There will be the new writer for this blog.

After writing this Allergy Comfort Zone blog for the last 4 years, I am passing it over to  Erika Ladouceur who promises to keep it active and true to its beginnings. Erika lives in Canada so she might have a little different perspective on allergies.

I want to thank all the readers who follow Allergy Comfort Zone and all the many reader who have left comments. I may occasionally write a blog on one of my favorite subjects; skin allergies, contact dermatitis and eczema.

Thank you, have a healthy and happy holiday and new year.

Dayne Sislen


What to wear when your clothes make you itch

I have eczema and contact dermatitis and my clothes make me itch. A lot of other things also tend to irritate my skin. Here is a list of some of the things I am sensitive to: red, orange and blue disperse dye, laundry detergents with perfumes or dyes, nylon, polyester, wool, household cleaning products, water repellant, wrinkle free and stain resistance fabric finishes.

It’s very hard for me to wear most clothes, especially dark-colored clothes. My secret, at least in the cooler months, is to wear white or cream 100% silk long underwear under all my clothes. I buy mine from Winter Silk and Terramar silk from Amazon.

The long johns are very thin and really do not make your clothes look bulky. I always wash all new clothes including silk 26769several times in a perfume-free and dye-free detergent and rinse them twice before wearing them.

I recently ran across a company who sells 100% pure medical grade silk  long underwear. Their product sounds pretty impressive, but the items are very expensive, so I have not been able to try them out. The name is Derma Silk they are located in Canada, the link is

When summer comes I switch over to wearing well washed and rinsed 100% cotton fabrics in white and very pale colors. My favorite combination is a well washed white top with faded khaki bottoms. Some brands of blue jeans are better for my skin than others. The only way to know for sure is to try them. Levis 501 are suppose to use Indigo dye which may rub off on your skin, but should not be as irritating as synthetic dyes. I like to wear well washed Eddie Bauer jeans, they fit me well and do not irritate my skin.

Does Grandma know best?

I will not take credit for this advice. I found it in my local newspaper in the Peoples Pharmacy column by Joe and Terry Graedon.  I hope I am giving them enough credit for this advice.

I often write about eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin rashes, this advice from grandmothers may help some people. I find “Old Wives Tales”, “Grandma’s Wit” and “Grandma’s Remedies” to be very helpful. If you think about it, a lot of our “modern” treatments are based on these old remedies (with a lot of added preservatives and added cost).

Here are a few from the Peoples Pharmacy

1. For eczema try mixing a non-scented simple lotion like baby lotion with olive oil. Rub on the affected area three times a day. After your shower or bath and two other times. It is supposed to clear up eczema in two weeks.

My experience: I tried using olive oil and lotion several years ago, it did make my dry skin skin feel better, but the greasiness of the oil and the olive oil smell turned me off.

2. Another remedy I haven’t tried yet, but I plan to starting today. Drink Oolong tea. I don’t know how much you need to drink, but it is supposed to help in four weeks. This shouldn’t be too hard for me to do because Oolong tea is my favorite tea.

Hope this helps with your eczema. Visit the Peoples Pharmacy, it is very interesting to read the articles.

Share your Grandma’s Wit with us, maybe it will help someone. Please comment below.

Why are my clothes causing a rash?

Colored TextilesMost allergic reaction to clothes can be traced back to chemical additives and coatings. It’s mind boggling how many irritating  chemicals are used in processing textiles: Rubber materials, formaldehyde resins, quarternium-15, disperse dyes, glues, elastic, tanning agents used to process fabrics & leather and metallic fasteners and other chemicals on clothes. The usual areas of concern for irritation from textiles are areas of the body subjected to friction and perspiration. The areas under arms, behind knees, in upper thigh, inside elbows and a rash around waist are usually the worst.

Disperse Blue 106 and 124 are used in the 100% acetate and 100% polyester blue, black, green and violet liners of women’s clothing . It is rare for men to react to the liner in their trousers, as the liner is usually white, grey or beige. The reaction to these disperse dyes can cause a severe acute eczematous reaction in the affected areas and may become chronic. Sometimes, there is sensitivity to flame-retardant materials added to clothing. Allergic contact dermatitis from the flame-retardants Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate  and 2,3- dibromocresylglycidyl ether has been reported. Chronic generalized dermatitis that was a reaction to the Basic Red 46 dye in flame-retardant clothing  has been reported. Many flame-retardant clothes are colored using basic dyes. Read more about this:

New technologies have been developed to protect against UV radiation or to enhance breathability. These new technologies applied to fabrics can also cause allergic reactions and rashes. Most people who have textile allergies react to synthetic materials most often, some people are allergic to wool. When people believe they are allergic to cotton or silk, their reaction is usually to dyes or finishes applied to these natural materials or with the synthetic materials with which the natural fibers are blended.

The term hypoallergenic is used widely, although no Food and Drug Administration–approved definition of hypoallergenic exists. A warning exists for hypo irritating cleansers, cosmetics, moisturizers, and protectants; however, no standard method exists to identify textile products that are used by individuals with susceptible skin (atopic dermatitis, facial skin of individuals with rosacea).

My advice is to:

1. read labels carefully, watch out for wrinkle-free, fire resistant, UV protection, soil repellant fabrics.

2.Wash all new clothes three times in a perfume-free, dye-free detergent or soap like Nellies Washing Soda and rinse two times. See the skin products I recommend including Nellies Washing Soda in my Allergy product Store.

3. Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets or fabric softener, Nellies makes a good one that is PVC-free.

4. Do not wear heavily dyed clothing and stay away from synthetic clothing that comes in direct contact with your skin.

5. Find an outfit or two that does not irritate your skin and designate those clothes for relaxing and exercising. During the work day, wear “safe” comfortable clothes under more irritating highly processed or colored clothes.

6. I wear silk long underwear in white or cream under all my irritating sweaters and trousers. I get my silk underclothes from They have a lot of styles to choose from, stay with the lighter colors to be safe.

Visit my Skin Allergy Comfort Store  to see products I recommend like Nellies Washing Soda.

Information on skin allergies, itching, dermatitis and eczema.

For almost two years, I have written many blogs on skin allergies, dermatitis and eczema. These are my popular posts by far. In this blog post I would like to summarize my blogs to  give you easy  access links to many of my most popular blogs for skin allergies.

Check out a few of  these past blogs of mine:

Help for those with dermatitis and eczema.

Causes of eczema and dermatitis and how to eliminate them

How to Make Itchy Skin Go Away

Allergic to your clothes? Some helpful advice.

Atopic dermatitis Why it’s so hard to control

Removing “tagless” tags from clothing

Why do blue jeans turn my legs blue and make me itch?

Are your clothes causing an itchy rash?

All Skin Allergy blog posts can be found on my Allergy Comfort Zone Website.

If you have any comments, please make them below.

Causes of eczema and dermatitis and how to eliminate them

Toxic Cleaning ProductsFirst of all eczema is used as a general term for many types of skin inflammation and itching skin (also called dermatitis) and allergic-type skin rashes. There are many things that can irritate your skin. There are two basic types of causes for eczema and dermatitis in your home; allergens and irritants. Some reactions happen on the surface of your skin and some reactions happen internally but show up as irritation on your skin.

Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are two different forms of eczema. Contact dermatitis is an external reaction that occurs when your skin comes in contact with something your are allergic to or a chemical that is irritating to your skin. This type of eczema is the easiest to figure out and correct.

Atopic dermatitis is the result of an internal reaction by your immune system to an irritant or allergen. When your immune system interacts with the trigger, and typically another component in your body such as irregular hormones, food allergies or stress-related toxins, the result is an eczema outbreak on your skin that is painful, swollen, and itchy. This rash can occur anywhere on your skin, not just at the spot where you contacted the allergen or irritant. Atopic dermatitis is the hardest type of eczema to eliminate, because it is hard to know what to look for, when two elements are involved.

The irritant may also be a common household chemical. Some of the more common chemical irritants are laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning solvents, latex products, and nail varnish. However, you may eliminate all these things and still find you are breaking out. If that is the case, check many of the items you use on a regular basis, such as the synthetic fibers in your bedding, clothes, furnitures, rugs and your beauty products, to make sure they are not irritating your eczema. Also look for mold, mildew and pet dander in your environment which can serve as a trigger for allergies. Many people have a reaction to lime juice, hand sanitizers, antiperspirants, hair removal products, antibiotic ointments and even metal zippers and snaps (it’s the nickel).

Some allergens in your foods can contribute to your atopic dermatitis. Foods like peanuts, strawberries, food coloring, cow milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat and other food additives are known to cause internal and external eczema.

Here are a few tips for avoiding skin irritation:

1. Read labels. Know exactly which chemicals are in the product you’re using. Try to avoid products that contain ingredients you’ve had a reaction to in the past. Follow directions on the label so you know you’re using the cleaning product safely.

2. Go alternative. “Green” cleaners won’t necessarily prevent dermatitis, but they are generally gentler on the skin, not to mention on the environment. Look for cleaning products labeled “fragrance and dye-free” or “all natural,” or try an old-fashion cleaner like baking soda. Nellies makes a very good All Natural Washing Soda

Bottom line: Be your own detective. You are the best one to narrow down and eliminate irritants in your surrounds. Why spend the money on allergy patch testing when you can do a more accurate elimination trial on your own using products you already have. Visit my Skin Allergy Products Store  to see products and books I recommend.

If you have any comments or suggests please comment below.

Beautiful Fall Brings Not So Lovely Allergies

If you have a runny nose and sneezing with watery or burning eyes, you have an allergy. Welcome to the club. It’s not a very exclusive club because over 50 million Americans have allergies or develop them sometime in their life. One of the most common allergies in the Fall is pollen. It can come from grass, weeds or trees. Ragweed is the most common culprit in the Fall.

Besides the usually symptoms of runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes, many people develop seasonal dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is simply your body’s reaction to something touching your skin. A skin allergy can be mild, like a slight rash or It can be more pronounced, with itchy bumps or blisters. Allergic reactions are caused by our body’s natural immune system, the body’s system of white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infection.

In people with allergies, the immune system over reacts to things that aren’t really dangerous. Their immune systems react to certain foods, plants like poison ivy, pollens in the air, metals like nickel, or ingredients in makeup, detergent or shampoo. Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but there seems to be a genetic connection, because allergies tend to run in families.

A rash can be caused by:

• Irritants in the air
• Nickel, often found in inexpensive plated jewelry or white gold jewelry
• Preservatives, including formaldehyde and quaternium 15, which are found in some cosmetics, paints, and household cleaners
• Fragrances in shampoos, detergents, lotions and anti-aging products
• Latex or other materials in rubber gloves
• Cobalt chloride, found in some deodorants. I use Almay hypoallergenic Fragrance-Free Antiperspirant & Deodorant
• Fabric dyes, especially those used on synthetic fabrics.
• Poison (plants or chemicals in cleaning products)
• Certain foods

What to do:

• Many dermatologists will tell you to use-low dose steroid creams. They are fine for very short-term use, like for poison Ivy. I would stay away from them for extended use. I used steroid creams for many years and have permanently damaged the skin on my arms and upper legs. My skin is now thinner and crepey in those areas.

• Avoiding the irritant is the best course of action. Always shower and wash your hair before going to bed. to remove any air-borne allergens from your skin that would transfer to your bedding. Wash your clothes after coming in contact with the allergen. Use a fragrance-free, dye-free detergent, with a double rinse.

• Check labels carefully for ingredients you are allergic to. Be careful of cheap jewelry and white gold jewelry that might contain nickel.

• I also like to use over-the -counter antihistamine tablets, such as an allergy medicines. Consumer Reports recommends: Loratadine 10 mg tablets, Loratadine dissolving 10 mg tablets, Loratadine liquid 10 mg or Alavert dissolving 10 mg tablet. These all contain the same best-selling prescription drug as Claritin (in 2002  loratadine became generic). Antihistamine medicines block histamine from interacting with your skin and nasal tissues.

If you have any other hints please share them with us in the comments below.

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