Wednesday, June 08, 2011

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Sulfite Sensitivity

Sulfate Free ProductsI've discovered within the last few weeks that red and even more so white wines may be one of the causes of my dermatitis. I had come to the conclusion that red wine might be causing me some trouble so decided to switch to a white wine which we normally don't drink much of to see if that was any better. Boy was that a mistake. The next morning full blown dermatitis back on my face and it was worse than ever. The right side of my face looked like a dry lake bed. I read there are more sulfites in white than red wine so that is the conclusion I have come to. I decided to take a break from our Friday night tradition of sharing a bottle of wine last weekend to see if the dermatitis would stay away. I made it through the weekend and things were looking promising until Monday morning a small dry patch appeared on my right cheek. *sigh* I had my hopes up that wine was the only thing causing this but it turns out not to be the case. By Tuesday my whole right side of my face was scaly, itchy and red. I've been putting on Protopic and after a couple days it's still slightly itchy but starting to get better. It should be completely gone by Friday. Time will tell if it comes back over the weekend. I'm trying to be really careful with what I eat.

It could be any number of things. Some possibilities is from the vinegar I used to marinate the chicken or that I put on the eggplant or my salad. I don't think vinegar has as much sulfites as wine but maybe it has enough to bother me. Another possibility is my SPF30 facial lotion which contains Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate which I did use on one occasion over the weekend or my face cleanser that contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate that I use on a daily basis or even my fragrance free shampoo/conditioner which contain Sodium Myreth Sulfate, or could it be my Colgate toothpaste that contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The list goes on. There are sulfates and sulfites in almost everything. I bagged up every product I could find that I had with sulfates or sulfites in them and went to PCC and got all new stuff.

Once the dermatitis appears it usually takes about 5 days of using Protopic twice a day for it to disappear and I usually end up with huge zits as a result of using it. The dermatitis usually starts out as a small spot of dryness on my right cheek and within a day it spreads to my whole right side of my face and for the last few months it has become very itchy which it didn't used to before. It seems to be progressively getting worse each time I get it. My eyes also get dry and my eyelid also gets dry and scaly. I sometimes also get these little bubbles on the edge of my eyelid near my eyelashes. I used to get them for a long time but it was not often. It is much more often now. I get them on both of my eyes. Occasionally some dryness will appear on my left cheek but it typically is centralized to the right side which is the area I had contact with epoxy and is when this all started. I no longer have contact to epoxy so that contact must have triggered some other allergies or made my skin weak and sensitive to everything.

I don't know what to think about all the food allergies I was diagnosed with. I've been on an elimination diet for the past two weeks and haven't really seen any improvement in my health from it. I will be much happier when I can eat corn, soy, egg, dairy, rice, yeast, tomatoes and potatoes again in a few weeks. I need to really watch what I eat that has sulfites in it though and see if there is any improvement. That is going to be a hard one too because sulfites are in all kinds of foods. I found this extensive list of foods that are associated with sulfites. That site also has a recipe database which looks to be pretty neat. You can mark off what food allergies you have and it will show you recipes that don't contain those foods or will have some kind of mark next to it indicating it contains something you noted as being allergic to.

I have read that Vitamin B12 or Vitamin B Complex is helpful for some with sulfite sensitivities. One site I ran into suggested getting blood tested for serum copper because if it is high it could cause molybdenum levels to go down which may be responsible for sulfite sensitivity. I talked to my allergist about what I found online and they've sent me a request to get my blood tested for that. I needed to get blood drawn anyway to test my Vitamin D levels so will do them both. I still need to make an appointment for that. She said they could do Vitamin B injections which I guess are more efficient than the sublingual or pill form. I am not sure I want to stick myself with a needle every week so I'm going with the sublingual form which is still good but she wants me to get it in prescription form from a pharmacy so should be getting that soon. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that it will help.

Hopefully one day I will kick this thing in the butt and get some relief.


  1. Hi I have just read your blog entry and I suffer with exactly the same symptoms as you!! I could have written it!
    I'm fed up! I haven't seen an allergist my docs won't refer me they keep giving me steroid ointment which I hate using even though when I do I get some relief! I have scars on my arms from using as a child so don't want that on my face! Do your eyelids ever swell? I wake up some morning with really swollen eyelids the last time I had drunk a glass of White wine not long before bed my eyes were swollen itchy red raw the following morning which makes me think it's a sulfite allergy! But I've got them tonight and had no wine and eaten so much today can't pinpoint what it could be!!
    Oh well guess I'll have to keep trying to find a cure :-) Look forward to your next blog entry.

  2. yeah steroid creams are bad news. If you have taken a lot of antibiotics or birth control pills in the past it's very likely you are suffering from candida which most doctors don't acknowledge. I was lucky that my environmental illness doctor was able to diagnose that. My eyes would sometimes get puffy but mostly just itchy, dry, scaly, red. Candida causes you to have multiple food and chemical sensitivities so my problem wasn't just with sulfites but a lot of the things I was eating. Do some research on Candida. Try going doing the candida diet and see if your symptoms improve. It is tough (no sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods, no fruits except berries). I've been on that diet for two months and I have not had any eye problems since I did that and my face has gotten much better and no longer need to take my prescription. It's not completely gone from my face but it is much improved. I will continue on this diet a few more months and hopefully it will be gone.

    If you think you have candida you can treat it yourself with this diet and anti-candida herbals like oregano oil and grapefruit seed extract. Doing a colon/kidney cleanse would help too.

    Also switch all your skin products with fragrance free, sulfite free and paraben free products. including laundry detergents.

    Good luck!

  3. Neem leaves is greatest against candida

  4. I suffer from a pretty severe sulfite allergy. It seems as though every food that contains them makes me break out in a rash. Can anyone here help me out? Do you all know of some way to detect if foods have sulfites in them? Is there some concentration level in food that won’t provoke my allergies?

  5. I suffer from a pretty severe sulfite allergy. It seems as though every food that contains them makes me break out in a rash. Can anyone here help me out? Do you all know of some way to detect if foods have sulfites in them? Is there some concentration level in food that won’t provoke my allergies?

  6. Here's a good list of foods containing sulfite. I personally just changed my diet for the past year to mainly meat/vegetables and no processed foods and am doing much better.

  7. Hey Samantha. I know exactly how you feel. I have a pretty severe sulfite allergy as well, but I’ve been dealing with it for quite some time now. Paula's list is a great one. And if you’re questionable about a particular food or drink, you can easily test whether they contain sulfites or not. I’ve ordered sulfite detectors online and used them at home. They have really helped me to determine which foods and drinks are safe for me.