Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunscreen, Revisited

Summertime is almost upon us! Hot temperatures and fun in the sun! That also means more sunscreen, and for a person allergic to Balsam of Peru, that can also sometimes mean a choice between protecting your skin against the sun using products that contain Balsam of Peru or frying. Not good choices!

I talked about sunscreen, last year, and I've come across some products along the way. So, let's revisit the issue of sunscreen. Everybody needs it, every day and especially in the summertime sun.

Here are some sunscreen products that I've found to be BOP-free:

Now, let me state, the above three products are PRICEY! I have not used the first two, personally, but their ingredient lists do seem to be okay to use with a BOP allergy. However, I do want to note that I've used Image Skincare Daily Defense Matte Moisturizer SPF30 personally, with great success and no flare-ups. My only complaint with the Image Skincare Daily Defense Matte Moisturizer SPF30 is that you need to really rub it in and let it soak into the skin before going into the water. Otherwise, it'll come right off as soon as you get into the water.

Quite by accident, I came across Banana Boat Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion Kids SPF 50+. Guess what? It's doesn't contain BOP AND it's economical at $11/4 oz.! I happened to buy some of this on sale, for my daughter to use. While slathering it onto her skin, I looked at the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn't seem to contain BOP/benzoates/fragrance. YAYAY! I also like that it's naturally-derived and sourced. My only complaint about Banana Boat Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion Kids SPF 50+ is that it can appear chalky on darker skins. Otherwise, Banana Boat Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion Kids SPF 50+ is a win for those suffering from an allergy to Balsam of Peru and/or benzoates!

Toothpaste- Reader Suggestion

Reader Kate wrote to me recently regarding BOP-free toothpaste. She, herself is allergic to Balsam of Peru and she pointed me in the direction of VMV Hypoallergenics ESSENCE SKIN-SAVING TOOTHPASTE. While I haven't personally tested it out, the list of ingredients do seem to be BOP-free. YAY! The same company also seems to have lots of other BOP-free friendly toiletries and make-up.

Have you tried the VMV Hypoallergenics? If so, what do you think? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Light Therapy Update

No, readers, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.... Somehow, time just slips away a little faster around the holidays- wouldn't you agree?

Well, I decided that I'd give you an update on how Light Therapy is going. I started back at the end of Sept. and had to stop for a little while when I didn't have consistent childcare for my two-year old (Children under ten are not allowed in the same room as the lights). Then, I restarted in early December.

I'm up to ten minutes at a time for both hands. The doctor says that this is the "maintenance" level. I go three times a week for ten minutes at a time.

So, what are the results? Well, sadly, there really isn't much to report.... I keep waiting for results but my hands still continue to be cracked, dry and sore. There is little relief in the light therapy. I'm still waiting for results and I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a little disappointed in the lack of results.

The doctor recommends doing this for four more weeks to see if we see any improvements. We shall see....

From a logistics standpoint, it's a pain in the neck to go three times a week to the doctor's office for ten minutes of light therapy. Not only does it involve driving and gas, but there is also the issue of childcare for my daughter. Top that off with a lack of results and well, I'm just frustrated.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Light Therapy, Part Deux

Now that Lil' Miss is in Preschool three times a week, I can finally try out Light Therapy as course of treatment/management for my severe hand eczema. Basically, Light Therapy harnesses the powers of UV light to help heal the affected areas of the skin. I have to go to the doctor's office three times a week, with a day in between, for this to be most effective. Talk about inconvenient! An hour before I get the treatment done, I have to apply a special compound to my hands to aid in the absorption of the light.

Here goes nothing!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moist Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. However, it's time consuming and heats up your kitchen with it's hour-long baking time. It's calorie-laden. Often, when you order it at a restaurant, it's smothered in ketchup (yuck!) or tomato sauce (BOP no-no!). And, for our family, it usually has eggs in it and our little one can't eat eggs. So, because of all of those reasons (and then some!), it's been a really, really, really long time since I've had meatloaf.

Today was a new day! Today, I made meatloaf (sans eggs!) and it was delicious! It was moist! We all had seconds! Never mind that the kitchen thermometer read 80 degrees while it was cooking (and the AC was cranking)! I'm definitely making this one again!

1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
Olive Oil to coat the bottom of the pan
1lb. ground turkey
2 Tbl. ground flax seed soaked in 6 Tbl. water for 5 minutes
4 oz. dried bread crumbs (I used Progresso Italian Style Panko- BOP friendly!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute olive oil, onions and peppers until clear and tender. Add to ground turkey, flax seed mixture and bread crumbs. Be sure to use a big mixing bowl and don't be afraid to get in there with your hands. Shape into a loaf and cook for 45 mins. to 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and some veggies for a truly comforting meal!

Monday, August 6, 2012

(Egg, Nuts, Soy, Dairy, Gluten and BOP Free) Blueberry Peach Cobbler

This past weekend, we went to a good-bye party for some friends of ours. They are leaving to plant a church in another part of the state and we are going to miss them! Their little girl is the same age as Lil' Miss and she is allergic to dairy and gluten. Put that together with my daughter's allergies to eggs, nuts and soy and my own allergies to Balsam of Peru and well, you become very limited.

Here's something I came up with using what was on hand. Best of all, it tasted DELICIOUS and you would never know that it was allergen friendly! People were going back for seconds of this delish dish!

1 quart blueberries
1 jar peaches (reserve juice)
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 cups reserved peach juice + water
oil to grease the bottom of the pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 13"x9" baking pan. Mix all ingredients except for the fruit. Gently fold in fruit. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Yum!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Summer temperatures are upon us and with an upcoming vacation to the Carribbean, my thoughts have been focused on packing, the beach and sun protection. Specifically, sunscreen. Besides fragrance being a big no-no to those of us with sensitive skin (and almost every single one smells fruity, coconut-y, tropical, etc., etc.), sunscreen without the use of BOP and/or benzoates is near-impossible to find!

Did you know Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 70 contains 6% Oxybenzone? Did you know that Vanicream Sunscreen contains Alkyl Benzoate? Beware of the term "AVO" in the indredient list- it translates to avobenzone, another type of benzoate.

After doing a little research on the internet, I did come up with the following information:

-Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide are natural sunblocks. Not only would this be worth looking into if you are allergic to BOP/benzoates, but it might be a good alternative if you are afraid of those scary reports floating around about mass-produced, chemically-charged sunscreen products mimicking estrogen in young girls and causing cancer in others. Just saying...

-While I have not personally tried these products, I did find that Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive, SPF 30 and Fallene Face Cotz Water-Resistant Sun Protection claim to be free of fragrance, hypo-allergenic and appear to be free of benzoates.

Other than that, may I suggest, a wide-brimmed hat, shade, sunglasses and limited sun exposure for your next outdoor adventure, this summer....?!