Safe Skin Care Personal Care Products Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Histamine Intolerance Mast Cell 360 2

Safe Skincare and Personal Care Products for People with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance and the TRUTH about the Toxins in Most Products

When you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you have to be much more careful about what you put on your skin. This is because almost everything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Flaking scalp
  • Hair loss
  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  • Headaches

If so, you definitely want to be checking your products. Even if you don’t have those symptoms, your skin-care and personal care products could still be silently making your Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance much, much worse.

I used to get eczema all the time and itch from head to toe. My scalp would flake. And I got canker sores in my mouth constantly. Luckily that is all gone with changing my diet and my skincare products. (More on diet changes here: What to Eat (and NOT eat!) with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome – Going Beyond Low Histamine Lists)

The scary thing is that topical products are really regulated at all by the FDA. The vast majority of topical products have ingredients that are irritants, allergens, and at worst, carcinogens. And it is perfectly legal for companies to put these kinds of ingredients into your products. These ingredients can be found in:

  • Deodorants
  • Perfumes, colognes, and body sprays
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Body Wash
  • Makeup
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair color
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bubble bath
  • “Hypoallergenic” Products
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • And most other things you put on your skin.

I was using products like these all the time. And they were making me sicker.

But don’t worry, I’m going to break this down into some easy ways you can check your products. And best of all, you don’t have to go makeup free, give up luxurious baths, and quit wearing deodorant. I love my makeup and skincare products. I just know how to choose the ones that don’t make my skin worse and make me sick. In this post, I’m going to share with you all my secrets on safe products you can use without making your Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance worse.

The best news of all? Once I ditched all those toxic skincare products that were supposedly “anti-aging” and “moisturizing”, my skin actually looks younger and clearer than when I was in my 20s!

Why you can’t rely on Brand Marketing and “Organic” and “Natural” Brands if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

So many skincare products are marketed as “anti-aging”, “moisturizing”, and “hypoallergenic”. These are usually scams. The supposedly moisturizing products often contain alcohol that further dries your skin out. This is great for these companies because it means you keep buying more and more moisturizers. And eventually, you start buying even more expensive creams and serums as your skin gets drier and drier. While this may be great for the company, it certainly isn’t good for you.

Many of the “anti-aging” products also have ingredients that accelerate skin deterioration. Let’s take a look at Physicians Formula Skin Concern Anti Aging Wrinkle Filler & Deep Moisture Repair. This is a company I used to trust. Yet, this product has fragrance, a known carcinogen. It has Ext D&C Violet 2 – a coloring agent that is an allergen, toxic to the immune system, and is carcinogenic. Potassium sorbate is a preservative in this product that is a big mast cell trigger. There are so many toxic ingredients in this product I don’t even have room to list them all.

And the “hypoallergenic” products often still contain triggering ingredients. Let’s look at the Aveeno Moisturizing Bar that is marketed as “Dermatologist Tested,” Fragrance Free, and for “Dry Skin.” Sound great, right? Except it has paraben, which is a hormone disruptor. And it has titanium dioxide, a known mast cell trigger.

Or how about Secret Clinical Strength Smooth Solid Women’s Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Sensitive/Hypoallergenic Unscented. Sounds safe, right? But it also has Fragrance, which is a known carcinogen. This deodorant also has talc, petrolatum, cyclopentasiloxane, and dimethicone that all cause organ toxicity. Plus, there is aluminum, which has been linked to numerous neurological issues in those with detox challenges.

What about the “Organic”, “Non-toxic” and “Natural” brands? Shouldn’t they be fine? When I first started being aware of toxins in skin care products, I didn’t know what to look for. So I just relied on the brands that said Organic and Natural. My favorite products were from Aveda. But I was really dismayed when I found out that even many Aveda products have toxic ingredients like Fragrance, Geraniol, and Behentrimonium Chloride! Even the health store brands like Jason and Alba Botanica are still using a lot of toxic chemicals. Just because it is marketed as safe, doesn’t mean it is. So, do your own research. And really check those ingredients!

So what can you do??? Keep reading, because I’m going to make it very easy for you.

The Bottom Line on Safe Skincare and Personal Care Products when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Dealing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance means you have to pay attention to all your underlying triggers. This means watching out for toxic ingredients in your skincare and personal care products. You have to look out for the mast cell activating ingredients as well.

This is a very meaty article going into the details of why these common ingredients in personal care products are toxic. You may not want all those details. And I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. If you just want the summary, I have put it below for you. If you want to know the WHY behind these recommendations, then be sure to read further.

Here is what you need to do to protect yourself from these toxins that can make Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance much, much worse:

  1. Throw out anything with these toxic ingredients:
  • Fragrance
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic Colors
  • Heavy Metals: Lead Acetate, chromium, thimerosal, hydrogenated cotton seed oil, sodium hexametaphosphate
  • Aluminum
  • Nanoparticles: micronized zinc oxide, nano zinc oxide, micronized titanium dioxide, micronized quartz silica, fullerenes
  • Triclosan and other Antibacterial Products
  • Talc
  • Toulene and other nail polish additives: formaldehyde, formalin
  1. Throw out anything with these ingredients:
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Guar Gum
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Carrageenan
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Triphosphate
  • Potassium Triphosphate
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  1. Check any products you aren’t sure about here: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep
  2. Replace your products with safe products listed below in this section of the post or with the products listed here:

https://mastcell360.com/mcas-resources/

Now I’m going to break down these steps and tell you the WHY behind them. So read on if you want the nitty, gritty details.

Check and Ditch Products making Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance Worse

First, read the ingredients of all your products. Here are my top 10 toxic ingredients. If you see any of the ingredients below, throw it away.

  1. Fragrance

Fragrance is considered a VERY HIGH health concern by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This organization is dedicated to providing scientific information on health concerns related to toxins. There is a law that allows companies to not list the ingredients in “fragrance”. There are over 3,100 secret ingredients that can be called “fragrance”.

Fragrance can cause allergic responses, is a lung toxin, and an immune toxin. Fragrances are known to cause allergies, skin irritation, respiratory problems, hormone disruptions and contribute to cancer and reproductive problems.

This is really important to understand – all fragrance is likely toxic. This means the fragrance in your perfume, your scented candles, your lotion, your laundry detergent, your deodorant, – all carcinogenic.

If you see Fragrance, throw it out! Use unscented products or products with Essential Oils instead, if you tolerate them.

  1. Parabens

Parabens are used as preservatives. The problem is that these are hormone disrupting compounds. Some fragrances are parabens. There are a number of paraben compounds: ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. You’ll also sometimes see parabens in foods.

Parabens are involved in hormone disruption, breast cancer, skin cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity.

There are many safer ways to preserve skincare products. We’ll explore them below.

  1. Synthetic Colors

Whenever you see FD&C or D&C + a number, this is referring to a synthetic color. For example, D&C Red 27. These colorings come from tar and petroleum products. Some are considered safer and some are toxic. I prefer to avoid them altogether.

It is easy to use safe minerals and vegetable colors in products instead.

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfates

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used as a lathering ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste. It is a major skin irritant for many people. It can contribute to canker sores and mast cell activation.

Lathering isn’t necessary for a product to clean well. Definitely skip this lathering ingredient.

  1. Heavy Metals like Lead and Mercury

You probably know about the issues in Flint, Michigan, with lead contamination in the water. We all know lead is a major health risk. But did you know many cosmetics are still being contaminated with lead through color additives? Given that many women can swallow up to 10 pounds worth of lipstick a year, this is a big concern. Lead as lead acetate is also a common ingredient in hair color. If you get your hair dyed at a salon, make sure to ask to read the label on the coloring agent first!

Arsenic, mercury, aluminum, zinc, chromium and iron are often found in different skincare products. These include lipstick, eyeliner, eye drops, nail color, foundation, sunscreen, eye shadow, blush, concealer, moisturizer, and whitening toothpaste. Sometimes metals are added on purpose. Other times they make their way in as contaminants. These metals have been linked to reproductive, immune, and nervous system issues.

Watch out for these ingredients as well. They are often contaminated with toxic levels of heavy metals: chromium, thimerosal, hydrogenated cotton seed oil, and sodium hexametaphosphate.

Instead: Use cosmetics tested to be lead-free and use safe hair dyes.

  1. Aluminum

Aluminum can be found in many deodorants and cosmetics. It has been linked to nervous system toxicity, brain disorders, and breast cancer. If you don’t detox metals well, aluminum can build in your body to dangerous limits.

There are plenty of deodorant and cosmetic options without aluminum. Keep reading for safe options.

  1. Nanoparticles

These are laboratory made tiny, microscopic particles used in sunscreens and cosmetics. They may be much more widely used in personal care products than we realize. They are often in: deodorants, toothpastes, shampoos, lotions, foundation, anti-aging creams, and nail polish. The tiny, microscopic size of these particles means they can be much more toxic than the original. They may stay in the body for up to six months and likely can cross the blood brain barrier. When used in spray products like sunscreen, they can easily be inhaled and lodged in the lungs.

Look for any of these ingredients: micronized zinc oxide, nano zinc oxide, micronized titanium dioxide, micronized quartz silica, and fullerenes.

  1. Triclosan and Other Antibacterial Products

Triclosan is used for antibacterial and preservative properties. It can affect the thyroid hormones and disrupt the immune system. Further, hand sanitizers are less effective for getting rid of bacteria than handwashing with regular soap.

There are also serious concerns that antibacterial products are wiping out good bacteria on the skin. This leaves us vulnerable to antibacterial resistant infections like MRSA. And antibacterial agents like Triclosan may be LEADING to superbugs that are antibacterial resistant.

Bottom Line: Avoid antibacterial products.

  1. Talc

Talc is a powder agent often found in baby powder. It can also be found in shower products, deodorants, feminine hygiene products, eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, lotions, and face masks. Talc is often contaminated with asbestos, a cancer-causing agent. There are links with talc and reproductive cancers. Also, cancers of the lining of the lungs, heart, and stomach. There are other concerns with talc too. It can cause respiratory issues, lung toxicity, and genital inflammation.

You definitely want to skip anything with talc in it.

  1. Toulene and other Nail Polish Additives

This is found in nail polishes and hair color. It is a gasoline additive that is banned in Europe in personal care products. It can cause serious nervous system issues, like nausea, confusion, and memory issues. This is even at levels below 10 part per million – a tiny amount. It can cause fetal damage in pregnant mothers. It is also a skin irritant.

Nail polishes may also have formaldehyde and formalin – the stuff used to preserve corpses. Trust me, you don’t want to breathe this in.

A better solution for your nails? Only use safe nail polishes. If you go to a salon, ask to go when there won’t be anyone using the toxic polishes and bring your own.

Other “Safe” Ingredients You have to avoid if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

I have also found that I have to watch out for these mast cell triggers in any products: 

  1. Potassium Sorbate
  2. Sodium Benzoate
  3. Guar Gum
  4. Xanthan Gum
  5. Carrageenan
  6. Citric Acid
  7. Sodium Triphosphate
  8. Potassium Triphosphate
  9. Clove
  10. Cinnamon

 Be sure to check your personal care products for these ingredients that are usually recognized as safe.

What to do after you Ditch those Products. ESPECIALLY if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

So this was just a list of 10 toxic ingredients and 10 types of mast cell triggers. Unfortunately, there are literally thousands of toxic ingredients in skincare and other personal care products! There is no way to cover all of them!

The big takeaway is that if you wouldn’t swallow it, don’t put it on your skin!!

But luckily, there is a really good online resource to check your products. Look your products and ingredients up on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep

This database has over 70,000 skincare and personal care products from over 2,200 brands. The database assigns a Safety Score for each product. Then you can drill down to find out how each single ingredient ranks. This is how I got started in sorting through my products.

Safe Products You Can Use Instead if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance

For most people, it just becomes too complicated to figure out what to do! How do you find non-toxic products AND avoid the mast cell triggers? Well, don’t worry. I want to make it easy on you. These are my favorite products I use day in and day out. They are non-toxic and do not have the top mast cell activators in them.

Of course, anyone can react to anything. So please dilute and spot test all new products in a small area first. This way, you can make sure you won’t react before you slather it all over your body.

Cosmetics, Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Sunscreen:

My favorite Cosmetic company these days is Purity Products over at 100percentpure.com. Their products are absolutely lovely. They use mostly certified organic, plant-based ingredients. This is the only non-toxic shampoo I’ve found that really gets my hair clean. Their makeup is very high quality. They use essential oils that smell amazing. I use them for:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Eye Shadow
  • Concealer
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick
  • Face Wash
  • Soap
  • Eye Cream
  • Brightening Serum
  • Body Wash
  • Body Scrub
  • Sunscreen

The other thing I really love about this company is that they have a 100% money back guarantee. If you don’t like something, just contact them and they take care of you right away. They have also helped me pick the right colors for my skin tone. You just have to send them a face pic.

I have very sensitive skin. And I’ve never had a reaction to their products. If you are extremely sensitive to plant oils, you may not do well with this line. But it is risk free. So you could always try a few products to see how you do.

You can find Purity Products here: 100percentpure.com

Face and Body Moisturizer

Now you may or may not have noticed that I didn’t list lotion above. 100percentpure.com does have delicious smelling lotions and hand creams, and I do really like their products. But I have a few things I actually find work better for me for moisturizing. These are:

  • Organic Rose Hip Oil– I use this on areas that get sun exposure at night. It contains retinoids (form of Vitamin A) that may help stabilize mast cells. The retinoids also help repair sun damage. Rose Hip Oil is very light weight. Just don’t use it before going out in the sun. This is because it can make the skin temporarily more sensitive to the sun. You can also use this as a whole body moisturizer at night.
  • Organic, unrefined, Grade A Shea Butter – I really love shea butter. It is a very thick moisturizer that is great in the winter or for really dry skin. Shea butter helps stabilize mast cells as well. Just avoid it if you are allergic to latex. I use it all over.
  • Organic cold pressed Mango butter – This is another lovely, thick moisturizer that is great for dry skin. If you are allergic to mango, of course skip this.

Soaps:
Here are some soap options. I only use Dr. Bronner’s for Hand Soap. I like 100percentpure.com for body soap. If you can’t use them, try the bar soap below.

Handsoap: Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Castile Soap
Handsoap: Seventh Generation Hand Soap Unscented
Bar Soap: Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Bar Soap

Deodorant:

I’ve tried a number of aluminum free deodorants. Most of them didn’t work at all.

Crystal Mineral Deodorants have worked really well for me. I’m not a heavy sweater though. And I don’t spend a ton of time in the heat.

I love this deodorant for active days when I’m going to sweat more:

Primal Pit Paste – it comes in unscented and essential oil varieties. This does contain shea butter which can be a problem with latex allergies. It is a bit hard to apply with the applicator. I find the easiest way is to put the amount I’m going to use in my hand and let it warm up a little to soften it, then apply directly with fingers.

Hair Serum: 

Organic Broccoli Seed Oil: This is a lightweight oil that is perfect for smoothing those fly-aways for frizzy hair days. Even better, it is mast cell stabilizing! Just use a tiny amount and smooth on the top layer of hair. No, it doesn’t smell like broccoli. 🙂  It just has a slightly nutty smell. I store mine in the fridge because it lasts forever. This keeps it from going rancid.

Bath Soaks/Home Spa Products:

Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes – These are magnesium chloride bath flakes. Great for relaxing muscles and calming down before bed.

Aztec Secrets Indian Healing Clay – This is a really pure bentonite clay for detoxing the skin and tightening pores.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste has been the hardest product to find without toxic and mast cell activating ingredients. The non-toxic ones often have guar gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan, clove cinnamon, or sodium benzoate. Here are the options I know of:

Weleda Children’s Tooth Gel – This is one of the few non-toxic toothpastes that doesn’t have the mast cell activating ingredients.

With My Toothpaste – This is verified by Environmental Working Group. The menthol may bother some people.

Redmond Earth Paste – again, has a little menthol. Avoid the cinnamon flavor.

Fragrance/Essential Oils:

I only use essential oils for fragrance. Not everyone tolerates essential oils. But if you do, Rocky Mountain Oils is a wonderful company. There are major issues with essential oils being diluted with toxic, synthetic fragrance and other additives. Rocky Mountain Oils is certified and third-party tested. Their essential oils are therapeutic grade. And I really appreciate that they aren’t an MLM – Multi-Level Marketing company. I don’t have time for all that complication. I like to just buy my products and be done. I really trust this company. My favorites to dab on for a little fragrance are:

Balance – a floral, citrus, woody blend that is grounding

Citrus Passion – a bright and light, refreshing scent that is uplifting

Calming – a fruity, floral smell that is relaxing

Here is the Bottom Line Again on Safe Skincare and Personal Care Products when you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

Dealing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance means you have to pay attention to all your underlying triggers. This means watching out for toxic ingredients in your skincare and personal care products. You have to look out for the mast cell activating ingredients as well. Here are your steps to take:

  1. Throw out anything with these toxic ingredients:
  • Fragrance
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic Colors
  • Heavy Metals: Lead Acetate, chromium, thimerosal, hydrogenated cotton seed oil, sodium hexametaphosphate
  • Aluminum
  • Nanoparticles: micronized zinc oxide, nano zinc oxide, micronized titanium dioxide, micronized quartz silica, fullerenes
  • Triclosan and other Antibacterial Products
  • Talc
  • Toulene and other nail polish additives: formaldehyde, formalin
  1. Throw out anything with these ingredients:
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Guar Gum
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Carrageenan
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Triphosphate
  • Potassium Triphosphate
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  1. Check any products you aren’t sure about here: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep
  2. Replace your products with safe products listed above or listed here: https://mastcell360.com/mcas-resources/

The more mast cells triggers you can get rid of the better your health will be. I don’t recommend you use up your toxic products before replacing them. If you know something is making you sick, why would you keep using it?

But don’t despair when you have to get rid of your favorite department store products. Just look at it as transitioning into a much healthier treat for your skin. And you might make it fun for yourself and pick up some of the lovely products at 100percentpure.com.

Be sure to also read this blog post on Safe Cleaning Products for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance:

Safe Cleaning Products for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Histamine Intolerance Chemical SensitivitySafe Chemical-Free Cleaning Products for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Histamine Intolerance and Chemical Sensitivity

 

 

References:

Aiello, Allison E.; Larson, Elaine L.; Levy, Stuart B. (2007). Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky? Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Environmental Working Group and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (2010). Not so Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance. http://www.closertheline.com/NotSoSexy_report_May2010.pd

Foddai, ACG; Grant, IR; Dean, M. (2016). Efficacy of Instant Hand Sanitizers against Foodborne Pathogens Compared with Hand Washing with Soap and Water in Food Preparation Settings: A Systematic Review. Journal of Food Protection.

Nadarajah, Sangeetha; Skaggs, Katherine; Findlater, Malcolm; Sturdivant, Seth. (2018). Does antibacterial soap prevent the spread of infection more than regular soap? Evidence-Based Practice.

Chemicals of Concern. Accessed July 6, 2019. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chem-of-concern/

Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. Accessed July 6, 2019. Environmental Working Group https://www.ewg.org/skindeep

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