Itchy scalp = glycol allergy?

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Hi all!

Lately I've been trying to cut down my curly budget by switching to drugstore products. I've been using Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition this week and my scalp itches badly! Also, when I first went CG I tried the Suave Naturals Aloe and Waterlily and stopped using it, because it also made my scalp itch. Now I'm wondering what could it be?

Speaking with my mother earlier, she mentioned that she discovered she was sensitive/allergic to Polypropylene Glycol (PPG), which was in her Minoxidil (generic Rogaine) and had to find an alternative without it. Since she's been using the other more-expensive PPG-free version, her scalp is much better.

I just found this site on Glycol Allergy that includes a list of related irritants: http://www.glycolallergy.com/

(It looks like a lot of water-soluble 'cones could be an issue for me too. This reminds me of a gel by Tressemme I used about a year ago that also gave me scalp itch... Very interesting.)

I'll do some more reading and report back here. Let me know if you have experience dealing with this! Thanks!


Suave Naturals Aloe and Waterlily

Purified Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Barbadensis) Gel [Aloe Vera], Tocopheryl Acetate [Vitamin E Acetate], Honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium) Extract, Propylene Glycol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Distearyldimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Ext. D&C Violet No. 2 (CI 60730), D&C Yellow No. 10 (CI 47005), D&C Green No. 5 (CI 61570).


Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition
Aqua/Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Elaeis Guineensis Oil/Palm Oil, Behentrimonium Chloride, Pyrus Malus Extract/Apple Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Parfum/Fragrance, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine(?), Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCl, Buryrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Citric Acid, Olea Europaea Oil/Olive Fruit Oil, Saccharum Officinarum Extract/Sugar Cane Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Persea Gratissima Oil/Avocado Oil, Ribes Nigrum Oil/Black Current Seed Oil, Linalool, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract/Lemon Peel Extract, CI 19140/Yellow 5, Camellia Sinensis Extract/Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, CI 15985/Yellow 6.

(Or maybe it's the citrus extracts in the GFTN? Hmph...)
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength


Last edited by poemaXX; 06-06-2012 at 08:11 AM.
I don't really have an allergy, but I do have really picky hair lol.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that you and your hair are very beautiful.
I have some sensitivities like that. Not all my sensitivities are natural, and not all are chemical either. Not all varieties of the following cause me to itch either. It varies. It's taken me YEARS to figure out what causes me problems. Trial and error have been my friend.

I'm sensitive to most artificial fragrances, lavendar, seaweed/algae, cones, sulfates, preservatives, and a host of other ingredients too. I think it depends for me on the quality of the ingredients. What I mean by this is that I can buy drugstore brands with the same ingredients as salon brands or online brands like my hg Curl Junkie that bother me, but in the better quality brands they don't. For instance, my head itches with most cones.....but the PEG modified one that Marsha uses in Curl junkie doesn't bother me. Nor do her fragrances (Garnier is a HORRID one for my itchy scalp. WAY too strong) either. When I do use full strength cones if I grab some brands they bother me, but when I use Kenra they don't. Same ingredient, better quality. Looking at the list of related chemicals to propylene glycol, I think I can add a mild sensitivity to those too, but again it depends on a lot (that probably explains why Paul Mitchell products bother me if I use them too often....they use a TON of the propylene glycol similar ingredients in their products).

I am an ingredient maven....I read all the ingredients of any product I try before I buy it. If I buy online and they don't list the full ingredient list I DON'T buy. I also buy from sites or stores that will take returns....I have had way too many times where I tried something I didn't think would bother me that did. I wish I could help you narrow it down, and I TOTALLY relate, but unfortunately for each individual it just boils down to trial and error. Some need longer times of trial and error than others. Like I said, it's taken me a long time to find out what bothers me.

My scalp and hair are different and their needs differ. I wanted to love CO washing but my scalp hated it while my hair was ok with it. So I went modified and looked for non sulfate shampoos, but some of them are as harsh or harsher on my hair and scalp than pure sulfates! I still occasionally need a sulfate shampoo so my hair doesn't get weighed down, but I've found a host of things I can use, and as long as it's only very occasional my scalp doesn't rebel.

In the long run what works for each individual varies, though. Wish I could help more.

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
I don't really have an allergy, but I do have really picky hair lol.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that you and your hair are very beautiful.
Originally Posted by SummerRuby
Aw, thanks!

And thanks to you too, rymorg! That was very insightful.
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength


Last edited by poemaXX; 05-15-2010 at 08:51 AM.
Interesting that you bring this up.I have roseaca and lots of skin allergies--can't use most sun screens, for example. For the most part, I don't use salon or drugstore products. Did a quick ingredient search and two of the products that make my scalp burn (CK and Bioterra Curl Creme) both have Propylene Glycol. Couldn't quickly find ingredients for two of the others--Bioterra Gel and Shea M LI. When I looked at other brands that I use without problem (in CurlMart), no Propylene Glycol. I'll have to look at some of my other products when I go upstairs.
poemaXX likes this.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
Interesting that you bring this up.I have roseaca and lots of skin allergies--can't use most sun screens, for example. For the most part, I don't use salon or drugstore products. Did a quick ingredient search and two of the products that make my scalp burn (CK and Bioterra Curl Creme) both have Propylene Glycol. Couldn't quickly find ingredients for two of the others--Bioterra Gel and Shea M LI. When I looked at other brands that I use without problem (in CurlMart), no Propylene Glycol. I'll have to look at some of my other products when I go upstairs.
Originally Posted by kathymack

Shea M totally made me burn too, but I assumed it was the lavendar in it...or rather lavendin, which makes me burn like crazy. Might be wrong though...

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
I don't really have an allergy, but I do have really picky hair lol.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that you and your hair are very beautiful.
Originally Posted by SummerRuby
Aw, thanks!

And thanks to you too, rymorg! That was very insightful.
Originally Posted by poemaXX

You're quite welcome.

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
I have super sensitive skin, lots of allergies (I take so much medication to control allergies and asthma it's not funny, plus I tend towards skin rashes and itching if I use harsh or strongly perfumed stuff).

Garnier's leave-in made me so itchy it was not funny. It also bothered my face.

I started getting some itchies from CIAB.

I'm sensitive to oranges, so I worry when I see citrus oils in stuff. Not all items with citrus oils bothers me, and I suppose it has to do with the accumulations of scent ingredients or irritants.

I wish more products offered unscented options, cause that would simplify things.

I also can't use any sunscreen. I've tried a gazillion and they all give me a rash. So, I gave up on them. I resort to parasols when needed
poemaXX likes this.
3a3b dry, dyed --newly "banged"
Natural since 11/25/09 (Miami)

Shine & Spring w/ Sweet Curls Elixirs!
Curl Junkie Conditions!
Re:coil ROCKS!

~CJ Protein Tx
; BEE-U-Ti-Ful Deep Condish
~S&C; SMasters Method; Pixie-curling
Dumping clumps for VOLUME!
http://public.fotki.com/MirCurls/


Marchioness Mir, Magister of Moisturization & Mystic of the Lofty Crown in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
My scalp and hair are different and their needs differ. I wanted to love CO washing but my scalp hated it while my hair was ok with it. So I went modified and looked for non sulfate shampoos, but some of them are as harsh or harsher on my hair and scalp than pure sulfates! I still occasionally need a sulfate shampoo so my hair doesn't get weighed down, but I've found a host of things I can use, and as long as it's only very occasional my scalp doesn't rebel.

In the long run what works for each individual varies, though. Wish I could help more.
Originally Posted by rymorg2

I began in November of 2009 with lowpooing and occasional milder sufate pooing. Then I began Cowashing with CJ DAily Fix this year, alternating with lowpooing (rarely clarifying, though, now). Now, I do MOSTLY nopooing, some lowpooing, and very rarely clarifying.

I doubt I'll be totally nopoo. I don't foresee giving up the perkiness of occasional lowpooing and infrequent clarification pooing. However, I notice an improvement in moisturization and frizz when I do a string of Nopooing with Daily Fix. I do require less leave-in and less product. Hair feels better.
3a3b dry, dyed --newly "banged"
Natural since 11/25/09 (Miami)

Shine & Spring w/ Sweet Curls Elixirs!
Curl Junkie Conditions!
Re:coil ROCKS!

~CJ Protein Tx
; BEE-U-Ti-Ful Deep Condish
~S&C; SMasters Method; Pixie-curling
Dumping clumps for VOLUME!
http://public.fotki.com/MirCurls/


Marchioness Mir, Magister of Moisturization & Mystic of the Lofty Crown in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Interesting that you bring this up.I have roseaca and lots of skin allergies--can't use most sun screens, for example. For the most part, I don't use salon or drugstore products. Did a quick ingredient search and two of the products that make my scalp burn (CK and Bioterra Curl Creme) both have Propylene Glycol. Couldn't quickly find ingredients for two of the others--Bioterra Gel and Shea M LI. When I looked at other brands that I use without problem (in CurlMart), no Propylene Glycol. I'll have to look at some of my other products when I go upstairs.
Originally Posted by kathymack
People who've commented on the sidebar on some of the secondary pages of this website (http://www.glycolallergy.com/) have mentioned that they have rosacea, nickel allergies, etc. Thankfully in my case it doesn't seem to be as complex or as severe, but it might be worth looking into some of their comments.
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength

I have super sensitive skin, lots of allergies (I take so much medication to control allergies and asthma it's not funny, plus I tend towards skin rashes and itching if I use harsh or strongly perfumed stuff).

Garnier's leave-in made me so itchy it was not funny. It also bothered my face.

I started getting some itchies from CIAB.

I'm sensitive to oranges, so I worry when I see citrus oils in stuff. Not all items with citrus oils bothers me, and I suppose it has to do with the accumulations of scent ingredients or irritants.

I wish more products offered unscented options, cause that would simplify things.

I also can't use any sunscreen. I've tried a gazillion and they all give me a rash. So, I gave up on them. I resort to parasols when needed
Originally Posted by MirCurls
Ah-HA! I think the Garnier conditioner (which I used as a leave in) made my face flare up too! If this is an allergic reaction my immune system must not be very happy right now. Well, at least I seem to have found the root of the problem though. Thanks, Mir!
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength

rymorg, thanks for the link. I'll have to check. I don't have issues with lavender, so think the Propylene Glycol could be the culprit. I need to look at other products.

MirCurls, have you tried Mexoryl?? My dermatologist recommended it even before it was approve in US a few years ago. I buy one by La Roche-Posay. Mostly have to get it online. I use it very judiciously. Only when I know I might be out for a while, don't want to build up a sensitivity to this, too.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
This is very interesting, indeed. I have Rosacea and my skin is super sensitive to lots of sunscreens. Unfortunately, I also have had Melanoma, so I can't go without. I have spent a small fortune on sunscreens over the years. Mexoryl is great (I also use the La Roche-Posay brand). I think I'm okay with Propylene Glycol. Gotta go check my products now.
Hair type: 3a/2c, fine/medium texture, medium porosity(?), normal elasticity, medium density

Cleansers: CJ Daily Fix
Conditioners: KCKT, CJ Curl Rehab
Stylers: AOMM, AG Re:Coil, Donna Marie MCG, KCCC,
FSG, BRHG, Biotera Styling Gel, ACV & honey
California Baby-No Fragrance SPF 30 is a great sunscreen (I'm acne prone), no chemical blockers, just micronized titanium

If you don't get pimples, Badger Balm has an unscented sunblock with micronized zinc.
Huh.

So I looked at all the ingredients in my CJ products, which are my hg line. The two products that cause me the most itch, CIAB and the Smoothing Gellie have Propelyne glycol in them. The H&BDT has it, but it doesn't make me itch (I think....I haven't used it in a week or so). My LALCG has it WAY up on the list, and I've been having some minor itching recently that is easy to ignore so I'm not concerned, but who knows. But....HOLY CRAP....EVERY product I checked that makes me itch like the dickens has it up high in the list of ingredients!!!! Or has multiple glycol sensitive ingredients in them!

So this totally makes me think, have I been simply allergic to glycol all this time???? At least I can still use my cj if I am, it doesn't bother me....but WOW.....
poemaXX likes this.

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
So this totally makes me think, have I been simply allergic to glycol all this time???? At least I can still use my cj if I am, it doesn't bother me....but WOW.....
Originally Posted by rymorg2
I know! I'd been using organic products for the past couple of months while at college and now since I'm home in Puerto Rico I didn't want to bother with shipping and handling, etc. Surprise surprise! I used Garnier Triple Nutrition and LA Looks Wet Look gel and the itch was super noticeable! It made me think back to the itch I had through most of middle school and high school, even this year when I used a Tresemme gel (Checked it out and yep -- propylene glycol, among others) in my hair before going CG.

I placed an order for Aubrey Organics last night: Moisture, Protein, B5 Gel and the Mandarin Magic. (I'm dying to try the MM!) I'm definitely not putting myself through Itch City again!
|| 3b; normal porosity; fine/normal texture || CG since Feb 2010 || SD/dandruff prone

Current Routine BAQ henna 1/month Leave-in OH Hair Dew Cheapie Conditioner Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing
Old Stand-bys extra-virgin coconut oil Protein AO GPB; Moisture AO HR Style AOMMJ Kept for troubleshooting.
Waiting to try extra-wide curlformers SD treatment H&S Clinical Strength

My eyes are crossing from reading so many ingredients. LOL....

OK I was wrong, the H&BDT doesn't have it. HOWEVER, my CCCCL DOES. I used it today thinking it didn't have it, and used it by itself without gel, and I got HOLD BY ITSELF.....and a weensie bit of itching. I will have to see how my hair does all day today, if it holds well and the itching doesn't get worse I can probably still use it. The CCCC regular doesn't have it though, so maybe I could super soak with it, but then it probably wouldn't have the same hold. AH.....

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
So this totally makes me think, have I been simply allergic to glycol all this time???? At least I can still use my cj if I am, it doesn't bother me....but WOW.....
Originally Posted by rymorg2
I know! I'd been using organic products for the past couple of months while at college and now since I'm home in Puerto Rico I didn't want to bother with shipping and handling, etc. Surprise surprise! I used Garnier Triple Nutrition and LA Looks Wet Look gel and the itch was super noticeable! It made me think back to the itch I had through most of middle school and high school, even this year when I used a Tresemme gel (Checked it out and yep -- propylene glycol, among others) in my hair before going CG.

I placed an order for Aubrey Organics last night: Moisture, Protein, B5 Gel and the Mandarin Magic. (I'm dying to try the MM!) I'm definitely not putting myself through Itch City again!
Originally Posted by poemaXX

I'm not kidding, I've been going through everything I use that could have PG in it....it totally explains a lot. I have had HUGE headaches from the dh's pipe tobacco that he recently started using again (it's in there to keep the tobacco hydrated!) and it even explains those. I was using Clinique skincare for my sensitive skin and reacted to it, it's in there....but I don't react to MAC skincare and it's NOT in MAC.

I've tried the B5 and it was ok. Haven't tried the MM I may have to get some. The only thing with hold I have onhand right now that doesn't have it in it is my KCCC and it takes FOREVER to dry. LOL....I'm sure I'll be experimenting over the next few weeks.

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
Just wanted to share an update......

I emailed Marsha from Curl Junkie today about my concerns about a possible reaction to Propylene glycol. From speaking with her, I've determined it was probably what I originally thought it was, the cheap gel or the fragrances. She said that the PG is only in her products in very minute amounts and that she would suspect the fragrances first.

So I'm sticking with my HG line. The itching isn't bad enough for it to make me stop using it.

Honestly, imo it's the quality of the ingredients used that make a difference.

Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Ingredients Maven
Products: Free and Clear sulfate free poo and condish, Theraneem Sulfate Free Shampoo/Condish, Unscented SSCEJ, Coconut oil, Camellia oil, Argan oil
Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
I am finding this thread rather fascinating. I am also allergic to lavender, and can't even tolerate picking up a bottle with lavender in it without my whole arm breaking out in a rash. I hate how they are sticking in it everything nowadays. I am allergic to some other perfumes, but they mostly make my nose itch. I can tell immediately upon sniffing something if I'm allergic to it. The people at Walgreens are used to me by now sniffing the haircare and soap aisles, and the beauty counter girl now keeps recommendations for me.

I started the CG method this morning, but when I went to get the products, I had a terrible time finding a gel that I could tolerate. I bought the SN Coconut conditioner for cowash, and finally settled on Ampro Clear Ice Gel, but I suspect I will be ordering something.

It's nice to see another lavender-allergy sufferer. I've had naturopaths and stylists tell me that a lavender allergy was 'impossible' (despite the fact that studies show that 8-13% of the population is allergic to lavender).

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