The only thing I knew I was legit allergic to (other than ragweed pollen, but does that even count as a real allergy? Isn’t EVERYONE allergic to ragweed?) is the Sulfa antibiotic family.
Well, I found another substance, and I figure if a non-allergy prone person like me is allergic to this stuff, it deserves a word of warning. It is a chemical that is routinely found in so-called “natural” soaps (in my case a shower gel – for maximum bodily exposure… great) called cocamide monoisopropanolamine or MIPA for short.
In August (when I bought a different shower gel for the first time), I suddenly started getting what I thought was heat rash. It was very hot, and I was sweating a lot, so while odd, I didn’t worry much about it. Well, this “heat rash” spread, then started getting quite nasty. So nasty, in fact, that despite the fact that I had a very vigorous case of chickenpox when I was 3 1/2, I was looking up signs and symptoms of shingles. Could it be that with the advent of the chickenpox vaccine that shingles was back in play for people who had chickenpox as kids? As it turned out, no. Thank God.
I finally forensically mapped out that the rash coincided with my new bottle of shower gel. Sure enough, ingredient number FOUR is “Cocamide MIPA”, which is an emulsifier, stabilizer and surfactant used in “natural” soaps. And if you are allergic to it… YIKES.
Remember folks, just because something says “natural” or “hypoallergenic” doesn’t mean that there is zero chance that you could have an allergic reaction to it. The truth is, most of these labels are just marketing ploys. “Organic” has no actual meaning other than “we’re going to charge you double-to-triple for this”. “Natural”, “hypoallergenic”, all just buzz words. And hey, ragweed is “natural”. So is lactose. So are peanuts and shellfish.
So, back to the old reliable shower gel for me! Problem solved. I am stronger now.
And now, a little cultural appropriation, just to say we did.