With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

09 September 2008

What IS in Coppertone and OFF?

If you've experienced or seen an allergic reaction to sunscreen or mosquito repellent, please write a comment so we can compare notes.  Tell us which foods you or your loved one is allergic to, which product caused the reaction, and what kind of reaction it was.

Yesterday, before preschool, I applied Coppertone to my 4 year old's face, arms and legs, and OFF Family Care with 7% DEET to his arms, legs, and neck and a little in the hair on the back of his head.  I had to touch his face near his mouth ever so gently, to wipe a spot clean, and he broke out in hives on his face.  I don't know whether it was the mosquito repellant or sunscreen that caused it.  But it makes me nervous.

I really don't like to put all of these chemicals on him. But, we do have a lot of woods where we live, and we've each already had a deer tick this summer. Thankfully, I spotted the ticks very within a matter of hours! We also have West Nile Virus and other mosquito borne diseases in our area as well.  My justification for using the chemical laden mosquito repellant and sunscreen is that he doesn't need any more medical conditions added to his plate.  Today, I will use the tube of California Baby instead.  I've been avoiding it since it is more difficult to apply, but I don't want to risk more hives.

A dose of Benadryl cream on his face brought quick relief of the itching and the hives were gone within a couple hours.  This episode brings me back to an issue I periodically write and speak about--better labeling on non-food items.  I must confess the Coppertone bottle has good labeling.  It lists active and inactive ingredients.  I do not know if the ingredient list is complete, but I believe it is since they went through the effort to spell out both active and inactive ingredients.  The bottle of OFF lists DEET 7% and then "other ingredients" 93%. What's in that 93%?  On the back of the bottle in very tiny print, it says "Ethyl Alcohol, DEET, Aloe, Fragrance".  A brief internet search listed discussions of corn starch in some OFF products. First item on today's things-to-do list: to find out more about what those inactive ingredients--especially "fragrance--are.  


Vivian Mahoney said...

I love the Blue Lizard sunscreen. My daughter's dermatologist recommended it a few years ago, and it is awesome.

As for the OFF, I really limit it and just spray on my kids clothing. My middle one has eczema and it hurts her skin.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip, Vivian! I've heard of Blue Lizard--I'll have to check it out. I also am waiting for a doctor's note --can you believe that?--in order to get more detailed info on the inactive ingredients in OFF.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is allergic to peanuts, treenuts and shellfish and has eczema. She has had a reaction to almost EVERY sunscreen out there. Her reaction has been swollen eyes and blotches on her face. We have started using VaniCream 60SPF, I use the VaniCream lotion for her moisturizer too. These products were suggested by her dermatologist. Have to tell you, Coppertone was her worst reaction. I, too, would love to know what's in that stuff!

Anonymous said...

Hi Im allergic to shellfish, cats, am an athsmatic, have mild eczema in winter. I don't use sunscreen because I had a blistering reaction to it. It wasn't itchy but it took along time to go away. This same thing happen when I used a certain perfume years ago and now its from mosquito repellant. This time it worries me because its spreading slowly and its been over a month and a half since it began. Im also looking for answer!
I haven't stop using my usual products like my hemp lotion, or my paraben, dye,natural body wash so thats my next step, i think all those things just irritate my skin further although they are for sensitive skin.

Anonymous said...

... also I had an allergic reaction to that same formula of OFF! blistering bumps no itching though.
From pervious anonymous