This Simple Life

Isothiazolinone and me

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About eighteen months ago I started to have terrible trouble with my skin. When I say trouble, it was similar to eczema that I had experienced many times before, – but eczema on steroids.

My skin had become so fragile I simply had to bend my finger and large cracks would appear, a small knock and my skin would split open. My skin was always itchy; I was bleeding and in agony all of the time.

After not being able to take this annoyance any longer I asked my GP to refer me to an immunologist. He did and when I rang the immunologists office for an appointment, the narky receptionist curtly advised that she would see if the good Doctor would be “willing” to take my case.

As it turned out he was not.

Bundles of fun in that office I suspect.

Perplexed and disillusioned, I returned to my GP to request a referral to a different Immunologist. This time I hoped it was one that would actually gave a damn!  What a lucky girl I turned out to be when I was offered a cancellation appointment with Professor Paul Gatenby at The Canberra Hospital

Thankfully Prof. Gatenby turned out be not only super knowledgeable in his field but an all round nice guy! 

The Prof. took an active interest in my case and prodded, poked and pried. I went through scratch and patch testing.  He would not give up until the cause of my skin irritations had been discovered.

The end result? An allergy to Isothiazolinone, also known as Kathlon CG.

Isothiazolinone is a preservative used in a lot of the smuck we tend to put on our skin. Sunscreens, moisturisers, shampoos and body washes often contain this chemical so it can be quite difficult to avoid. Avoid it though you can, and if you’re allergic to it that’s exactly what you’ll want to do.

I spend a lot of time reading bottles and researching ingredients nowadays. Unfortunately isothiazolinone is in a lot of products but I have found a number which are isothiazolinone free. If you have an isothiazolinone  allergy and would like some product tips, contact me  – I’m happy to share!

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