It’s been months since I’ve gone into a spa for a spot of pampering so I treated myself to a facial last weekend at Bliss Spa here in NYC.
I'm always wary when starting with a new person, i.e. anyone using unfamiliar product on my head/hair, toes, hands, face-anywhere basically. I tend to do a lot of homework before I go to a spa treatment and ask lots of questions once I get there. I thoroughly inspect the bottle, the cream, the mask, the oil, the anything that’s going to come into contact with this Allergic Girl. [By the by, did you know there's a Safe Cosmetics Act in Califormia!]
I’ve caught a few mistakes before they’ve happened - sweet almond oil is in everything! And beware: macadamia nut oil was the new darling of industry a few years back. It’s a MAIN ingredient in Sabon body scrubs.
[And in many lip balms. Several prior BFs have slathered on lip balm pre-smooch believing it was nut-free. When I've requested they re-read the label to be sure, 9 times out of 10, it contained either almond oil, shea nut butter or the dreaded macadamia nut oil. I've literally had to ask BFs to wash their mouths out with soap. Sigh.]
Some reactions are a complete surprise: e.g. nothing looked ominous on the label until my scalp started to burn. Of course, any allergic reaction is especially frustrating when you're treating yourself to something nice. It’s seriously no fun to go into a facial and come out with hives. Or kiss your loved one and have a sneezing fit because of their favorite scent.
However, my Bliss facial was relaxing and allergen-free because of Cornelia. She's from Romania and before she came to America, she believed allergies and migraines were made up. Really. That was until she had her son, who at 9 months developed severe allergies to everything. So, she truly understood when I requested no nut or fish oil products, nothing heavily scented, and asked to see the bottles of product she’d be using.
Then she told me a brief story about her husband trying on a cologne he had received for his birthday, kissing his son, and his son’s face swelling up like a balloon. Yes, facial edema from his father’s cologne! Poor little guy.
So what do you do when the allergic person in question is not you but a recipient of your loving touch?
What if it’s your child that has the allergy and any time you hug them whilst wearing you’re favorite perfume they break out in hives?
What to do if you want to wear a little makeup and still kiss/hug/touch your highly allergic child, friend, partner, spouse?
This question came from a reader and I thought perhaps you all would have some thoughts for her:
“My son's the one with the peanut/nut/sesame allergy -- he's three … for three years I've avoided most bath and body products other than California Baby, and all cosmetics, because I'm terrified of causing a reaction in my son."
"Still, as I try to emerge from the cave of stay-at-home motherhood, in an effort to take on some part-time work, I find myself wanting to look halfway awake and presentable, and I'm wondering if you rely on any particular brand of, say, lipstick.”
Thoughts/suggestions? We’d love to hear them!