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Help! Allergic to most shampoos!

(28 Posts)
aniawl Sat 23-Sep-17 13:41:14

Hello Mumsnet give, my first post here and I'm hoping you can help.
I am allergic to most shampoos on the market - most cause skin irritation after the wash ( currently sitting here, scratching my itchy arms after having just jumped out of the shower), some actively inflame my scalp and hands. I already go for the hypoallergenic, no sulphates, mostly unscented products but they seem to all cause this reaction if not at the first few applications, then by the end of the bottle. Currently using bioré no-detergent shampoo which was fine to start with but alas no more. I'm actively dreading showers now bc it happens so often.
Have you got some miracle products you can recommend?

billybagpuss Sat 23-Sep-17 13:52:05

First of all try just washing in water for a few days, our hair doesn't need anything like the level of product we put into it. You might hopefully find it a huge relief. Do the same thing with shower gel too just have a really good wash down with water and a flannel in the shower every day. You can still use deodorant as usual. I did read somewhere that soaps leave a residue that allow the bacteria to stick to causing the body odour but I can't bring myself to give it up completely.

I notice you're already avoiding sulphates, I have an allergy to SLS which is in absolutely everything it seems. Try the Green People They seem to be the only one I can cope with for any length of time. I now also only use product in my hair once or twice a week and its much better for it I can't get over how much better it feels actually and I've been doing this now for probably 4 years.

My skin is also much better than it was too, its crazy.

Good luck I do feel for you x

aniawl Sat 23-Sep-17 23:05:03

Thank you @billybagpuss - good advice. I already avoid shower gels - a quick daily shower doesn't always call for them but I haven't tried just water hair wash. I'll give it a go. Checking the green people site now too - much appreciate the suggestion.

Esssa Sat 23-Sep-17 23:13:36

Is it just the shampoo or does conditioner cause irritation too? I ask as you could probably just cut the shampoo out and only use conditioner instead if that doesn't bother your skin. It just means you have to scrub your scalp well with your fingertips as conditioner isn't sudsy

suze28 Sat 23-Sep-17 23:18:10

I’ve been using this shampoo from Victoria Health which is organic and clear of a lot of chemicals. It’s really suiting my hair

RicottaPancakes Sat 23-Sep-17 23:22:34

Try not to use any. It will feel strange at first but you will probabky find that you don't need shampoo often if you wash with water every day.

Auburn2001 Sat 23-Sep-17 23:28:14

Poor you, OP. I have very sensitive skin and scalp and have been known to wash my hair with just aloe Vera gel (the one in the tube from Holland and Barrett) to help calm my scalp down. WaterWipes might also be useful.

Apileofballyhoo Sat 23-Sep-17 23:46:33

Have you tried MooGoo

and/or Child's Farm?


Or Pure Potions?

DS and I can't use any brands besides these ones for washing skin or we're in trouble with itching, reddening, drying, cracking and bleeding. Pure Potions ointment is absolutely miraculous for curing but I haven't tried their washing stuff. MooGoo wash is brilliant as a preventative. Allergenics shampoo caused no problems and cleared up an itchy irritated scalp problem my FIL had for months. Child's Farm is just a bit more drying than MooGoo but seems fine. Cheapest one of the lot but MooGoo lasts ages and ages and Child's Farm goes quickly.

aniawl Sun 24-Sep-17 19:51:40

@Esssa - I've never tried using conditioner without the shampoo so honestly don't know! Won't it make the hair greasy? I know for sure the shampoo gives me that reaction as I get irritation when using just shampoo, no other products. Will give it ago! Ta!

aniawl Sun 24-Sep-17 20:08:18

@suze28 - sadly I tried that one and it worked for a little while but soon started causing the irritation as well. Had to leave the rest of the bottle for my OH - much to my chagrin bc I liked what it did to my hair.

@auburn2001 - i think I might have some aloe gel left over from treating my OH after bad sun burn. Do you use it to treat the irritation or instead the product?

@apileofballyhoo - loving the suggestions. I think I saw pure potions recommended elsewhere too with people swearing by them. I tried Childs farm already ( had it for the kids) but sadly it had the same reaction ( on me, not the kids).

@ricottapancakes - I've avoided using shampoo for the last two days on advice of @billybagpus - it was a welcome relief from all the itching but my hair is quite fine and dead straight and is missing a bit of that lift it got from being shampooed. I am thinking I might alternate it inthefuture - one or two days without than one tee one with.

The really annoying thing is that each time I was pregnant, I had none of this problem. This is HOW I realised I was pregnant the second time - suddenly no itching. Stopped within days of giving birth...

Thanks again for the suggestions! Much appreciated!

billybagpuss Sun 24-Sep-17 21:24:51

Give it a couple of weeks and the lift will come back, I use product 2 or 3 times a week at most, glad it helped smile

Auburn2001 Mon 25-Sep-17 08:20:11

aniawl I do this now and again (on a day when I'm not going anywhere special) if my scalp is itchy. I wet my hair and wash my scalp with a teaspoon of the Aloe Vera gel. Leave it for a few minutes and rinse it out. It doesn't leave me with bouncy swishy hair but at least my scalp is happier. star
I got the idea from the Curly Girl book for hair by Lorraine Massey.

GrasswillbeGreener Mon 25-Sep-17 08:30:06

How often do you think you need to wash your hair? Just washing it much less often may give your scalp a chance to react less anyway. My (admittedly long) hair is fine with shampooing it about every 5 days.

Patchouli666 Mon 25-Sep-17 08:58:46

To do the 'no poo' method or co-washing, you need an appropriate conditioner. You need one without silicones in it or you'll get build up - what brands have you been using? Have a look for anything in the ingredients list that ends in 'cone' such as dimethicone and also ones ending in ''conol'. Conditioners are oil based not surfactant based. Used properly they will remove oil from your hair just as well as conditioner.
The other thing to look into is Indian herbs. Suspect as shikakai, Amla, brahmi. They clean more like a shampoo would but naturally, no foaming cleansers in them.

Google and you'll find a whole bunch of ideas
Google 'conditioners for co-washing'
Naturally curly also has loads of info and you defo don't need to be a curly to adopt their ideas - thin fine hair is often curly and you have that hair type.
The long hair community is also great, loads of info! If you google 'long hair community co-wash' or for the herbs, Google Indian herbs for hair or Ayurvedic herbs for hair. There are so many different sorts.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 25-Sep-17 16:31:05

Not surprised at Child's Farm OP, we only use this when we're stuck as constant use produces the same drying reddening effect as ordinary products, it just takes longer. The Moo Goo shampoo is quite rich so I'd skip conditioner on all but the very ends of your hair. Hope one of them works for you!

Apileofballyhoo Mon 25-Sep-17 16:33:00

Just wondering if you've ever tried anything from the Aveda range? Might also be worth looking into. There's one called Shampure my mother used to get. Expensive but lasts for ages.

PlainPiglet Mon 25-Sep-17 16:39:44

Sounds similar to my experience. Even something I could tolerate initially would then make me itchy and sore (Green People, Lavera, Faith in Nature etc). Am on second vat of MooGoo - lasts ages - and no issues after 15 months.

moppingcrocs Mon 25-Sep-17 16:40:11

a number of shampoos (even organic/natural types) use the preservative Methylisothiazolinone which can cause itchy irritation. Try to find one without and see if it helps?

PineappleScrunchie Mon 25-Sep-17 16:47:50

Have you ever had patch-testing? It should help you figure out what you are reacting to.

In my case it's fragrance. And not just synthetic ones, often essential oils are worse.

I've found most fragrance free shampoos and conditioners are a bit rubbish (I'm not allergic to SLS and would actually like to utilise its cleaning power). The thing that's made the biggest difference is getting a really powerful shower so everything is rinsed off better and more quickly.

Patchouli666 Mon 25-Sep-17 18:05:56

Ah yes, methylisothiazolinone....forgot that one! It's a preservative that lots of companies now use when they claim to be parabens free. However it is a strong irritant.
Shea Moisture products do not contain it or its alternatives, nor do they contain sulphates, parabens etc. I've used them for many years and no probs at all. ( wasn't as sensitive as you but got very itchy with sls)

Esssa Tue 26-Sep-17 17:36:19

@aniawl I haven't used any shampoo at all since 15th March this year and my hair isn't greasy at all. In fact I can go longer between washes than I did when I shampoo'd. I follow the curly girl method which involves scrutinising the ingredients list on every product that touches your hair but my curls and hair have never been better. The conditioner washing part can be applied to straight hair, you just wouldn't need the styling product part of the method. It means no silicones, waxes or drying alcohols in products.

Esssa Tue 26-Sep-17 17:41:17

Itchy M's as they often are called on the curly girls conditioner washing Facebook group are absent from the superdrug extracts conditioners if you are wanting to try something without them.

aniawl Tue 26-Sep-17 22:43:05

I'm sorry for being slow to respond but I am currently living in a house of Gastro confused and have been spending large portions of my days cleaning up vomit.
I'm fascinated to read about the Curly Girl - looks like I should research it some more. I've also checked and the 'itchy Ms' were in all my supposedly gentle shampoos so that explains why they might still be getting me that reaction! I really should do a psych test - is it a GP referral thing or do you go private?

aniawl Tue 26-Sep-17 23:00:26

Psych test? Yeah, maybe that too but I meant PRICK test smile

PineappleScrunchie Wed 27-Sep-17 07:30:31


I had my patch testing through a private dermatology consultant abroad. Unless your eczema/dermatitis is severe it might be tricky to get an NHS referral.

In general,

Patch testing is for chemicals in products (particularly those that are left on the skin) and prick testing for common allergens (grass, dust mites, etc).

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