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Have you looked recently looked at the ingredients in a shampoo bottle and tried to interpret, let alone pronounce the various chemicals? I wish you didn’t need a science degree to understand so many of the chemicals contain within the cosmetic products we use.
All of my life I accepted my scalp itched and dandruff was a side effect of the itching. Tyring various shampoos high in pyrithione zinc I believed they would work as marketed, and actually resolve the issue. When diagnosed with my systemic nickel allergy, I was first told to eliminate anything and everything I used that contained fragrances from my shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, cleansers, lotions, chapstick and laundry detergent. I began my fragrance free routine using All Free & Clear laundry detergent and Cetaphil soap and lotion. However, finding adequate hair products posed quite a challenge. Given samples of Free & Clear to use, I was at a loss. Though it reduced the need to itch my scalp, my hair felt dry and brittle.
For a long time I used Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree shampoo. It’s paraben free, but contains, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Overtime, my scalp became sensitive to SLS, a cheap bubbling agent added to many cosmetic products like shampoo and toothpaste. Having to find another shampoo that I not only liked, but was free from nickel, foods high in nickel like soy, oats, nuts or seeds, fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) seemed nearly impossible.
Luckily, my dermatologist’s office had samples of Cleure, a fragrance free and SLS free shampoo and conditioner. Cleure does contain 3 different ingredients that are all derived from coconut. Despite the coconut, I thought I would give it a try and it’s been great for nearly a year. It’s one of the only shampoos that has totally resolved my scalp from itching and consequently my dandruff.
You might already know I am a fan of Skintifique. If you want to try Skintifique, (referral affiliate link) use referral code 22140304 to receive $15.00 off when you register and shop.
Dedicated to creating nickel free products, they’ve recently rolled out a new online tool called Flamingo that makes it easier to search for the best cosmetic products for your skin.
Using their menu on the upper left hand side, you can create a sensitivity profile to identify specific brands that exclude specific chemicals. Or you can go through a series of menus searching for cosmetic products that you can custom filter that either contain specific ingredients or avoids certain ingredients if you have a nickel allergy.
Flamingo is still in development. If you know about products that work well for you that aren’t in their database, they’d love any feedback. It can be a little difficult at first, so they’ve created a tutorial that explains the tool’s various features.
What about you? How have you found the nickel free cosmetic products you like and use? I’d love to hear you experience in the comment section below.
Neutrogena’s T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo works for me.
Also Bare Minerals powered cosmetics are also issue free.
Thanks for your comment. It’s helpful to know what specific products work well. I will have to check out Neutrogena’s T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo. I don’t wear makeup, but know a lot of people like Bare Minerals.
I knew there had to be/needed to be an app for this! Thank you Flamingo and Christy!
Thanks for your comment! I am glad the Flamingo website is so useful for you!
http://www.skinsafeproducts.com and their app was provided to me by my dermatologist. You can use it on your own or your doctor’s office can load up your list of allergens to avoid and give you a personalized code to access it. It has about 40,000 products listed of which I can only use 2300 but it helps to take a lot of the guess work out of it as you can scan barcodes in the store with the app. You can submit products on your own as well. For shampoo Cleure, E45, DHS and Logona all have nickel free (and most common allergen) free options. I’ve tried DHS, Logona and Cleure and like the Logona a little better but they weren’t bad. I’m allergic to all conditioners so I use a very small amount of 100% petroleum jelly in my hair to condition and control the frizz. (I have curly hair and it doesn’t get greasy from the Vaseline. It dries fine but feels a little odd when it is wet.)
Regarding Bare Escentuals / Bare Minerals, there are only about 5 ingredients so my dermatologist recommended that I use that since they can’t test for every single potential allergen. It works great and I’d continue to use it even if I didn’t have allergies. Watch a youtube tutorial as it is a different type of product.
Thanks for your comment. The problem with that website is that many of the products they claim are nickel free are products that haven’t had nickel added as an external ingredient. However many of the cosmetic products contain natural ingredients like soy, nuts, shea butter or oatmeal that are foods higher in nickel and still cause those of us with systemic nickel allergies to react. For instance the website claims aveeno moisturizers are nickel free, yet their primary ingredient is oats. It something to be mindful of whatever website used to filter nickel free products. As you know, the process of finding truly nickel free products involves thoroughly researching the products to truly ensure they are safe for us to use.
I am new to this site and glad to have found it. I am allergic to dairy, very gluten intolerant (but not celiac) and have had an itchy neck and chest for about 3 years, rashes and hives in those areas for 1+ years before seeing my dermatologist. Nickel allergy. Very positive to patch test. I have had contact dermatitis since I was a teen, from jewelry, metal touching my skin. I am working on eating nickel free and trying possible nickel containing foods (advice from my dermatologist) to see if I have a reaction. I will be visiting my son in Thailand in the fall and I don’t know what I can eat. Dermatologist did a specific blood test for shrimp and it was ok, but we don’t know about other shellfish. My son says there is fish sauce in about everything. I told him I thought if I could eat plain white rice and plain meat I should be ok. They have very different fruits and vegs there, so I’ll have to see. I am very fair and will be loaded with sunscreen and a broad brim hat. I’d hate to have hives and sunburn at the same time. It’s frustrating enough avoiding dairy and gluten and it’s harder with nickel because I really don’t know what foods I’ll react to. I’ll read all your recipes and advice. Also concerned about what I should pack for snacks/meals for 20 hour air flight.
Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found my website. Using a food journal is the best way to identifying what you can or cannot eat. It is a trial and error process that takes time, but extremely worth it. There’s a lot of useful information like low nickel snacks and tips for dining out. Possibly because your visiting your son, it might be easier to cook in his residence. You also might look into creating a food allergy chef card translated into Thai with the foods highest in nickel and most common in their food, like gluten, nuts, seeds, coconut etc, that you can show the servers when you do go out to eat. Good luck.
Hi Christy, the link to Flamingo doesn’t appear to be working and a google search proved fruitless? Can you re-share in case its changed since you published. Your article on shampoos/conditioners was really interesting although many of the products appear unavailable in the UK (we appear a bit behind when it comes to comprehension of nickel/cobalt/colophony allergy issues). I was patch tested and discharged from the dermatologists care as he considered identifying the above allergen was “job done”! Far from it, but its a start.
Thanks for your comment. I tried the links on the day of your comment and it didn’t seem to work. I contacted Skintifique and it seems now the link is working. Try this link (know if you purchase something I’ll receive a very small commission). The great thing about their database is it includes cosmetics that may contain both nickel and cobalt and more. I hope this helps and you’re able to find cosmetics in the UK.
Hi Christy, Thank you for your informative blog. I have had a nickel allergy since my teens (for earrings and glasses). Over the years (i am now 54) I have gradually developed intolerances for various foods (kidney beans, beans peas, and legumes) and finally, in the last couple of years, I have developed a contact allergy to lipsticks and some foods and other cosmetics resulting in cheilitis. I have always had sensitive skin. It has been a very frustrating journey to discover the cause. It now seems obvious, however just today, I feel I have found the answer to my worsening skin condition – Nickel. I wanted to pass on the information that I have been without itchy scalp for years using the shampoo AKIN by Alchemy, and I have only just discovered the CALM brand of cosmetics put out by PAULA’s CHOICE, coincidentally my namesake, but it seems to work without bringing on my lip skin condition. I thought you and other readers may like to know this. Kind regards Paula
Thanks for your comment and appreciation for my website. Thanks also for sharing your story and those awesome products that you’ve found to work so well for you. Though it took quite a lot of time for you to identify that nickel is the culprit, it is wonderful you know now.
Any new recommendations for shampoo/conditioner ? I noticed Cleure is using shea butter.
Thanks for your comment. Free and Clear is always recommended by dermatologists. I haven’t tried this, but Exederm® shampoo appears it may be a good option.