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Tag Archives: Balsam of Peru Allergy

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Sheet Masks I Used – Week Three August 2018

The masks I used week 3 of August 2018

I can’t believe three weeks have already passed. Really by the time you will be reading this most, if not all, of the month will have been over. I have already used a lot of sheet masks this month. If you missed what I used the first two weeks I also have recaps of week one, and of week two. Make sure to check those out.

Last week was a some exploring mixed with using up some things before they go bad. This week I wanted to keep trying some new items, but I also wanted to bring back some of the favorites. There was one misstep in the plan, and you will see that as we go.

The masks I used week 3 of August 2018I even added something on the fun side this week. So lets take a look at week three’s recap.

Day 15

This is the Yadah Moisturizing Mask Pack. I think the packaging makes it pretty obvious this has honey as an ingredient. This is extra moisturizing and honey is also great for pimples.

This is a great mask for anyone with extra sensitivities or someone like me who has a contact allergy. It says 4 free on the pack..It is free of parabens, fragrance, ethanol, and artificial colors. You can also find brands marked as 5 free and 6 free. It is often looked as a competition with some brands who can make their products the most natural.

 

Day 16

Day sixteen’s mask is the Pore Rosehip Mud Sheet Mask from JJ Young by Caolion Lab. I received mine in a subscription box, and unfortunately it looks like everywhere that carried this particular mask is out of stock. If you want to try something similar, you may like this It’s Skin Color Solution Mud Mask Sheet.

I had never tried one of these mud sheet masks before. It was definitely an interesting experience. I’m not sure that I am ready to pass judgment on whether I like them or not until I try another one or two.

I will say that I found myself worrying that it would stick to my brows or get in my hair. That didn’t happen, and I was pleasantly surprised by that. And it was a lot less messier and easier to remove than a traditional mud mask.

 

Day 17

Day seventeen comes with a bit of a story. This mask is the Superfood Broccoli Mask from Nohj. I had never used this mask before, but I have used broccoli masks from other brands before. As I was putting the mask on I realized it didn’t smell like the other broccoli masks I have tried, and I didn’t like the scent at all. But I powered past the smell and put it on. I had it on for about two minutes and started feeling my face having a burning and tingling sensation that I associate with an allergic reaction.

I went ahead and took the sheet mask off at that point. I went back and looked and sure enough there were several ingredients I react to with my Balsam of Peru Allergy. This was particularly odd because it was in my stash of sheet masks that were ready to use. I always check ingredients before putting any masks in there.

This was definitely not a case of it being a bad mask. I will say I did not care for the fit for me. I had to make some cuts around the eyes and mouth to make it fit, but there are

 

Day 18

Day eighteen was also a bit of a flub, but in different way. This the Wrinkle Infant Mask from Y.E.T(Yes! Enjoy Time). So the mask and the functionality of it was good. But I have used this one before, and I could have sworn this was supposed to have a baby face printed in the mask.

 

Day 19

On day nineteen I used the Pumpkin Ade Sheet Mask from Mediheal. I did tell you that I love this line of sheet mask. While the cacao one is my favorite, all of them do great things for my skin.

I do believe that this is another seasonal mask. I tend to stock up on the ones that I love when I see them, that way I can use them all year round. This should be back in stock  in the fall. With the exception of a few eBay sellers, no one seems to have them in stock right now. I wouldn’t personally recommend buying sheet masks on eBay mainly because of their shelf life. I don’t know of any similar masks to this one to recommend.

 

Day 20

You should know that I wouldn’t be able to stay away from my favorite brand for long. On day twenty I used a Pearl Essence Sheet Mask from eSfolio. Pearl essence is really great for anyone who has rough or dull looking skin. It gives you that glowing youthful look to the skin.

 

Day 21

Yes, your eyes have not deceived you. I have decided to use eSfolio on back to back days. But for day 21 I decided to go all out and use a hydrogel mask from them. This is their Aloe Hydro-Gel Mask.

This is currently sold out everywhere I know of that carried it. I am honestly not sure if this was a one time item or if it will be back. I bought mine on YesStyle in the winter time. Keep in mind many seasonal items are opposite of what they are for us. So aloe which we think of as used in summer, they have their summers as we have winter. However if you are just interested in trying a hydrogel mask, you might enjoy this ALL MASK STORY – Pearl Brightening Hydro Gel Mask.

 

That wraps up week three. There won’t be the same kind of recap for week four as I will be traveling. I will instead be doing a what skin care I traveled with post. I will still be sheet masking while traveling, but there will be some repeats. But if you want to see me using them you can catch that on my social media.

Tell me in the comments if there is a mask you would like to see me try out or give my thoughts on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Product Review: The Vivo Per Lei Collagen & Avocado Oil Sheet Mask

Collagen and Avpcado Mask from Vivo Per Lei

First I want to say thank you to Vivo Per Lei for sending me the box of Collagen & Avocado Oil Sheet Masks to try out. I think most of you who regularly read my posts know that I love trying new things, especially new sheet masks. And since I am using this month to concentrate on skin care as a form of self-care, the masks couldn’t have come at a better time.

Collagen and Avpcado Mask from Vivo Per Lei

Each box contains five individually wrapped masks.

Five individually wrapped Collagen and Avocado Masks from Vivo Per Lei

I pretty much have my evening skin care routine mapped out for the month. And I have been using the daytime to play with new products I want to test out and see what works for a good day routine. I don’t think there is any such thing as too much sheet masking. So doubling up on the occasional day seem like a good thing to me. Any excuse to use another sheet mask right?

Since I always have concerns about my Balsam of Peru contact allergy, one of the first things I always do is check out the ingredient list before using a new product. The only possible cause for concern here that I could see is that Parfum is in the list. That isn’t always a problem for me, but I just never know until I use the item in question. Since there were no major concerns, I felt good about going ahead with trying the product.

This mask from Vivo Per Lei in a lot of ways is very similar to any other sheet mask I have used, but there are also a few big differences. I will make sure to note them as we go along.

Per usual the instructions say to cleanse your face prior to use. The rest of the instructions is where the differences start to appear. First, it does not tell me to use a toner prior to using the mask. So even thought I typically would use a toner, I wanted to use the mask as the instructions directed. Next it says to take one mask pack, open, and apply to the face.

The first thing that I noticed when I opened the mask was that, even though the ingredient list says parfum, there was no strong perfume smell. I don’t think it really smelled like avocado either, but just a clean natural sort of scent.

The directions continue by saying to keep the mask on for 15 minutes. While I had it on I did feel something working on my skin. Just a slight warming and tingling sensation, nothing that alarmed me. Occasionally sheet mask do cause little sensations, the majority just feel cooling though.

Now here is where things were both surprising and really different from my perspective. It calls for rinsing the residue away after you discard the sheet mask. I am so used to patting it into the skin with the exception of the bubble masks I use. But again, I thought it was best to use these by the direction.

I am happy to report that I did not have an allergic reaction to the mask. I know I have at least a few people who follow the blog because they have the same or similar contact/fragrance allergies. It was moisturizing for sure. I’m not sure I saw any difference in firmness of my skin or fine lines, but it’s also one of those things I think you might need more than a couple of uses to see a difference.

Some things to note, that may or may not be of importance for you. It does have the FDA seal of approval on the box. The box does not have it, but on their website this product has the bunny seal that says it is not tested on animals. I was trying to figure out where the company was based at, but I am not 100% sure. After looking everything over its either the US or the Netherlands. The box says the product is made in China, but I do not believe it sold there or that the base of operation is there, otherwise I don’t think they could get the bunny seal.

If you would like to try this mask out for yourself or to what else Vivo Per Lei has to offer you can find their products on their website.

Tell me in the comments which Vivo Per Lei product you would want to try?

 

 

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Beauty Product Review – Farsali Volcanic Elixir

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

I am sure many of you are familiar with the brand Farsáli. Several of their products, like their Unicorn Essence, have become beauty blogger sensations and have blown up on social media. One product in particular I had not heard about was the Volcanic Elixir. At least I hadn’t heard about it till it landed in Sephora earlier this year.

Farsali Valcanic Elixer

Because of my personal experience with volcanic essence products in Korean Skincare I was extremely interested in trying out the Volcanic Elixir from Farsáli. If you have followed me either here on the blog or on my Instagram account for any amount of time then you know one of my all time favorite sheet masks is a Volcanic Ash Essence Mask from Esfolio. And while Farsáli is not a Korean brand, the ingredient concepts should be the same.

What The Product Does

I think when you spend any amount of time learning about Korean cosmetics you start to gain an understanding of what ingredients are used for. The great thing about Volcanic related products, in most cases like this one, they are good for all skin types and a full range of skin conditions.

So what does the brand say it does?

The properties of this oil are known to help regenerate skin tissue. The Volcanic Elixir, for this unique reason, can condition broken skin, and repair sun- and acne-damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties — making it ideal for acne sufferers. What sets this oil apart from others, is a certain lipid called calophyllolide; which is not found in any other oil, and is a very strong anti-inflammatory.

The Volcanic Elixir aids in regenerating new, healthy skin. It can be used on acne and acne scars, dry and scaly skin, stretch marks, etc.

So it really seems like the possibilities are endless if you are at either end of the problem skin scale. I’m not sure that you would gain any benefit if you have normal skin, unless you have scarring from the past.

 

My Skin Care Needs

For me, as you know I have very dry skin with scaley patches and keratin build up in creases (the scaley patches and keratin build up are from my allergy and are not constant). Due to my Balsam of Peru allergy I am fragrance sensitive, and that includes essential oils. I am also sensitive to select other possible ingredients in skin care products.

 

What You Get

Your product comes in a dark bottle with a dropper. You get one fluid ounce or thirty milliliters of product. The Volcanic Elixir has one single ingredient, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, so no worries for my fellow contact allergy sufferers, unless of course that is your allergy.

I did notice all of Farsáli’s other products seem to come in a second size option, but this one does not. I am not sure if that is something they are planning on adding or not. There is no mention of it on their website, so if anyone knows please tell us down in the comments.

 

First Impressions

The very first thing I noticed when I got the bottle was how hard it was to open. I don’t know if I got a defective bottle or if they all are like mine, but you have to twist forever and then it suddenly pulls up and it makes it sort of messy. Putting the dropper cap back on seems just as difficult.

Once the lid was open the next thing I notice was the heavy natural, earthy smell coming out. If you are use to using fragrance free products or even some Korean products (depending on which kind) this is a smell you are probably already use to and won’t think twice about. This is noted on Farsáli’s website, so they do tell you before you buy. For those of you who have never tried a fragrance free product before, you may not be prepared. Some people find natural smells offensive. Personally I like them and find it comforting.

The other thing that really stands out about this product when you first start using it is the texture. You can somewhat see it in this picture:

Consistancy of the Volcanic Elixir from Farsali

It is an oil, but what makes it different is that it is very thick and has somewhat of a gritty texture. Now I can feel the texture with my fingers, but once I apply the elixir to my face I no longer feel it.

 

How To Use It

Like most oils and liquids, you want to shake this up really well before using it each time. The website recommends using it as a night treatment, almost like a moisturizer. I agree for the most part, though I prefer putting an actual moisturizer on over top of it.

I have seen a lot of people on the web saying this is a great face oil for makeup. No, that is not the intended use, and I really can not believe anyone would want to do that with the texture this oil has. While I don’t feel the texture once applied, I have to think that would mess with the look and feel of your foundation.

 

Final Thoughts

I have been using the Fersáli Volcanic Elixir for close to a month now. I use it about three to four nights a week, and I am considering using it on a nightly basis for a while just to see what happens. I will explain why.

I find that I really like the product. It does have a lasting effect on the dryness of my skin, however on the days I do not use it I see the symptoms of my contact allergy creep back in. So I want to see if I can get a more lasting effect if I do it every day.

But on the days I did use the elixir the night before, my skin looks wonderfully clear. Here is one I took and posted to Instagram recently that was on a day right after using the Farsáli Volcanic Elixir:

A picture of me after using the Farsali Volcanic Elixir

The bottom line for me is I will be repurchasing this product. I love that I don’t have to worry about what the ingredients are and that it is fragrance free. It works well on my skin. And it shows results.

If you would like to try this product out for yourself you can find it at the Farsáli website and on Sephora.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of the products from Farsáli and what you thought of them. Should I try something else from their line?

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Product Review – Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner

Free and Clear Shampoo, Medicated Shampoo, and Conditioner

As the title says this is a review for the Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner. This is the third in a series of shampoo and conditioner reviews. Make sure to check out my last review on the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit.

This took me a little longer to review as I initially started off with just the original Shampoo and Conditioner which I purchased on Amazon. However, shortly after starting to use this shampoo and conditioner I was walking through my local Walgreens and I noticed they have this line store. And, in addition to the Shampoo and Conditioner I had already purchased, they also had a Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. So I purchased that shampoo and decided to include it in this review.

 

My Hair And Scalp Type

(notice this section will be in every shampoo and conditioner review for reference. This is for convenience so you do not have to look back at earlier posts)

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaly, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

 

The Product

Free and Clear Shampoo, Medicated Shampoo, and Conditioner

These are all from the Free & Clear hair care line. As previously mentioned, two of these were purchased on Amazon and one from Walgreen’s. All my product links will be to Amazon because they offer it at a slightly better price.

This brand offers many other personal care and household products. Description from the brand:

Free & Clear shampoo has been specially created for persons who wish to avoid common chemical irritants found in most ordinary skin and hair care products. It is free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, protein, parabens, formaldehyde, and other preservatives.

  • Sulfate-free

  • Betaine-free

  • Gluten-free

Both the original Shampoo and Conditioner come in a 12 fl. oz. size. The Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is available in an 8 fl. oz. size.

 

How It Performed

I had very different experiences with each of these products. I don’t want to lump them all together, so lets talk about each product separately.

I tried the original Shampoo first. And while I think its great that it doesn’t have any fragrance, that was where my love for this shampoo stopped. I suppose it did the job of cleaning, but if anything it did it too well. It seemed to strip my hair from any and all moisture it had. It left my hair feeling very brittle and even after using conditioner my hair was a tangled mess. I can’t feasibly see myself using this again.

So after using the original Shampoo a couple of times I moved on to the Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This was somewhat better on my hair, but not by much. It seemed like it was slightly less drying, but overall I just didn’t see the benefit of it.

The conditioner I used with both shampoos. This had quite the opposite effect for me. I think I need some pretty concentrated conditioner at times because of my hair type. And with as much as the shampoos seemed to dry my hair out more than usual, you would think I would need something even stronger than the norm. And this was a highly moisturizing shampoo, just a little too much. I never thought I would fins a conditioner than I thought over did it on my hair, but this conditioner from Free & Clear left my hair feeling like a greasy mess. I can’t even imagine who would be able to use this conditioner. It certainly wouldn’t be anyone with thin hair or with my dryness or less.

The Allergy Effect

When it comes to how my allergy behaved with these, I think I went in with high expectations because they are fragrance free. Though, if you have read anything about the Balsam of Peru allergy, then you know that it’s not your typical fragrance allergy. You can react to lots of things.

Both the original shampoo and the conditioner, I don’t believe I had any sort of reaction to it. However my breakout I already had, it didn’t let it clear up either. And I think that as much as the shampoo dried me out, even if the skin on my scalp would have gotten better it would have had flakes from dryness regardless.

And with the Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, I actually think I had an allergic reaction. I am not sure to what. I can just tell you that within a few minutes of using it my scalp was very itchy. I had double the flakes. It just all around was not good for me. I do think its worth giving a try though if you have a different fragrance allergy than me.

 

Final Thoughts

If you have read this all the way through, you probably already know my thoughts are not favorable on these products from Free & Clear. I am sure that these would work for someone out there, I just don’t know who. I think even if I had not had the allergic reaction to the medicated shampoo or if any of them had helped clear up my scalp, I still could not have gotten past the feeling that it was damaging my hair.

 

I would love to hear in the comments if any of you have tried this brand before and if you like it. Have you tried any of the other products? If so do they perform better than the shampoos and conditioner?

 

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Product Review: Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit (Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Mask)

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter Kit

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. This is the second review of this series, make sure to check out my review of the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner to see the first review.

My Hair And Scalp Type

My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

The Product

 

What you get in the Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing 3-Piece Starter KitThis is the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection 3-Piece Starter Kit, and it runs $26.00 for the set. This kit includes:

  • Monoi Repairing Shampoo (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Conditioner (2.0 fl. oz.)
  • Monoi Repairing Hair Mask(2.0 oz.)

I bought mine on Amazon, but it is also available at Ulta. These are all small travel size bottles that come in this package, but there is a Monoi Luxury Hair Care Gift Set that comes with full size products if you would rather have that. The shampoo, the conditioner, and the hair mask can also be bought separately in full size.

I had never tried anything from this brand before, but I had heard a lot of wonderful things about the brand. They are (or at least they use to be) a small woman owned company. Their products do not contain sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors.

I picked this line specifically because it contained a lot of ingredients I had good experiences with. It was for intense moisture and repairing the hair. One of its large claims was that it would help prevent breakage of brittle hair. It really had a lot that appealed to me. And outside of fragrance, there were no ingredients that immediately concerned me. (If you also have a Balsam of Peru allergy, please note this does contain citric acid. I know that some react to that, I do not.)

How It Performed

I tried the Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner combo four different ways, all ways that I typically would use other shampoos and conditioners before doing this review. I wanted to make sure I had a fully adequate comparison to the other shampoos I have used in the past. And so for me that means the hair mask in this set only got used once.

The first time I tried them with a hot oil treatment that I use fairly often. Then I tried them on their own. The third time I used them with a Korean brand dandruff shampoo that I use occasionally. And the fourth and final time I used them with the hair mask that came in the set.

I was actually surprised at how moisturizing the shampoo was. I realize that the shampoo contains oils, but I have used lots of shampoos that contain various types of oils and none of them have felt like that. I think it did a decent job at cleansing too, but the standout feature is just going to miniaturization. I almost felt like I could have went with out conditioner after the shampoo, if that tells you anything.

The conditioner performed just as well. Not only was it moisturizing, but it also felt very smoothing to my hair. I could definitely tell that after my hair dried this was still smoothing as I was not experiencing as much fizziness. I typically have to use an additional leave in conditioner with most shampoo/conditioners. But I did not have to with these.

One big thing I could not say whether it was specifically the shampoo or the conditioner, but I definitely saw less hair loss with this set. It could have been coincidence, but I find that unlikely.

The Allergy Effect

As I mentioned in my last post, anything that has a fragrance, I always put it through the smell test. Smelling this product was no help. It definitely has a unique fragrance that I have never smelled before. That actually made me far more nervous than it just having fragrance. I suppose it was the element of the unknown. To be completely honest here, I am not really a fan of how this smelled, but if something works for me I don’t care ultimately.

I am happy to say that I did not have any reaction to the shampoo and conditioner. However, I don’t think it did anything special as far as helping my dermatitis either. The one exception would be when I mixed it with my dandruff shampoo. That was probably the longest I have went itch and scale free in a long time. I don’t know if that was coincidence or if it was something special about the combo. And it would take a lot longer of testing to find out.

Now I am not sure why, but I didn’t fare as well with the hair mask. After using it I was itchy almost immediately. Looking at the ingredients nothing looks all that different or stands out to me as to why the hair mask would cause that.

Final Thoughts

Overall, with the exception of the hair mask, I really like the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Collection. I think I will keep this on the list of shampoos and conditioners that I feel okay using in a pinch. If I don’t find anything better this year I may even circle around and give this one another try for a while.

Tell me in the comments if you have tried anything from Carol’s Daughter before. Let me know what you tried and what you thought about it. And as always, I am taking requests of what you would like to try.

 

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8 Fragrance Free Products That Are Necessities

No fragrance products

I talk about my Balsam of Peru allergy here on the blog a lot. It affects most aspects of my life, so I think it would be weird if I didn’t talk about it here. An allergy to Balsam of Peru is technically categorized as a fragrance allergy, but it’s so much more. Even though there is more to it, fragrance can still affect you in a major way. And it’s not just chemical fragrances, scents that are categorized as natural are often just as dangerous or more.

I realize that I often do talk about and review products that have fragrance. There are two reasons for that. 1. I don’t react to all fragrances, and 2. The severity of my reactions aren’t nearly as bad as some people with the same allergy, so I often feel like I want to test things for them. Its my way of helping others I suppose.

Balsam of Peru is not the only fragrance related allergy, there are many others. When you have an allergy that is affected by fragrance, finding fragrance free products that work are a necessity but they can also be hard to find. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have found fragrance free products, then get excited, but once I try them they just don’t function the way that they should. I often feel like companies just don’t care as much about the fragrance free products as much since they know the people who buy them are often just stuck using them because of lack of options. Because ultimately they should be able to make the same products, just without the fragrance, and they then would perform the same as normal. That is why I wanted to share these fragrance free products I use in my everyday life that I know work without question.

 

1 all Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent


>Out of all the things I react to, one of the strongest reactions I was having till I found the right one was detergent. I suppose because it was constantly touching my skin and not just in a small area. I tried various brands of free & clear detergent before I got to the one from all. While they all were free of fragrances and dyes, they just didn’t get laundry clean the way that you would expect. When I tried all Free & Clear it was a world of difference.

2. Snuggle Free & Clear Fabric Softener

I think fabric softener is as much of a necessity for most people as much as detergent is. Snuggle softener works well, and you can get it in other form than just liquid if you prefer them.

3. Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap


Bar soap was a challenge for me. I feel like this is the one thing on the market that has quite a few fragrance free options, but for a Balsam of Peru allergy there is more that we have to look at than just fragrance. And there are a handful of bars out there that say they are fragrance free that don’t seem like it. Dove for example has a fragrance free bar, but I can still smell something that smells like perfume. But Basis is what my allergist recommended, and it worked great for me. I thought that not only was it getting me clean, but it also felt soothing to my skin, so bonus.

 

4. Innerskin Soothing Cleansing Water H2O

Innerskin Soothing cleanser

I wear makeup a few times a week, but wearing makeup can be rough on the skin if not removed properly. This cleanser from Innerskin is a miceller water and is great for removing makeup with just a swipe. It also feels great on the skin and is very soothing.

 

5. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator

As I said, skin care is super important to me. And a great moisturizer can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how your skin looks. It used to be that there were very few choices for fragrance free moisturizers, but there are a lot of options out there these days. But Clinique has been offering a completely fragrance free line for the longest time, and they know what they are doing as well (You are going to see more than one product from them in this list.) This Moisture Surge Intense is my favorite moisturizer of all time. It works great for anyone that has dry, aging, irritated, or textured skin. And any combination of those as well. In the line they have moisturizers for other skin types too, so there is something for everyone. I have other moisturizers I use for specific situations, but this is absolutely my go to moisturizer, you can see and feel a dramatic difference in your skin within minutes of use.

 

6. Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

For those occasions that you feel moisturizer just isn’t cutting it, Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is here to help. It not only moisturizes while you sleep, but you also wake up with your skin looking brighter and glowing.

 

7. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray

Cliniquee Moisture Surge Face Spray

One last thing from Clinique’s Moisture Surge Line is their Face Spray. This a great multi-purpose product. Use it as a makeup setting spray, light moisturizer, or just a cooling refresher spray.

 

8. Almay Sensitive Skin Fragrance Free Clear Gel, Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant

When I was searching for a fragrance free deodorant, there really weren’t many choices out there. Of course that was almost ten years ago, and the options have really grown. But out of the ones I have tried I feel the Almay Gel Deodorant was superior. It kept me feeling and smelling fresh without the fragrance. As an honorable mention, I wanted to say I have heard quite a few people say they had great success with JASON Fragrance Free Deodorant Stick.
So tell me in the comments what fragrance free products are a necessity in your life?

 

 

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Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. To be more specific, I need something to help with my contact dermatitis. I want to go beyond not causing an allergic reaction and find something that will actually help the skin on my scalp.

To keep these reviews relevant to more people than just those with a Balsam of Peru allergy or some other sort of fragrance allergy, in addition to general information about the shampoo each review will be broken down into sections. I will do half of the review just based on how effective it is at cleansing, price, ease of use, etc.. The second part of each review will be based on the effects on my allergy as well as discussion of ingredients used.

I am of mixed heritage, and I don’t have typical white girl hair. My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.

Now that we have covered the basics of what I am looking for in a shampoo and conditioner and what I my particular needs are, lets take a look at the actual shampoo and conditioner we are reviewing today.

The Product

Not Your Mother's Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner

This is the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Pure Coconut Water Sea Minerals Shampoo and Conditioner. I bought mine online at Ulta.com, but it is also available in most Ulta stores as well as Walgreens. Each 16 oz. bottle sells for $8.99, at least at Ulta.

I decided to give this set a try because of several reasons. I have had previous good experiences with the Not Your Mother’s Brand, I just hadn’t tried any of their shampoos and conditioners. I also have had relatively good experiences with the main ingredients. Coconut is always good for my skin, and seems to do well in my hair as well. And the blue sea kale, well I have not had a direct experience with it, but other ocean plants like kelp have been successful in the past. Plus since this is a drugstore brand the price is right and it would be easy for me to find at a moments notice.

 

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How It Performed

Not Your Mother's Shampoo

This shampoo had a lot going for it, and so I was pretty hopeful that I would have a great shampoo. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I really expect anything coconut to be super moisturizing. This was not. If anything I felt it was drying, and by the end of washing my hair with it my hair felt a rough.

Not Your Mother's Conditioner

Now the conditioner fared slightly better, but not by much. Just the nature of what conditioner is means it’s not going to dry my hair out. It did moisturizer, but it just wasn’t the intensity that I needed. And oddly enough, even though the moisture was light, it left my hair feeling weighed down and limp.

Overall, I would say that this shampoo and conditioner is fine for anyone who has thick hair, but it would be best for someone who stays on the oily side. I would not recommend it for coarse hair or dry hair. I also would not recommend the conditioner for anyone with fine, thin hair. I think this set is going to be for a very specific hair type.

The Allergy Affect

When it comes to my Balsam of Peru allergy it can get really complicated as to what will or won’t affect me. You can read the ingredient list and not see anything that looks problematic and it still can be. Then there are also times that you can look at the ingredient list, be really nervous about what’s on the list, and then nothing happen. In this case the ingredient list for both the shampoo and conditioner was rather on the small side compared to a lot of hair care products I have used over the years.

The only ingredient I was the least bit wary of was fragrance. The Balsam of Peru allergy does get classified as a fragrance allergy, but it’s not really. It is used in some fragrances, but not all. So I sometimes react to fragrances, and sometime I don’t. In these cases I know certain scents to stay away from for sure, and for the rest I do a smell test. What I mean is I can usually tell by just smelling the product whether I will react. Upon smelling the product, it seemed like I was in the all clear.

After washing my hair with the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner everything seemed fine. I thought for a bit I had hit the jackpot on the first shampoo and conditioner I was trying. But unfortunately about three to four hours after washing my hair I started to experience a reaction. Full on itching and burning that led into flaking skin. It fell just short of causing blisters. So this was a fail on the allergy front too.

Final Thoughts

This shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s was just not a good match for me. Since I had an allergic reaction, there was definitely no point in trying it a second time. If it were not for the allergic reaction, I probably would have given it at least a second shot just to see if my hair reacted different.

I will be reviewing a lot of shampoos and conditioners this year, so if there is one you would like to see me review leave the name or a link to it in the comments, or alternatively you can send me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, tell me in the comments if there is anything more you want to know about the shampoos and conditioners I try. Did I leave some needed information out?

 

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The Selectivor App, A Meal Planning App For People With Food Restrictions & Allergies – A Complete Review

Symbol for the Selectivor App


Something I have talked about here on the blog a lot is my Balsam of Peru allergy and how it affects me as a contact allergen. What I have not talked about as much is that for me, and a lot of people with this allergy, it also causes reactions from various foods. This can be for two reason, just the same as with the contact allergy, the plant can be used as an additive (either as a flavoring or preservative) or I can react to the many foods that are chemical twins. To make choosing food even more difficult for me, I by choice follow a pescatarian diet.

Sometimes finding food to eat really can be a challenge. What is even more challenging is having food with other people, especially if other people also have food issues and dietary restrictions. So what do you do? Well now there is an app that is here to help. The app is called Selectivor and you can download it for free on IOS or Android in the App Store. If for some reason you do not want to download the app, you can access a web-based app to use. Look for this symbol for the Selectivor App.

Symbol for the Selectivor App

According to Selectivor’s description they are “a social food app designed to be a better way to eat together”. The simplified versions of what that means is that you can make lists of your allergies, food restrictions, diets, and any foods you just don’t like. From there you can meal plan and invite others to plan meals with you.

So who is this app meant for? Well pretty much everyone and anyone. But it will be most helpful to people who have food allergies or sensitivities, and those who have dietary restrictions (either by choice or lifestyle necessity). It could also be helpful for people who have friends and family that have food restrictions that they dine with often or wish to dine with more often. I also think there are some other great uses for this app, but I will talk about that more towards the end. Lets take a look at some of the basic functions of the app and my experience with it first.

Once you sign up for an account/log in, the first step will be creating your food profile. The app opens to this page:

Opening page of the Selectivor App

This is your dashboard, and the app always opens to this page first. As you can see this is the main page that will have links to all the things you can do in the app. From here you can edit your profile, add people, create events, etc… I think the app is pretty user-friendly and self-explanatory in how to use it. As I said the first step will be creating your food profile so for the most of this post we are going to focus mainly on just that.

First you will want to click on “FOOD PROFILE” button near the top that I have circled in the picture. Filling out your food profile is a three page process. Lets start with the first page.

page one of filling out the food profile on Selectivor

One page one they ask your diets, foods you are allergic to, and anything you avoid eating. You can see I have already filled in Pescatarian under diet.

If you scroll further down

List of foods I avoid in Selectivor

You see the list of foods I avoid (not finished with my list, still working on that). Now you may be wondering why I made this list but didn’t put anything in the allergy box since I do have an allergy. My allergy as I have said before is very complicated, and not everyone reacts to the same things or in the same way. I have been dealing with my allergy for years, and I am pretty well versed in what causes me to react.

Choosing Balsam of Peru Allergy in the list of option on Selectivor App

They do have an option for Balsam of Peru Allergy, but its more of a long list of possible things that can cause reactions. So for me picking individual items seems like a better way to go. But going with the pre-made list will be a really great option for anyone that is maybe newly diagnosed or perhaps having a hard time figuring out what is causing them to react.

You can see in the image above that “Balsam of Peru and food that may cross react with BOP” pops up as an option with just the first few letters typed in. Of course Balsam of Peru is not the only option. The Selectivor App will let you choose lots of various foods, diets, and allergies. Some of the options for diets and allergies are Kosher, Low Carb, FODMAP, Nut Allergy, and Shellfish Allergy. There are many more options and the list is growing. However, because they are still growing and developing the app, there may be things missing from the lists. But don’t worry, they have a solution for that too. If you look at the second photo up, you will see that at the bottom of my food list there is a link that says “I Don’t See What I Am Looking For”.

How to add an option to the food list in the Selectivor App

If you click that link a box like this pops up. From here you can make the suggestion to add anything you can’t find. So far in my experience they are quite responsive and quick to research and add what is needed.

When I first talked to the people at Selectivor about reviewing their app, they did not have Balsam of Peru listed. They had it added within a couple of days after we talked. Once I started playing with the app I noticed there were something missing from the list that I react to, so I submitted using this form on the app. Again it was taken care of within two days. I am sure there will be some variation in response time when there are higher volumes of people accessing the app and making requests. But so far I have no complaints in their responsiveness.

Once you have finished filling out the first page and submitting anything you need added through the suggestion box you will hit the next button.

Page two of the food profile form on Selectivor App

On page two there isn’t a lot to fill out for me. This page should be slightly different for everyone. You can see they just offered me a suggestion based on one of my choices. I did not add the suggestion because I don’t react to everything with carbonation. After you make your decisions on any suggestion you want to add or not add, you will then hit next.

Page three a review of your choices on the food profile of Selectivor AppAnd here on the third and final page you should have a review of your choices. If everything looks right you will simply hit the button that says “That looks correct”. That is all there is to creating your food profile. It is unbelievably easy to do.

Once your food profile is complete you can share it several way. You can use Facebook, Whatsapp, or by a link that you can paste anywhere. And as mentioned earlier you also have the option of directly inviting people to the App. When you share your link, people do still have to sign up for an account to view it. During my time testing out the app this has been the only hindrance I have come across. The function part works fine, however getting others to download the app was a struggle. I think between just being busy and not being motivated by an allergy of their own, it was a hard task to get some to download the app. So meal planning with others hasn’t really happened for me yet. I have suggested they look at a way to share food lists to Facebook event pages so that people who don’t want to download the app can still access it. They said they will be looking into this as an option, but this might be a bit of time away.

But even if you are like me and can’t get anyone else to download the app I still think I see a valuable use for this app. For some allergies and diets, like mine that are more complicated there are long lists of foods to memorize that you can’t have. It can be very overwhelming, and to date there hasn’t really been a website created with an empirical list of foods you should avoid if you have a Balsam of Peru allergy. So having an app on your phone that is easy to access, that is so valuable right there. People who are newly diagnosed often feel lost and don’t know what to eat. This app can be a real life saver and time saver for them.

If you have any sort of food restrictions because of allergy or diet, I highly recommend that you check out Selectivor. You can also check out their companion website for special information and tips on dealing with food allergies. And because they are new and still growing, I really encourage to reach out to them with any feedback you have and let them know of any foods or diets that need to be added to the list.

Let me know in the comments below if you plan on trying this app out.

 

 

This post was sponsored by Selectivor. However all opinions and thoughts about the product are my own. I was only asked to share the product with my viewers, and any thoughts shared beyond that are of my choice.

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What It’s Like To Be A Fat, Sick, Woman In The US – Part 2 I Am A Pre-Existing Condition

In my previous post ‘What It’s Like To Be A Fat, Sick, Woman In The US – Part 1 Why I Am Speaking Out About My Disabilities‘, I think the title speaks for itself on content. Today I wanted to actually talk about my personal diagnoses and what they may mean for me, as well as other people with the same illnesses, in daily life.

I have only ever sat down and made a list of everything I have been diagnosed with once, and that was quite a few years and diagnoses ago. I found it quite overwhelming at the time due to how many there were at the time. I think that has a lot to do with why I was so hesitant to write this post as well as why it took me so long to write it. If I find it overwhelming and hard to understand it all, how are you suppose to understand it?

Rather than try to go into the complete definition and all of the symptoms of each ailment, I will link everything I can to places you can get more information. I will just talk about what I feel bothers me the most and do my best to talk about the challenges caused by each illness. I have put everything in order of most disruptive of my life to least, or most difficult to deal with to least. Please keep in mind that is completely subjective to my personal experience and my experience does not represent everyone’s experience with an illness.

My Diagnoses

Fibromyalgia (a.k.a. in the past as fibromyalgia syndrome,fibromyositis, and fibrositis) – This is both the most difficult illness that I deal with and the one of the most difficult to explain to other people. It’s so complicated, and there is so little known about it even by doctors. However, I will do my best to describe what I go through to you.

I have lots of pain. There isn’t a moment of any day that I am not in some sort of pain. And it’s not just one type of pain or even located in one place. One moment I might have a random pain in my foot and the next my shoulders are hurting. Sometimes it might be a stabbing pain and other times it feels like someone has taken super hot rubber band and put it around an arm or leg and tightened till the circulation has been cut off. Sometimes even the lightest touch becomes painful. This one is a unique pain though. The best I have ever been able to describe it is like this; think of that feeling you get when someone runs their nails down a chalkboard, now times that feeling by ten and instead of it being triggered by sound its triggered by touch.

The next biggest thing I have to deal with when it comes to fibromyalgia is what is often referred to as brain fog. This means I often have memory loss, but it’s not like the kind of memory loss you think of with amnesia or Alzheimer patients. With brain fog you don’t actually lose the memory so much as you can’t access it for a brief period of time. For instance you might be in the middle of saying something and then just can’t get a word out. Or maybe you constantly can’t remember people’s names, even the ones you have known for years. But then ten minutes later you will remember what you were about to say. You continually have that feeling of having what you were about to say on the tip of your tongue. I personally find this symptom distressing, especially when dealing with people who haven’t known me for long or don’t know how my illness works. This is because it in a way strip me partially from my identity. I feel like the intelligent and creative mind I have is hidden behind constant pauses with me saying uh I can’t think of the word I was trying to use.

In addition to the pain and brain fog I deal with fatigue, temperature sensitivity, sleep disturbance from the pain, and numerous other issue. There are also many other illnesses that go hand in hand with fibromyalgia as well as some have similar symptoms. It can get really complicated to tell what is causing what. But I will talk more about that as we go.

 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – I think that the name of this makes this sort of deceptive to people. People hear fatigue and focus on that. You can’t imagine how many times I, as well as other people, with chronic fatigue have people ask something like “so your just tired all the time right?”. But it’s more than being tired. I have periods of time that I am so fatigued I literally can’t move to get out of the bed. Or I try to get out of the bed and my whole body will just shake and I can’t function. If I try to push myself past this point it actually triggers my fibromyalgia to get worse and I can get sick and stuck in bed from a flare up. This may last a few hours or a few weeks.

This is one of the illnesses with tricky to distinguish symptoms because I have so many other things wrong with me that may cause fatigue. For example one of the symptoms you can have with fibromyalgia is fatigue, but for me I have found the level of fatigue is very different. And it is very different from the feeling of just being tired from not sleeping. It took me a while to really figure out the differences and what to do to handle my illness.

 

Chronic Insomnia – I suffer from both Primary and Secondary Insomnia. The difference between Primary and Secondary is that Primary Insomnia does not have any underlying medical reason like pain or sleep apnea that is causing the insomnia, and secondary does. You might wonder how I have both Primary and Secondary, and how I distinguish between them. Well, I have dealt with Primary insomnia since I was a very young child. It wasn’t till I was older and started dealing with pain conditions that I had Secondary Insomnia, and you can very easily tell whether you are awake for no reason or if you are awake because of pain.

If I had made this list ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, insomnia would have been much farther down the list on things that bother me. As I said, I have dealt with this since I was a young child. It was never unusual for me to run on three or four hours of sleep. Sure I felt a little tired at times, but for the most part I usually just dealt with it and no one could ever tell. But in the last five years or so, it’s become increasingly harder and harder to deal with. I just can’t recover from it anymore.

 

Ruptured Disc (a.k.a. slipped or herniated disc) – When I was 24 years old I woke up one day and I was in immense pain. I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk without assistance, and I was barely able to move my legs. I was told I had a ruptured disc at L5/S1 and that it was one of the biggest ruptures the doctor had ever seen without the disc completely breaking. (I later found out I had another much smaller ruptured disc in my upper back, but this one is the one that causes the majority of my problems).

I was in college and working two-part time jobs, so I had no health insurance and had little money. I was fortunate that I had a chiropractor that was willing to work with me till I figured out how to pay. And I knew the right programs through the hospital to help pay for the expensive tests I needed. I ended up being in this severe of a condition for about six months, though I still have problems with it till this day. And as you will read further in, it caused other problems as well.

During that time I essentially went from someone who was very active to almost a completely sedentary life. Beyond the pain it had numerous ramifications on my health , my mental well-being, and my body. Typically people who have issues with a ruptured disc that are as severe and that last as long as mine have would have surgery. Even if I wanted surgery, it is not an option for me, and you will understand why as you read further.

Sciatica – Sciatica causes pain to radiate from your lower back or buttocks down your leg and to your feet and toes. Where the pain ends has depends on what the cause of the sciatica is and how severe the problem is. It typically is only on one side of the body, however for me due to a hip issue making my ruptured disk move back and forth, the pain can be on either side. But most of the time the pain is on my left side. My sciatica was long lasting. This was one of the many problems caused by the ruptured disc I have.

 

Endometriosis turned out to be Adenomyosis – You may be far more familiar with Endometriosis, or at least heard of it, than you are with Adenomyosis. There are many similarities and differences between these two conditions. The biggest distinguisher between the two is that with Endometriosis the Endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and can grow anywhere in the body, and with Adenomyosis the Endometrial tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Also, since Endometriosis can spread throughout the body, it can never be definitely cured, however Adenomyosis can.

Both conditions can be extremely painful, and because they have so many of the same symptoms and treatments they often are both diagnosed as Endometriosis. And from my understanding, Adenomyosis can only truly be diagnosed when a hysterectomy is performed, which is what happened to me. So for years I was treated as though I had Endometriosis.

From the time my period started at the age of 12 they were heavy(in a way that is not explainable unless you have experienced it), painful, and embarrassing. I tried to find out what was wrong for years and had gotten many other misdiagnosis like PCOS, but I will talk about that more in another post. When I was in my mid 20’s I finally got a diagnosis of Endometriosis, and that finally made sense. After using various treatments on and off for about ten years my symptoms finally got to a place that it was necessary to have a hysterectomy.

As a woman, the word hysterectomy can be quite frightening in and of itself. So I think its needless to say there was a bit of stress I went through over the decision to have a hysterectomy. But I found the support of other women and much-needed information through the website Hyster Sisters, and it really got me through the hardest points. I can now say it is one of the best decisions I have made for my health, and I actually wish I had done it earlier.

 

Nerve Damage – One of the long-term repercussion of the ruptured discs I have is nerve damage. I have nerve damage of varying degrees in my lower back, down both of my legs, and down my left arm. This means I have varying degrees of numbness in some areas, decreased reflexes, and occasional issues with motor functions.

 

Migraines – I have had migraines since I was thirteen years old. In the beginning I would have them occasionally. I really just assumed it was going to be like my grandmother who also gets them but she gets them maybe once every other month or so. When she gets them she ends up in the bed for a day or two and then she is better. And in the beginning that is how mine were as well, or because I had a lot to do I would typically push through the pain.

As I got older the migraines got more frequent. By the time I was in my late teens I was having at least two migraines a week and I had started to figure out some of the things that triggered them, but also realized because of the world we live in it is hard to avoid. Again, because of a lack of health care and living in extreme poverty I didn’t actually get the official diagnosis until about the age of 25.

After I was diagnosed I was put on a preventative medicine called Topamax. There are various preventative medicines on the market, not all of them work for everybody. I was fortunate enough to hit a home run with the first one. Topamax does have some pretty heavy side effect, so if you don’t have a well-informed doctor helping you it can be dangerous. It is definitely not the medicine you want to go on and off of on a whim, but side effects are something I will talk about in another post. Lets just say that this was like a miracle drug in many ways for me, but it does have some drawbacks. And once I really got to a point where my headaches were under control that’s when I realized how bad they really were and how much they were really interfering with my life.

 

Interstitial cystitis (a.k.a. IC, irritable bladder, or painful bladder syndrome) This is one of those odd illnesses that you probably never heard of unless you either have it or have thought you had it at some point. IC is one of those illnesses that are not uncommon to have if you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. I think people are far more familiar with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, however it works very similarly just with your bladder instead. However, IC can be more dangerous than IBS. Left unchecked IC can actually cause your bladder to explode. The good news is there are things you can do to help with you bladder. So if you suspect that you have IC, I urge you to see your doctor to have testing done.

 

Cluster Headaches – I thankfully don’t get these often, I don’t think I would survive if I did. And they would be much further up the list if I did get them often. When I do get them, the pain is intense. I often feel like I have a hot poker pushing through my eyeball. Not much more to say than that.

 

TMJ Disorder (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) – This is another disorder that is often associated with fibromyalgia. Don’t get me wrong, you do not have to have fibromyalgia to get TMJ, but if you have fibromyalgia it’s not unusual to have it. TMJ can be caused by a few things, mine caused by the alignment of my jaw not being correct at times.

When that happens some of the things I can start having issues with is opening and shutting my mouth, my jaw clicks when I open and shut my mouth or even chew, pain in the jaw joint, pain in the ear area, and facial pain. Thankfully my TMJ has been reasonably easy to treat as of yet.

Allergies to:

  • Balsam Of Peru – This is one area of my health I have talked a lot about here on the blog. Since I cover a lot of beauty issues and part of this allergy verges into that arena, it’s kind of relevant. So rather than linking you to an outside source for this one, I have linked to a previous article that I wrote about my allergy. It links to plenty of reference articles. All I will say here is it is one of the most complicated allergies you can have. It causes you to have reactions to hundreds of items in beauty items, food, and medicine. I may have reactions in the form of Contact Dermatitis, blisters in my mouth, or a migraine.
  • Dust and Dust Mites – The only time I seem to react to the dust and dust mite allergy is when I am cleaning. I am guessing this is because this is when they are stirred up into the air. I range from having a brief sneezing fit to a full on sinus infection after.
  • Mold – This is my most recent diagnosis. I haven’t had any treatments yet or leaned a significant amount about it. I had suspected for a while that I was allergic to mold, but went to get tested because I had read there was a possibility that some people have been misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia who actually have an allergy to mold. However you can also be both allergic to mold and have fibromyalgia. But the symptoms are very similar. This is of course something I am still looking into, so don’t put too much stock into it.

Raynaud’s Disease – This is another one of those odd diseases that you probably haven’t heard of unless you or a loved one has it. It only bothers me about half of the year, but if you live somewhere with a colder climate then you might have issues year round. What happens to people with Raynaud’s Disease can be a little different in each individual, but here is what happens to me. Anytime I am exposed to temperatures below forty degrees my fingers (sometimes my toes and nose as well) start to go numb and they ache. They even start to turn blue, sometimes they turn white. Then as they start to warm back up I get painful tingly sensations, like the sensation you get when a limb falls asleep and you are trying to get the circulation back, but its twice as painful. And the area turns red and swells.

This has honestly happened to me for a long time. I just never knew it was anything but normal until I read an article someone posted on Facebook about this condition a few years ago. I then asked my doctor about it, and then I was diagnosed.

Degenerative Disc Disease – Even though this is called a disease, it’s not a disease in the sense you typically think of a disease. Degenerative Disc Disease is really just the normal breakdown of the disc in our spines that happens as we age. However when it happens at a normal rate it usually doesn’t get referred to as Degenerative Disc Disease, it is only described this way when things happen to cause it prematurely. I was told at the age of 25 that my spine looked like that of a 80 year old woman’s.

There are many things that can cause it or at least contribute to it. This is one of the few cases in my health where being overweight really can be harmful. It does put extra pressure on your spine, so it can contribute to how fast the discs deteriorate. In addition injuries caused from falls or car accidents may cause the start of Degenerative Disc Disease as well as bone spurs.

Arthritis – When I was in third grade my school gym class often had days where we had indoor activities due to weather. One of those many days our gym teacher decided we were going to have relay races. When I was running into what was our home base for the race, I fell and slid in. Had this been outside it would not have been that big of a deal. However, it was a big deal because it happened on a concrete floor. I ended up cracking my knee caps, of course we didn’t know that is what happened at the time. Since we didn’t have insurance my parents held off on taking me to the doctor. To be fair I didn’t complain a lot. I told them it hurt but I wasn’t crying in pain. I don’t think they understood the severity at the time. It ended up being two weeks later when I made it to a doctor. The bone had already started to heal wrong by then. All they could do at that point was give me exercises that would hopefully help. But of course being a kid I didn’t do most of them.

Depression – I think most people suffer from some form of depression at one point or another in their life. But not all depressions are created equal, there are different types and degrees of depression. For some it is a short-term issue and for other people their depression is a lifetime issue. During my teen years I often felt down, but not fully depressed. I think the best reference would be I felt melancholy.

When I got older and my initial major health issues hit, that left me feeling majorly depresses. More than that I had feelings of rage and of morning. The type of depression I was going through, I now know is not unusual for someone who has become newly disabled, but it really scared me. After experiencing years of dealing with a parent who had bipolar disorder and refused to get treated, I didn’t want to be that person. So I went as soon as possible to go get myself a therapist. I got checked and thankfully I do not have bipolar disorder. But I did get a lot of help for what I was feeling at the time.

I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to seek out a mental health professional in a time of crisis or if you just feel like you need someone to talk to. It doesn’t mean you are crazy. It doesn’t mean there is something horribly wrong with you. Your just human, and we all need some help sometimes.

 

Sialolithiasis (a.k.a. Salivary Duct Stones) – This is once again one of the odd illnesses that I have that you just don’t hear about unless you have it yourself or someone you are very close to. You may even already be thinking what the heck is Salivary Duct Stones(I am pretty sure most of us can’t even say the other name for it, or at least I know I can’t)? Just like you can develop stones in your kidneys or gallbladder, you can also develop stones in saliva ducts. Some people are just more prone to it that others.

Imagine going to sleep one night and everything is fine, the next morning you wake up and notice you have a small knot on your neck. It was so tiny at first it gets dismissed as a large pimple. But throughout the day it increases in size and starts to become tenser to the touch. By the next morning it’s the size of golf ball. Obviously you go to the ER at this point. Now know what this is, and as funny as it sound, it is still not something you would want to play around with as far getting checked out by a doctor. I was lucky and the simplest treatment available worked for me, and has continued to work the other two times it has happened. But this can become serious, especially if it becomes infected.

 

Chronic Dry Eye – I think everyone understands what Chronic Dry Eye is. What most people don’t know is there are a ton of things that can cause it from other illnesses to medication side effects, or even the way you eye is shaped. My chronic dry eye is a combination of having a very severe keratoconus astigmatism  causing the tears to evaporate quickly and my contact dermatitis clogging my tear ducts. The type of treatment used for your Chronic Dry Eye depends upon the what the cause is.

 

Sleep Walking – Apparently its unusual for adults to sleep walk. So yeah, I know, Its amazing I have something unusual. It actually runs in my family. My father is worse than I am when it comes to sleepwalking. There are various things that can cause sleepwalking in an adult. I actually attempted to find out what is the cause of mine and if there is any way to stop it. However the place I went was not very helpful, and I never found out what was actually causing it. My sleepwalking seems to happen in spurts, so if it ever gets to a place where it is problematic again I may go to another sleep clinic to try to find the cause.

 

Keloid Scars – Keloids only develop on people who are genetically predisposed to them. They are overgrown scar tissue that cause very massive growths after a cut or scratch. If you remember back to me saying I was not a candidate for surgery on my ruptured disc, this is why. Keloid scars in general just cause cosmetic issues and maybe some itching, however there are exceptions like me not being a candidate for surgery. While most of the scar is topical, there is a small bit under the skin. Because they are so large and dense, and because of where my ruptured disc was located, the thought is that if a keloid were to form after the surgery it could cause worse problems than I already have.

 

Sebaceous Cyst – Sebaceous cysts are caused by blocked sweat glands or hair follicles. The oil and dirt build up and cause a bump to grow under the skin. Usually they are larger than acne, and they can be anywhere on your body. Typically I would say that these are just bothersome and a cosmetic worry. However, while I don’t get them often, I do get them close to my spine. This seems to cause some discomfort because of the pressure it puts on my spine.
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I am not going further with the list and explanations. I didn’t include things that were one time incidents like the kidney stone I dealt with. I also didn’t include things that have long since healed like my torn elbow tendon. Nor did I include things that were chronic, but I have long since figured out what was the cause and put them to rest like my COPD from hAsthma and Chronic Bronchitis. I didn’t even include my many misdiagnosises, unless it was relevant to something I was already talking about, including the ear infections I was constantly diagnosed with as a child. And I am pretty sure there are even a few things that I wanted to talk about that I didn’t.

This post is already way longer than I wanted it to be, but I wanted to talk about as much of my diagnosises as possible. So if you have made it this far and read all about what is wrong with me, your probably for one wondering what any of this has to with being fat, and I promise I am getting to that soon. I actually wanted the next piece in this series to be about how being fat affects you when you go to the doctor and how being disabled affects you. And where the similarities are in those two things. But that may get pushed to the next one. It may all depend on how much information I can get on the upcoming vote on the Trumpcare Bill that Mitch McConnell is trying to force through a vote next month.

And Speaking of the Trumpcare Bill or the amended ACA, I said I would let you know where I stood as far as pre-existing conditions. I mean my title is I Am A Pre-Existing Condition. So here goes, based on the initial list released here are the things I have or have previously had that make me a pre-existing condition.

  1.   Acid Reflux
  2.   Acne
  3.   Anemia
  4.   Anxiety
  5.   Arthritis
  6.   Asthma
  7.   Depression
  8.   Heart Burn
  9.   Hysterectomy
  10. Kidney Stones
  11. Menstrual irregularities
  12. Mental Disorders (they say this includes Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia)
  13. Migraines
  14. Obesity
  15. Sleep Apnea

That is fifteen pre-existing conditions. And they aren’t even for the weird obscure things I have, its the everyday things that so many people have. Things you would expect your insurance company to cover. For the full list of pre-existing conditions you can find them here. (Note: as I awoke this morning, right before my final edit of this post, I read the Trump Care Bill as it currently stands has been scrapped. However, they will be back with another bill soon, they are going to be pushing for the ACA to be done away with completely and starting something new. I will try and have more details on that later)

Tell me in the comments below, what makes you a pre-existing condition? Also let me know if there is something you want me to talk about further regarding health or if there is something specific I haven’t talked about yet about being fat and sick.

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Product Review – Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel

Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel Package


I have recently had the chance to try out the Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel.

Eye Soothing Mask by Magic Gel Package

If you are thinking this is the eye mask like I use for my skin care, I am sorry to disappoint, but this is not that type. This more for medicinal use rather than for pampering. However I can certainly think of some beauty benefits, but we will talk about that in a moment when we cover what this is used for. But first let’s talk about what you get with this.

What you get with the Soothe Eye Mask by Magic Gel

With this get:

  •  1 Thermal lined mask
  •  2 Gel eye masks
  •  1 hook

When I first opened the box and saw the hook I had not read the box, so I was confused as to what the hook was for. Well both of the gel masks are made with a little tab out to the side, and they have a place to put the hook in. These are meant to be heated up by sticking them down in hot water. So you stick them on the hook and hook the other end on the side of the glass that way you don’t have to stick your fingers down in boiling hot water. It’s really a nice feature that you just don’t think about until you need it.

The next obvious question is, what do you use this for if it’s not for skin care. Here are the list of things they recommend this for:

  • Blephartis
  • Various ‘dry eye’ syndromes
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
  • Chalazion
  • Styes and Cysts
  • Other Types of Eyelid Inflammation

And why did I want to try it? I have chronic dry eye that is caused by my tear ducts becoming blocked. It’s actually a complication caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. My allergy causes dermatitis to form, and the flakes can happen around my eyes and clog my tear ducts.

The way to treat this is to apply moist heat, then massage the tear ducts until they unclog. Typically I had been using wash clothes and hot water, as hot as I can stand. But they often just don’t stay hot long enough. But the nice thing about this Soothing Eye Mask is it stays hot for 10 minutes.

Me using the Soothing Eye Mask

I tested it out thoroughly. Though its best to use this laying down. I thought it did a fantastic job. I really have no complaints. It is a drastic improvement over me using the wash cloth method. The heat really does last at least ten minutes, but I would dare say it lasted longer.

The directions only mention using this eye mask hot. I was curios how it would work cold because I had a few things in mind that I thought it would help if it could be used that way. So I decided to test it out. I actually thought it worked equally well cold, and here is what I would personally will be using it for. Under eye puffiness, Migraine relief, cooling down. If you do use this cold don’t put it directly on your eyes, try it just above the eyes or below depending on what you are trying to do. And remember this is not what it is recommended for.

I did receive my Soothing Eye Mask at a discount for review purposes. However, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Tell me in the comments below if you have tried anything like this before.

 

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