! I forgot about that. At least in your case, it was something you already knew you were allergic to but they didn’t disclose it. This was like, where did it come from?? I still am not sure what exactly I’m allergic to in the product, or if it’s the shampoo, conditioner or both because I’ve used a ton of other products without problem. Just so awful though!

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