Allergic to Hexyl Cinnamal? Sort of long...

I thought I'd share my experience to get some feedback. Here goes:

At the end of 2011, several mos after the birth of my baby, I decided to get the Chi Enviro smoothing treatment. It was done at a professional salon. My hair turned out nicely and I was very happy with it. Skip to a few mos later. By then the Chi would have faded because it only lasts about 3 mos. I needed a slight root touch up at my crown to cover my gray. I decided to use Nice-Easy Root Touch up. Well, I had a terrible reaction. For about a month after I had what I now realize to be Contact Dermatitis. At the time however I didn't know what was going on. I thought I had left the dye on for too long. Eventually the problem went away and about 3 mos later I decided again to put the Chi Enviro in my hair. This time hings went terribly wrong.

My scalp was irritating me and I told my hair dresser. She said couldn't see anything in the product that would irritate me, BUT she made a point to mention that it had Hexyl Cinnimal. Looking back, I find this now to be suspicious. Anyway, she added hat she ws using a milder version of the product, the one for color treated hair (there are 3). So it wasn't the one she
used the first time.

This time my hair turned out horrible. It actually straightened my curls, which its not supposed to do. On top of that, the scalp problem returned. I went to the Dematologist and she told me it could be dermatitis. I started to be wary of products containing Hexyl Cinnamal. However, I thought I was just being paranoid, as I didn't have any conclusive evidence for what caused my reaction.

Nice-n-Easy just lists Fragrance as one of their ingredients, it doesn't specify. And I can't find the ingredients list for any of the 3 versions of the Chi Enviro, apart from my hair dresser confirming that it had Hexyl Cinnamal.

Now skip to a few days ago, I decided to invest in some new face and body products. I've been using the Body Shop Tea Tree line wi no incidents. Then I decided to use Hempz original body lotion after reading the rave reviews. Normally I'm good about looking at the ingredients, but I must have slipped this time. All I can say us about 2 Amy's ago, after slathering on the lotion, I broke out in a horrible rash. It exacerbated my eczema and looked a lot like dermatitis. At first I thought it was my tea trea body wash, but I had been using it for awhile with no problem. However it does have lemonene in it, another fragrance. It wasn't until I looked on the back of the Hempz lotion that I saw it had Hexyl Cinnamal. Now I'm wondering if this could really be the culprit, or a combination of the fragrances. They are both listed online as allergens.

Thanks for reading and sorry that its so long...
I am allergic to many preservatives and fragrances. I actively avoid limonene, geraniol, cinnamal, linalool, lavender, etc because they are sensitizing agents, which increases the likelihood of contact dermatitis. For awhile after I was diagnosed I went 100% natural and fragrance free. Over the last few years I have slowly tried out more mainstream products and have found I can get away with some things I am allergic/sensitive to in small amounts and in products that are rinsed off. I found the info on these ingredients when searching for a new facial moisturizer, they were actually described as being naturally derived but being sensitizing agents. The good news is once you have a specific ingredient you can actively avoid it, the bad news is that a lot of hair products only list 'fragrance' as the ingredient but probably if they contained any of these fragrant oils they would have to list them separately.
2A / F / MD / LP / ?E / BSL --- CG since Dec. 2012

This is what I'm happiest with right now.
Co-wash: CJ DailyFix
Lo-poo: DermOrganic low-poo
RO: SS Caitlin's co
Leave-in: SheScentIt Okra Repair condish
PT: SS Caitlin's + SS PT
Stylers: Volumax Mega Gel, Max Green Styling Gel, DermOrganics Spray Gel
Techniques: Plopping & Pixie Diffusing.
glycerin, honey, oils & butters Protein!

Last edited by Lynaea; 05-25-2013 at 03:36 PM.
Start doing patch tests for the first week or so, don't just go all gung ho with new products. Be sure to use an area for patch tests that has thin, sensitive type skin. Your hairdresser should really be insisting on patch tests given your history, and EVERYONE should be doing patch tests with home hair colourants, it says so in the instructions.

If you have a history of contact dermatitis/ atopic eczema (AKA atopic dermatitis) you have a weakened skin barrier to start with, that means almost anything has the potential to irritate, even chlorine in tap water. You can also become sensitised to anything at any time, it's not simply novel ingredients or products.

Next consider eliminating all sulphate surfactants from your life: shampoo, shower gel, hand soap, face wash, shaving products, they are even in box dyes commercial toothpaste and aqueous cream. These are proven to thin the skin barrier and dehydrate skin in healthy people at concentrations as low as 1%. This is probably the single best thing I ever did for my skin, I have been almost entirely clear of eczema/ dermatitis for two years need massively less hand cream and lip balm. My mother has had at least a 50% reduction in her eczema/ SD even tho she is not completely sulphate free (only face and hair). Also avoid anything alkaline like baking soda and traditional soaps, these destroy the skin's protective acid mantle.

Review your diet and make it as anti inflammatory and nutrient dense as possible, particularly look at your intake of oily fish, sugar and white/ refined carbs. This can strengthen the skin's barrier function, reduce systemic inflammation (dermatitis is an inflammatory condition), calm inappropriate immune responses. Some mild allergies such as hayfever (same genetic root as eczema) can become completely asymptomatic with diet modification alone.

Lastly if the above is insufficient stop messing about with products with numerous ingredients, most plant extracts do little to nothing, just risk irritation and allergies. Ingredients that can help strengthen or repair the skin barrier because they are found naturally within it and can be absorbed include urea, lactic acid, glycosaminoglycans, ceramides, saturated fatty acids (stearic and palmitic) and cholesterol.

If you like natural ingredients as sources for some of these: medical grade lanolin, egg lecithin, aloe vera inner leaf gel, live yoghurt, west African shea butter, anything with a pH ~5.5. If you have seborrhoeic dermatitis avoid plant oils rich in omega-6s (most nuts and seeds) and oleic acid (olive, avocado, sweet almond oils). For me the combination of lanolin and aloe vera work like a dream to moisturise including plumping very fine lines, but YMMV.

HTH.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect

Last edited by Firefox7275; 05-25-2013 at 07:31 PM.
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 939
I am allergic to many preservatives and fragrances. I actively avoid limonene, geraniol, cinnamal, linalool, lavender, etc because they are sensitizing agents, which increases the likelihood of contact dermatitis. For awhile after I was diagnosed I went 100% natural and fragrance free. Over the last few years I have slowly tried out more mainstream products and have found I can get away with some things I am allergic/sensitive to in small amounts and in products that are rinsed off. I found the info on these ingredients when searching for a new facial moisturizer, they were actually described as being naturally derived but being sensitizing agents. The good news is once you have a specific ingredient you can actively avoid it, the bad news is that a lot of hair products only list 'fragrance' as the ingredient but probably if they contained any of these fragrant oils they would have to list them separately.
Originally Posted by Lynaea
This has pretty much been the case for me. I would love to have completely scent free products, but it limits my options, so I go case by case. Limonene seems to be fine, but linalool, geraniol, etc are derived from plants like rosemary, mint, lavender so actively avoid them.

I am strictly fragrance free on my facial skin care and I wash with a fragrance free body wash (since you can't control where that rinses to). I save scented lotion for specific body parts that are more tolerant. Fragrance free sunscreen is a pain in the a** to find. Thank you Neutrogena for giving me something.

My poor roommate had to swap dishwashing detergent with her parents cause she bought one with real lavender and I'm allergic to everything that grows -_-.
I recently tried many of the cosmetic bases from IngredientsToDieFor.com, they are all unscented. I'm using their products for my face and some of the hand/body lotions. They have hair products too. They have regular and natural formulas and sell sample size products. My initial sample order to try stuff was pretty large/expensive but the prices are extremely reasonable for what you get.
2A / F / MD / LP / ?E / BSL --- CG since Dec. 2012

This is what I'm happiest with right now.
Co-wash: CJ DailyFix
Lo-poo: DermOrganic low-poo
RO: SS Caitlin's co
Leave-in: SheScentIt Okra Repair condish
PT: SS Caitlin's + SS PT
Stylers: Volumax Mega Gel, Max Green Styling Gel, DermOrganics Spray Gel
Techniques: Plopping & Pixie Diffusing.
glycerin, honey, oils & butters Protein!

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