Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jim Alfredson

Dyes (in food, cosmetics, etc)

32 posts in this topic

So I've been dealing with an allergic reaction to something unknown. It started around this time last year, maybe a bit before. It's affecting my scalp, which is dry and flakey. At first I thought it was just dandruff but every anti-dandruff shampoo I've tried just makes it worse... way worse.

It also affects my eyes sometimes; they will get extremely puffy and red and itchy and painful. And there are a couple of spots on my neck and forehead that get red and itchy and flakey as well.

I think I've finally tracked down the culprit to dyes, specifically red and/or yellow. I've been trying to avoid all of them for the last few days; of course once you start reading labels you realize that they are in just about everything. The pomade I use in my hair, for instance, has yellow dye in it. The shampoo we use has yellow dye in it. These "all natural" frozen fruit pops have red, yellow, and blue. Juices. Crackers. Even cheese.

Right now I'm fighting a nasty head cold and I can't even take any ibuprofen because it has red dye in it. So does the cold medicine.

My sister is allergic to red dye 40. If she has anything with that in it she gets a really painful rash under her arms that stays for weeks.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience with this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got some extra-strength Ibuprofren from my doctor that was white. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got some extra-strength Ibuprofren from my doctor that was white. Seriously.

I've seen ibuprofren in white tabs too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is going to sound like a really stupid question, but have you seen a dermatologist?

Up over and out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's something in most shampoos that gets me - I get anything from itchy scalp to dandruff. The only kind of shampoos that are any good are the really cheap and nasty ones. At the moment I'm using Tesco's Value shampoo, which costs £0.27p per litre!!!!!! And it's the best shampoo I've ever had!

Something really counter-intuitive might work, Jim.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I have not seen a dermatologist. I can't afford that right now. I did see a good friend's doctor last year (for free, because the doc was cool) and he agreed that it is an allergic reaction. It was really bad last December; my hair line was all puffed up and red, my ears were cracking... nasty.

He gave me a prescription for a heavy anti-histamine and also a shot. I have a prescription grade hydrocortisone cream that I got from my brother-in-law. I use that on my eyes and ears when it gets really bad and it helps.

My goal is to try to remove all dyes from my diet and personal care products and see if that helps.

I read last night that in the 1960s the FDA made manufacturers test their dyes for safety (up until that point, they could just use whatever). Of the 200 dyes in use at the time, only 35 passed. Kinda scary. (Damn big government!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pomade I use in my hair, for instance, has yellow dye in it.

Do you use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4r4U-y5WJs?

No, I have not seen a dermatologist. I can't afford that right now.

But seriously. I don't want to take the focus away from your specific problem, but this is what people in most Western countries see as outrageous. ANYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO SEE A DERMATOLOGIST--even a jazz musician! To me this trumps any specious arguments against the public option. Sorry for the political aside.

Edited by Tom Storer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim,

If you go to the emergency room at your local hospital, it's a pro bono situation, i.e. they have to treat you. If this is serious enough, and it sounds to me like it is, I'd consider that course of action.

Up over and out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update: I've successfully removed all dyes from my diet for the last few months. And to my astonishment, every symptom has cleared up. My scalp is back to normal, the red patches on my neck and forehead are gone, etc. I was reminded of this thread because tonight as I was talking to my wife, my eyelids started itching again. I thought back to what I had to eat tonight: Pork chops, potatoes, and some cheese. I checked the cheese and no dyes. Then I remembered I opened a jar of pickles for a snack. Sure enough, I checked the label and they have yellow dye in them. I had TWO pickles; small ones, too. Snackers. And that was enough to get my eyes going again.

So it's definitely an allergy to dye. Yellow may be the worst, but I'm just avoiding them all. It's hard in this day and age. I was at the grocery just a moment ago and I could not find a jar of pickles without yellow dye in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear you about finding stuff without dye in it. Cut out dyes, corn syrup, and hydrogenated fat and you'll never have another illness. You'll starve to death first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim,

If you go to the emergency room at your local hospital, it's a pro bono situation, i.e. they have to treat you...

Yes, there's a federal mandate stating that you cannot be refused care in an E.R., but that doesn't mean it's free. Jim would be billed in this situation, and he would have to provide financial records (tax records, bank account balances, etc.) to get his bill reduced.

Of course, the most important thing here is that Jim's health has improved. Kudos to you for doing whatever you could to remedy your situation. :tup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, the most important thing here is that Jim's health has improved. Kudos to you for doing whatever you could to remedy your situation. :tup

Good news indeed!

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter was recently diagnosed with an allergy to a dye used to make things look reddish or purple. It's called carmine, comes from a protein found in the skin of an insect, and does not have to be clearly labeled on food packaging until 2011 as such. Right now it shows up on labels as either carmine if we're lucky or "natural color", so if something is red/purple or even blue and does not come from non-animal sources (like Pop-Tarts), we avoid it. She can go into anaphylactic shock from this dye. You absolutely have to take any unknown reactions very seriously as they can be the first signs of something extremely dangerous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's scary, Greg. I'm pretty sure my allergy is to Yellow 5, which is supposedly outlawed in the UK as of this year. I read that it can cause stomach inflamation as well as a host of other things. Perhaps that explains the stomach issues I've been having the last few years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive my ignorance- but are the products actually listed as dyes or are they under some other name?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aww, so glad you are a lot better, Jim. I'm sorry to hear about all the suffering.

My late wife had lots of allergies, perhaps because she was born at 7 months. Tons of common things, like wheat, dust, pork, live rabbits, some nuts. My daughter inherited a lot of these, and added all nuts and cats to the list.

I do find that nearly all shampoos give me a terrible itch for days. Even the pH balnced ones. Never been able to solve that properly. I don't think it would be a dye, because there are so many colors of shampoo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive my ignorance- but are the products actually listed as dyes or are they under some other name?

they can be called dye #-whatever, natural color (if it's in a food), a chemical name which no one but an actual food chemist would understand. And the FDA doesn't regulate these things (at least when it's not a food item) unless a claim is made by the manufacturer that the product actually does something (i.e., is an active pharmaceutical).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad I found this thread because I wanted to update my progress.

Since isolating my allergy to food dyes, I've done a lot of research on them and also on the "hidden" ingredients in foods that have dyes. I've also found that I'm allergic to sulfites, nitrites, and nitrates.

Just tonight I was reading more about these things and found this: http://www.sweetpoison.com/food-additives-to-avoid.html

When you start researching this stuff and paying attention to food labels, it gets pretty depressing. But my wife and I have made a concerted effort to not buy pre-packaged food, to remove all lunch meats / processed meats from our home, and pay very close attention to the labels.

I mentioned earlier that my symptoms have cleared up and that's true. I still have limited break-outs now and again, mainly from hidden ingredients; it's especially hard to avoid since I'm on the road all the time. But I'm getting wiser at knowing / sensing / assuming things have dye. As a result, I've lost about 20 lbs, weight that I've certainly needed to lose. Mainly it's because I can't eat anything sweet and I used to have an outrageous sweet tooth. Even things like chocolate candy bars are off the list for me, but not necessarily because of dyes. Surprisingly, since I've cut so much sugar out of my diet, I can't eat regular candy bars (think Snickers, Hershey's, etc.) simply because now they taste way too sweet to me. Too much "sugar" (actually high fructose corn syrup usually). Nasty!!!

The other surprising thing is that some issues have cleared up that I did not think were related. Namely and without going into to too much detail, my digestive system is much more regular than it's been in the last 10 years. Seriously. I thought I was lactose intolerant, but now I can eat ice cream (Breyer's only... no dyes, no artificial ingredients) or have a bowl of cereal without any digestive issues at all. If I tried that before, my stomach would be doing back-flips all night and the ... ahem ... end result was not pretty.

The other issue that has cleared up is my jaw, which was clicking loudly and sometimes painfully when I ate. And I swear my other joints feel better, too. This is probably due to the fact that I'm eating better overall, but I honestly think my body was trying to tell me "Enough of this shit!!!" I mean, I've always ate vegetables and fruits but I think I was putting so much other crap in my body that it didn't matter.

So... I'd like to urge y'all, if you're having some unexplained issues, try removing some of the nasty by-products that are in processed and pre-packaged foods from your diet. Even if you're not having issues, I guarantee you'll feel better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...it's especially hard to avoid since I'm on the road all the time.

My first thought was, how in the hell do you survive on the road? I'm assuming the band eats out for a number of their/your meals. Amazing if you've managed to figure out what you can and can't eat at restaurants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't notice this thread the first time around - I still have some problems with dry flakey skin and itching on my scalp, but never related it to food dye, as I buy mostly organically grown food - but I still could reduce some of the sweets ;). I will try this.

I managed to cure my scalp problems by avoiding soap and shampoos and substituted them with rhassoul - there are other distributors, I suppose, just linked the first one I found. It's a brand of clay traditionally used for skin and hair care in Morocco - your skin will feel like silk afterwards. But you have to prepare it immediately before use - it loses it's capacity for absorption pretty fast after contact with water. Ready for use brands in tubes have to add essential oils for conservation, which might irritate the skin.

Might look unusual at first, but it works just fine for body care.

Edited by mikeweil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad I found this thread because I wanted to update my progress.

Since isolating my allergy to food dyes, I've done a lot of research on them and also on the "hidden" ingredients in foods that have dyes. I've also found that I'm allergic to sulfites, nitrites, and nitrates.

Just tonight I was reading more about these things and found this: http://www.sweetpoison.com/food-additives-to-avoid.html

When you start researching this stuff and paying attention to food labels, it gets pretty depressing. But my wife and I have made a concerted effort to not buy pre-packaged food, to remove all lunch meats / processed meats from our home, and pay very close attention to the labels.

I mentioned earlier that my symptoms have cleared up and that's true. I still have limited break-outs now and again, mainly from hidden ingredients; it's especially hard to avoid since I'm on the road all the time. But I'm getting wiser at knowing / sensing / assuming things have dye. As a result, I've lost about 20 lbs, weight that I've certainly needed to lose. Mainly it's because I can't eat anything sweet and I used to have an outrageous sweet tooth. Even things like chocolate candy bars are off the list for me, but not necessarily because of dyes. Surprisingly, since I've cut so much sugar out of my diet, I can't eat regular candy bars (think Snickers, Hershey's, etc.) simply because now they taste way too sweet to me. Too much "sugar" (actually high fructose corn syrup usually). Nasty!!!

The other surprising thing is that some issues have cleared up that I did not think were related. Namely and without going into to too much detail, my digestive system is much more regular than it's been in the last 10 years. Seriously. I thought I was lactose intolerant, but now I can eat ice cream (Breyer's only... no dyes, no artificial ingredients) or have a bowl of cereal without any digestive issues at all. If I tried that before, my stomach would be doing back-flips all night and the ... ahem ... end result was not pretty.

The other issue that has cleared up is my jaw, which was clicking loudly and sometimes painfully when I ate. And I swear my other joints feel better, too. This is probably due to the fact that I'm eating better overall, but I honestly think my body was trying to tell me "Enough of this shit!!!" I mean, I've always ate vegetables and fruits but I think I was putting so much other crap in my body that it didn't matter.

So... I'd like to urge y'all, if you're having some unexplained issues, try removing some of the nasty by-products that are in processed and pre-packaged foods from your diet. Even if you're not having issues, I guarantee you'll feel better.

You probably reduced some inflammation that had been running rampant in your body for years. Reduced inflammation=less joint problems, less digestive problems, etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But why such cosmetic adulterants are permitted in our food in the first place is a question I can't answer.

It's simple. People respond to colors. So much of the processed food would be grey or some shade of tan or brown without it. The most hysterical part is pet food treats. Do you think your cat or dog gives a damn out the color of its food? But the human owners expect certain colors to represent rare beef and so on. It's nuts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Homer Simpson once said, "Purple is a fruit."

People care more about what their food looks like than what's actually in it.

The real problem for me now is regular, over the counter medicines. Try finding something for diarrhea (yuck, I know... but it happens on the road...) that doesn't have dye in it. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.