Friday, May 21, 2010

Throwing all my cosmetics and soaps out...the long story...

I threw  out............................
makeup                  shampoo                 conditioner          moisturizer           hand soap
laundry detergent   dish washing soap    toothpaste           cuticle cream 

...and replaced it all with what you see in the photos [doesn't include one lipstick and an eyeliner pencil].
Why? It's not a quick story.
It all started so innocently...some weeping in the outer corners of my eyes led to a tiny rash on the outer corner of the RIGHT, moist and stingy. Nothing to worry about!
Hung around for a few days, some days worse than others, but then it crossed over to the outer corner of the LEFT eye and it got to be a bit of a problem to wear eyeshadow. I've never worn much makeup....a bit of eyeshadow, lipstick and moisturizer.

Then the rashes got bigger...every day they were different...the size and which eye. I'd go to the mirror in the morning wondering what had happened overnight. I worried - this had been going on for 3-4 weeks - so I googled "rashes around eyes," and this led me to the contents of makeup, and in particular, methyl paraben.
As days of research went by, I also explored "staph around eyes" and "shingles around eyes" - I was really getting worried!!! I got my husband involved at this stage , finally admitting that I had an out of control situation - and he's a great online researcher.

I frantically thought back to what I'd changed in the weeks leading up to the rash...I'd gone from Revlon makeup to MAC makeup, and I'd bought a duck feather pillow. I stopped using both...then I went out and bought some l'oreal hypoallergenic eyeshadow. WRONG! The first day I put it on, I had to frantically drive home to wash it off - the skin around my eyes was burning! Scary. By coincidence I had an appt. with a dermatologist [to measure skin lesions] I asked, "What's this?" The answer was contact dermatitis of unknown cause [that's usual], and a 3 month dose of tetracycline MIGHT fix it.
That declaration put me into overdrive.
That very day I dropped into my local Chinese accupuncturist, Dr Ou,
I went home with a paper bag full of twigs, leaves, and things - boiled it for an hour - put it in the fridge - dabbed it around my eyes whenever the burning sensation came. The instructions from Dr Ou were :
  • don't scratch it!
  • go completely natural
  • you have to work out what's causing it - it won't be one thing - it'll be a combination of things that aren't right for you 
Back on line....research, research, research... What else does my head/face have contact with??  Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, toothpaste !! I pulled everything out, and assembled it all in the kitchen next to the computer [and a magnifying glass to read the labels].
Everything had methyl paraben in it [closely followed by anti freeze or ethanol glycol]. 
This was the beginning of throwing everything out. Strangely, I'd bought a bottle of Dr Wood's Castile Soap & Shea Butter a few months ago, thinking that I'd use it in the bathroom to wash my hands. I read the label carefully - it had nothing suspicious in it - not even "fragrance" which I'd discovered is the word companies use to cover their patented fragrance ingredients, most of which contain...methyl paraben! 
So...I used Dr Woods as a soap and shampoo. Meanwhile, still researching skin health, I came across a lot of references to apple cider vinegar. People were getting some success with rinsing there hair with diluted ACV, and using it to dab on skin irritations. The one to get seemed to be Dr Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar, which had the "mother" in it - the slimy stuff at the bottom - shake the bottle each time so that what you use has some of this in it. What I found out is that shampoos and conditioners are generally alkaline [neutral is a pH of 7.0]....and that the scalp is naturally 4.5 - 5.5 [slightly acidic]. My logic for including the ACV is that it makes sense to keep the skin at its natural pH...and that this allows the skins natural bacteria and fungus to thrive [parabens kill bacteria & fungus].
I also bought a stack of white cotton cloths so that I could use a clean cloth each day - at this stage I didn't know if what I had could be spread around the face.
So... I'd come up with a hair washing strategy...Dr woods castile soap followed by Dr Braggs apple cider vinegar [use a 75 water : 25 vinegar solution and a plastic squeeze bottle].
SURPRISE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
My hair didn't fall out!!!! I was not expecting this !!! I was just trying to fix the rashes around my eyes by making sure nothing with parabens came in contact with them !!
Actually, it was too surprising to believe...for years my hair had been coming out in the shower...clumps just dropping out and ending up on the shower floor. So I didn't jump to conclusions. Surely this was just a coincidence...but over the next month, my hair never fell out in bulk again...and my hair was softer and felt and looked thicker. It's 4 months later as I write this, and there's short hair growing back and sticking out everywhere [I'm not complaining!!].
But the rashes were still coming and going. As Dr Ou said, "it's a combination of have to work out what it is."
So...think, think, think...and then one morning I woke up thinking, "What else is my face in contact with a lot ?????...What else is there???" There were no creams or potions left to get rid of.
And then the mightiest moment of the whole story...
I raced out of bed, pulled out the laundry detergent...list of ingredients not there - opened up computer - googled ingredients of...and here it is. No wonder they hadn't put the ingredients on the packaging !! Note the infamous "Fragrance" that can contain paraben.
  • Ingredients By Type
  • Ingredients By Prominence
  • Ingredients A-Z
  • Safety
Ingredients by Type Roll over the ingredients to learn more



  • Borax
  • Citric Acid
  • Diethylenetriamine Pentaacetate (Sodium Salt)


  • LiquitintTM Blue


  • Amylase
  • Mannanase
  • Pectinase
  • Protease


  • Fragrance

Optical Brightener

  • Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate
  • Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate

pH Adjustment

  • Sodium Hydroxide


  • Diquaternium Ethoxy Sulfate
  • Polyethyleneimine Ethoxylate

Process Aid

  • Calcium Formate
  • Diethylene Glycol
  • Dimethicone
  • Ethanol
  • Ethanolamine
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Cumene Sulfonate
  • Sodium Formate
  • Water


  • Alcohol Ethoxylate
  • Alcoholethoxy Sulfate
  • Laureth-9
  • Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
  • Sodium Fatty Acids
There are many details that I noticed over the next few months...the main point I want to make though, is that the rashes and spots and flaky skin move around the face. Each morning I'd look in the mirror, wondering what was there. If you pull yourself off parabens, be prepared to see all sorts of strange skin theory is that the body is goes through an elimination of the parabens....fighting them off...and 5 months later my skin is smoother with less wrinkles [arms, legs, hands, face...the works].
The other ingredient that stands out for me is the anti-freeze [ethylene glycol and propylene glycol]. Paraben and anti-freeze are OFTEN in products together.
Read on for the BIZARRE  sorts of changes that occurred in the post-laundry detergent days:

MAR 14  -  scaly on outer edges of eyes - red spots on the inner eye area and between the eyes - tingling - tightness + + all over the face - red spot under right eye
MAR 15  -  red dots inner corner of eyes - strange large red blotches on my cheeks in the evening

MAR 16
same red spots - tightness - burning on outer Rt eye
Washed sheets, pillow case, towels, facecloths in Dr Woods  - this is the turning point!

MAR 17
face the best it's been - swollen Lt internal corner, but not red!!
MAR 18  -  pots clean easier! - top of stove is easier to clean - glass table top has no film on it!!
VERY CLEAR SKIN - FIRST DAY IN MONTHS WITHOUT RED SPOTS OR RASHES ON MY FACE! YEH11 -  and Chuck just discovered methyl paraben in his chamois creme [male cyclists use it] - is this why bikers have a higher rate of testicular cancer ??
MAR 19 my whole nose has gone red - red area by right ear - skin on the ears is flaking - lots of red dots around the top of the nose - they're different from the original redness/rashes - very small and brighter red - cheeks have lost their redness
MAR 21  - suddenly noticed  a lot of the "red spotties" on my arms were gone and others were fading into brown [1/16th - 1/8th " slightly raised spots like little collections of blood -  vessels - Chuck has them as well] - I'd had lots of them!
MAR 22  - swelling on inside of left eye [had it for 3-4 years] is going down - I suddenly noticed my facial hair is shorter !! [parabens are an endocrine disruptor] - tops of my hands are flaking really badly 
MAR 31  - the raised red spots on my legs and back are going away!! - elbows are suddenly smooth - lines along my smile line are disappearing

move forward to MAY 21
  • face smoother, less lines, don't need moisturizer
  • bump/lump on chin [approx. 6 years] disappeared last week
  • swelling inner left eye [approx 3 years] gone 2 weeks ago
  • red spots on arms, lower legs and back gone
  • red spots on upper legs starting to fade
  • small spider veins on upper legs disappearing in last few weeks
  • red spots on abdomen & chest - fading
  • thicker hair on the head
  • shorter hair on the face
  • hands smoother, less wrinkles
  • lips less dry
Here are a couple of sites you can go to to read about parabens ...

...found these 2 articles just yesterday [may 22, 2010].
Info on "fragrance" disclosures [ie. the ingredients NOT disclosed] : 

...and a finding about contaminants in laundry detergent : 

A picture to cheer us up...

...Ciao !!!