Friday, April 7, 2017

10 Safe Soap Products For Mast Cell Disease

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. Mast Cell Disease makes everything complicated. With our sensitivities, washing and bathing become complex events that often end in hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, or all of the above. On occasion, it doesn't though. These victories make epic failures a little less disheartening.

A rotation is very important with this condition. Mast cells do not permit any one potential trigger for too long. In order to avoid intolerance, current safe products are cycled every few days. This is my list of products, both scent free and not, used at various stages of my disease.


Hair Care 
Free & Clear was the first scent free brand of shampoos I encountered. Neither the shampoo or conditioner have ever caused significant problems in my experience. The extent of reactions have been an occasional rash. The product is relatively common and can be purchased in most drugstores. Its accessibility makes it a wonderful go-to option when a product is needed quick! It is not my first pick though. It has the tendency to create dry hair. My entire family had this complaint, as they have used it themselves. 




Thankfully, Seaweed Bath Co. has created a fabulous, inexpensive scent free option that is not laden with horrid ingredients. This shampoo discovery changed my life. It has never caused a reaction. I could go on forever about the positives! The ingredients are plant based (vegan), derived from aloe, potatoes, and vegetables. There are not a billion problematic "essential oils." The argan rejuvenates dry, brittle hair. It really is scent free too, not interfering with breathing. For only $12.00, it is worth it!  CONTAINS OILS DERIVED FROM TREENUTS. Unfortunately, this product is not for those with IgE nut allergies.


Another supposedly scent free product is by Stonybrook Botanicals. I say supposedly because it does have a chemical scent to it. A couple of the organic ingredients is what initially prompted my purchase. Other ingredients, like ammonia myreth sulfate, are not great. The positives are that it is inexpensive at $11.45 on Amazon and it suds well, despite no sudsing agent ingredients. The downfalls are that it has resulted in dry scalp. It has also caused eczema reactions from contact on my hands with persistent use. It has never caused significant issues (i.e. no swelling, no breathing impairment, etc.) providing I use it sparingly. 

Every Day Coconut product is NOT SCENT FREE, nor does it claim to be. Its scent takes me back to the beach days when I was not deathly allergic to coconut and when I tolerated natural scents. It has been a couple of years since regularly using this product. While I did have fragrance allergies then as well, Every Day Coconut's ingredients were wholesome enough not to provoke issues. The coconut scent not linger. I had struggled to find a shampoo that nourish my hair, smelled nice, and did not practically choke me upon use. This product softens hair like most scent free products cannot, as hard as they try. Now it is not tolerated. I last used it in place of shaving cream and my entire leg swelled up. When used on my hair, my lips swelled and I got a cough. However, it is great for those with milder allergies/sensitivities!! 

Similar to the above option, in healthier times my tolerations drastically differed. My #1 "shampoo" was no shampoo. The "no poo" movement was off putting, but once I tried it, I was hooked! Diluting a tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of water to wash hair, following with a vinegar rinse (1 to 3 ratio) as a conditioner. The vinegar smell dissipates immediately once washed with water and dried. This process was competed a few times a week. The scent never triggered breathing problems during my good spell, even when other products did. My hair had never been healthier. I like to think the photo speaks for itself.


Body 

Finding a safe soap for the entire body is more difficult than the safe hair products. Along with being scent free, the ingredients need to be safe enough for delicate areas. What is okay for the body might not work on the face or vice versa. I cannot count the times my face has blown up because of a soap that was safe for my body.

Dove for sensitive skin is probably the first result of a scent free soap search. It is not always safe skin wise. It intermittently irritates my masto spots on my back and chest. I am listing it in this review because it is a common, scent free choice for my family to use that does not trigger systemic reactions from exposure.


Perhaps surprising, but Dial Baby Fragrance Free is my SAFEST soap product. The ingredients are nothing special and it does have a chemical scent to it that is tricky to place. I love that itching and redness are not a problem with this product. Plus, I can use this on my face, which is unheard of! 




Hands

Entering a restroom to the aroma of floral or fruity hand soap is the epitome of a Mast Cell Disease woe. I ensure I carry a small, refillable bottle of soap in my backpack for my family and I to avoid the soap dilemma.

Seventh Generation rocks! They carry cleaning products, soaps, sanitary napkins, detergents... Since this post is about soaps, I will stay on that subject. The soap can be bought at Whole Foods or Amazon. It is the one I use on a regular basis. There is no added lotion, but it does not cause excessive dryness or irritation. It is scent free, leaving no remnants of a chemical smell. 10/10 - I recommend!




I realize this is not intended to be a hand soap. Scent free hand soaps are hard to come by, so mom purchased this for me to add into the rotation. I do like how it provides moisture to the hands while also cleaning them. It does cause swelling in my hand joints, as well as eczema, if not rotated with the Seventh Generation hand soap.


Trialling the above products should be just the beginning attempts to eliminate triggers. Mast Cell Disease is complicated. Pinpointing what works for you takes experimentation. Water, temperature, and the time of day can be a factor in reactions. However, I hope this review is helpful if soaps are a trigger!