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How to Manage “The Itch” from Topical Steroid Withdrawal 0

Topical steroids are prescribed medication for a wide range of skin condition. They simulate natural hormones in the body and provide “anti-inflammatory” action, mainly to reduce redness, swelling and irritation. These symptoms are very common to eczema and to keep it at bay, doctors are lead to increase the use of topical steroids and of higher potency. Higher dosage and usage will cause Topical Steroid Addiction and the way to recover from it is to undergo withdrawal.

 

Just like any other withdrawal treatments, there are symptoms experienced such as:  red, burning skin, rashes, swelling, flaking, oozing blisters, enlarged lymph nodes, sleep difficulty and systemic itchiness to name a few. These symptoms fall under what they call the “Red Skin Syndrome (RSS)”.

 

 

So how do people deal with “The Itch”? Here are some tips on managing it:

  1. Maintain Control: Take note of your allergens and irritants, and try to eliminate all possible causes that can trigger the itch. Keep in mind that the more you scratch, the itchiniess is not actually alleviated but rather causes the release of histamine which makes you want to scratch more.
  2. Practice Mindful Scratching: Have the mindset to avoid scratching a habit. This might be difficult at first especially when the itch is persistent, but building a habit is a gradual process. Have a friend that will constantly remind you on this and to watch out for you whenever you are instinctively scratching more than you should.
  3. Distract Yourself: Avert your thoughts from the discomfort and itchiness and do something that keeps your hand busy to stop yourself from scratching.
  4. Apply Temperature: Temperature changes can facilitate comfort. Put an ice pack, rinse in cold water or take a cold bath can lessen the itch on the spot. Others can find warm temperature comforting as well but be careful not to apply it too hot.
  5. Wear Itch-free Garments: Your daily wear plays a great role in managing itchiness from Topical Steroid Withdrawal, hence why Cottonique was made. Clothing yourself in an all-natural, chemical-free, 100% cotton material will greatly improve RSS symptoms and aid in reducing itchiness. Use materials that are hypoallergenic and both latex- and spandex-free.

 

These are all helpful tips in managing the symptoms of Topical Steroid Withdrawal, however, always keep in mind to consult your doctor before starting your topical steroid withdrawal and work together on your journey of being itch-free!

 

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Can Bananas Actually Trigger a Latex Allergy? 3

Latex allergy reactions usually break out after your skin comes into contact with the substance. In fact, for many people, it’s become synonymous with contact dermatitis, or the kind of allergic reaction that causes rashes and itching to occur on skin that’s been exposed directly to latex. This is why individuals with these allergies avoid touching items that are made with latex, such as balloons and surgical gloves. It’s also why they wear latex-free organic cotton clothing, like what we offer here at Cottonique. The most important guideline there is to living with latex allergies is simply “Don’t touch it.”

So why should people suffering from a latex allergy think twice about eating bananas?

Bananas belong to a group of fruits and vegetables known to be cross-reactive with latex allergies. What this means is that patient who are allergic to latex may suffer either similar or more serious reactions if they ingest these foods. The condition is often referred to as latex-food or latex-fruit syndrome, and the reason this happens is remarkable.

Latex-fruit food items have been found to contain proteins that are similar – but not exactly the same – in structure to latex. This leads to the human immune system’s antibodies mistaking proteins for the compound, even though they technically aren’t. As a result, the antibodies react in the same way, creating swelling and irritation at the area of contact. This can actually be a little more serious than contact dermatitis because the swelling might occur in your throat, limiting your air supply.

Latex-fruit syndrome is believed to be rather prevalent in patients with latex allergies. Some experts find that close to 70 percent of latex-allergic people will experience an allergic reaction to one latex-fruit, while 50 percent will suffer reactions from more than one of these foods. It’s because of this that it would be a good idea to watch what you eat, if you have a latex allergy.

The main culprits for latex-fruit syndrome are bananas, avocados, chestnuts, and kiwis. Some people can also get allergic reactions from  apples, celery, tomatoes, papaya, carrots, and melons, although it doesn’t happen as often with these foods as it does with the first four we mentioned. If you’ve been diagnosed with latex allergies, it might be a good idea to get an allergy test for latex-fruits, too.

Remember, prevention is always the best cure, and it can only come from awareness.

 

Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cavendish_banana_from_Maracaibo.jpg

Does Skin Actually “Breathe”? 0

Here at Cottonique, we make a big deal about letting skin breathe, especially if you want to avoid the symptoms of atopic dermatitis showing up. That’s why we make sure that our 100% organic cotton apparel is not only soft, but breathable as well. But what exactly does “breathable” mean? And why is this so good for the skin?

Skin doesn’t breathe in the traditional sense, that is, inhaling and exhaling air. It does, however, need to maintain healthy levels of heat and moisture, and that’s where breathable clothing comes into the picture. If you’ve ever been inside a stuffy room, you know what it feels like – it’s hot, humid, and a little harder to breathe in that sort of environment. That’s because all the heat and moisture generated by whatever’s inside, including yourself, isn’t exiting the room fast enough.

It’s the same situation with your skin and clothes that aren’t breathable, like apparel made of synthetic fibers. These garments tend to keep the heat from your skin inside, rather than let it leave. At the same time, they also can’t draw excess moisture away from your skin fast enough, and suddenly it feels like your outfit is a miniature sauna.

Put the excess heat and moisture retention together, and you’ve got the recipe for a heat rash. The humidity underneath your clothing can make your atopic dermatitis symptoms flare up, and that’s certainly no fun.

We at Cottonique strive to develop clothes that not only help your skin stay cool by letting heat flow freely outwards, but also maintain a decent amount of moisture through our fabric’s moisture-wicking properties. Even better, our all-natural cotton is extremely soft to the touch and, coupled with our advanced stitching techniques, is very non-abrasive.

Give your skin a breather today!

 

Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human-nose.jpg

Can Bathing Too Much Worsen My Eczema? 1

One of the golden rules to managing eczema is “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize” – so it makes sense that a good, long soak in the tub is best for your troubled skin, right? It might surprise you to learn that too much bathing can actually have the opposite effect: your skin might get dryer the longer you keep in the tub.

How does this happen? It’s important to keep in mind that the outer layer of our skin is held together by lipids, which are basically fatty compounds. These lipids are composed of the natural oils our bodies produce, which help keep our skin moist while also warding off potentially harmful bacteria. That’s right – oily skin is actually a good thing.

When we bathe, we’re effectively removing the lipids from our skin. That’s why your face stops feeling oily after a good washing. If we remove too much of the lipids, however, we run into some problems.

Because the lipids work partially as the cement that binds the cells on our skin’s protective outer layer, we risk exposing the more sensitive skin underneath to the elements. What’s worse, our skin can’t produce the oils fast enough to make for how much we remove. This leaves skin exposed and lacking in the vital oils that keep it moist – which in turn makes us more vulnerable to the dry, cracking flakes people with eczema are all too familiar with.

So how frequently should we bathe? Some experts say once a week is a good rule of thumb. Others say that it’s not how often we bathe, but how we conduct our baths that matters. Hot water, for instance, can break down skin lipids rather quickly, so it’s best to stick with lukewarm water. A 10- to 15-minute shower or soak will also keep you clean without harming your skin’s “armor”; any longer, and you risk losing some of that protection. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t be scrubbing too roughly, either.

However you choose to bathe, make sure that you do two things afterwards: moisturize your skin with a (preferably organic) lotion, and allow your skin to breathe by putting on all-natural cotton clothing. With proper skin care, you can minimize eczema conditions to a point where it’s hardly even any bother.

 

Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bubble_bath.jpg

Five Natural Household Remedies for Skin Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis, and Eczema 1

Living with skin allergies isn't the easiest thing in the world; conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema can lead to itchy, sometimes painful flareups on your skin. Although prevention will always be better than a temporary cure, we can't always avoid the occasional allergic reaction or two. Here are a few natural ways you can deal with the symptoms of a skin allergy:

1. Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is a popular chicken pox remedy for a reason; oats contain avenanthramides, which reduce swelling, itching, and irritation on skin. As a bonus, these organic compounds are also antioxidants, helping keep your skin safe from harmful free radicals.
To soothe your skin, all you need to do is mix in about one cup of oatmeal to a lukewarm bath, and then soak in the water for around 20 minutes. You could also add just enough water to turn your oatmeal into a paste, and then apply it to your skin like lotion.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is not only an effective anti-inflammatory, but it also has anti-bacterial properties, which helps you get rid of itching in more ways than one.
Since the vinegar on its own might be too acidic for your skin, you'll need to dilute it with equal parts water before gently dabbing it onto the affected area with a cotton ball. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth after 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Peppermint
If you've got spare peppermint leaves lying around the house, then you have the key ingredient for a nice, cooling salve. Pound the leaves into a paste with a tiny amount of clean water, and then rub the mixture onto your skin. The mint will cool the area, numbing it just enough to stop the itching and reduce the swelling.

4. Cold Water
Of course, you could always be more direct with your cooling and apply chilled water to the troublesome spot. Dip a piece of cloth or bandage into very cold water, and then lay it over the affected area.
The difference between this trick and the peppermint paste is that there's a chance you'll need to re-dip your cloth into the cold water every now and then, as your body heat will eventually warm the liquid up.

5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is lauded for its moisturizing properties. What fewer people know, however, is that it's also a great cleanser. The oil can help eliminate microbes that contribute to the irritation on your skin. 
Simply apply a thin film of coconut oil over the site of your allergic reaction. Over time, you'll notice that the rashes, flaking, and sore/itchy spots will fade away.

Now, even though all these skin allergy remedies are organic, that doesn't mean your skin will take kindly to them. Always do an allergy test with these substances before proceeding with the full treatment.
Again, prevention really is the best way to deal with skin allergies, so try to stay away from harmful chemicals that might irritate your skin. Wearing pure, organic cotton clothing is always a great start!

Six Ordinary Household Items that May Contain Latex 0

Although living with latex allergies is far from impossible, it does entail a little more mindfulness. Those of us who are allergic to latex often need to make sure that the things we touch don't contain the substance; otherwise, there's a chance we break out in itchy, uncomfortable rashes.

Clothing continues to be the most common culprit for these reactions, which is why 100% organic cotton clothing is still one of the best options for dealing with latex allergies. However, it does also pay to be aware of what other common items might cause a reaction. Here are a few of the more often-encountered products that might contain latex:

 

1. Balloons

Almost all of the balloons you'll encounter have latex in them, as the substance is both stretchy and lightweight enough to make ideal floating balloons. You're generally safe from any allergic reactions when dealing with them, however, as you're usually holding onto their sticks and strings rather than the balloon itself. Just don't go around inflating them through your lips!

Kidding aside, there are latex-free balloons in the market. These tend to be significantly more expensive, however, and less flexible in terms of design. If you know a kid who has latex allergies and absolutely loves balloons, these are a fantastic option.

 

2. Band-Aids

These adhesive bandages work so well on skin mostly because they're elastic. Unfortunately, this also means that they probably contain latex, and may cause your skin more harm than they're worth. Again, look for elastic-free options if you have a wound that needs covering up. Your safest bet, though, is to use cotton bandages secured with non-elastic tape instead. Just take note that some adhesives might themselves contain latex, so be careful!

 

3. Pacifiers

You can never be too careful with babies! Rubber pacifiers tend to contain latex, as well as the potentially harmful BPA. If you'd rather keep your little bundle of joy from sucking her thumb, some moms recommend using your own pinky finger when your darling needs it the most. Otherwise, there are plastic pacifiers, but these generally aren't recommended because the firmness might affect tooth growth.

 

4. Racket Handles

If you're an avid tennis or badminton player, you'll know how troubling the rubberized racket handles can sometimes be. Players with latex allergies often use gloves to protect their skin, as wrapping the handles in cloth usually makes your grip weaker. Kind in mind that gloves, headbands, and other accessories might also contain latex, so read the labels before you try them on.

 

5. Tires

The next time you need to change a flat and you've got latex allergies, consider wearing gloves. Car and bicycle tires more often than not contain latex, but you normally don't want to compromise their durability by using an alternative material. Tires are simply one of those grin-and-bear-it items; you probably won't have much of an alternative to them, so the best thing you can do is work around them.

 

6. Dishwashing Gloves

When you want to keep your hands nice and dry while doing the dishes, don't settle for the usual fare. Instead, look for latex-free dishwashing gloves, or gloves with cloth inner linings, at the very least. You can also try using disposable plastic gloves; although they don't offer the same protection as the hardier rubber gloves, your skin will at least be free from latex.

 

Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Balloons_(7889858270).jpg

How Clothing Affects the Environment 0

Fashion moves faster and faster with each passing year, and with it goes your average consumer. We're living in a world of "fast fashion", in which clothes are designed, manufactured, purchased and disposed of at a staggering rate. While we run ourselves ragged in keeping up with the latest trends, do we ever stop to consider what this rapid pace is doing to Mother Earth?
It's doing a lot, apparently. Many clothing manufacturing processes produce a lot of chemical waste that finds its way into our water. Dyes, bleach, and even formaldehyde are mixed into the water wasted generated by these factories and seep into our rivers and lakes. These substances not only contain toxins that are harmful to the environment, but some of them are also recognized carcinogens.
Synthetic fibers are often made with petroleum-based products that contribute to ozone depletion. Nylon, for example, has nitrous oxide as a manufacturing byproduct. This greenhouse gas is more than 300% worse than carbon dioxide. These artificial fabrics are also usually non-biodegradable, and discarded clothing made from these materials can sit in landfills for decades. Combine this with how quickly modern consumers buy and then get rid of clothing, and you've got a waste management problem.
Even plant-derived fabrics play an indirect role in harming the environment, outside of the manufacturing process. While the crops themselves don't do any damage, the pesticides used to protect are a significant source of environmental degradation. 
Supporting 100% organic clothing is more important than ever these days. By wearing chemical-free garments, you're effectively reducing your own pollution footprint while increasing the demand for environmentally conscious clothing. We at Cottonique firmly believe that we have a responsibility to our planet, and do our best in providing you with organic, Earth-friendly apparel. Together, we can work together in making sustainable clothing solutions the latest trend.

How Do I Know if I Have Eczema, and Not Something Else? 1

The truth of the matter is, eczema has a lot of overlapping symptoms with other skin problems. The most common signs - dry, itchy skin; swollen reddish patches; and rashes - are the same with other conditions, like seborrhoeic dermatitis or psoriasis. Other times, it could just be an allergic reaction to something in your environment, and therefore remain relatively harmless. While you'll only know for sure whether or not you have eczema after a visit to the dermatologist, here are a few ways to make sure that a trip to the doctor is even necessary at all:

Check the risk factors

Like all conditions, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of symptoms being connected to eczema. The more the following factors apply to you, the greater the chance is that you have eczema:

1. Your parents have it

Eczema factors into our genetics, and if one or both of your parents have it, there's a chance that you've "inherited" the condition from them. Even if your parents don't have it, there's still a small chance that you're predisposed towards eczema if other relatives have the disorder.

2. You're female
According to this 2009 study about eczema prevalence in children, the condition was more common in girls than in boys. Although further research is required to explain why this seems to be the case, the trend is supported by other studies.

3. Asthma and hay fever run in the family

There's also a higher prevalence of eczema in families with members suffering from asthma or seasonal allergies. It doesn't necessarily have to be a parent with the condition; brothers, sisters, and even cousins with asthma may mean a larger chance of you having eczema.

4. Latex allergies

Although the symptoms you experience may be an allergic reaction to the proteins of latex, it appears that eczema is more common among individuals with this sensitivity. If you experience any adverse reactions to latex, get yourself tested for eczema as well as the allergy itself.

 

It acts up in the more common spots

The symptoms of eczema occur most often in specific spots; the back of the knee and the outward-facing side of your elbow. This is one of the ways the condition is most easily differentiated from psoriasis, and should be a tell-tale sign that you have eczema. 

 

Your environment brings out the symptoms

Your surroundings might be telling you more than you think. Eczema is more common in urban areas with lower humidity levels, so try to see if leaving these places helps in dealing with the symptoms. Eczema symptoms also tend to flare up during the winter. Significant temperature changes - such as moving into a very cold room after spending an afternoon in the summer heat - might also exacerbate the effects.

 

If any of the above apply to you, there's a chance that the itching and rashes you experience are symptoms of eczema. Head on to your dermatologist to get yourself checked, and try adjusting your lifestyle accordingly. Wearing chemical-free, 100% organic cotton clothing is always a good start.

 

Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Physical_Exam_-_Stethoscope.jpg

How Do I Know if I’m Allergic to Latex? 1

Roughly 5 out of 100 people have a latex allergy, making it a fairly uncommon condition. However, many folks afflicted with the allergy might not even know they have it, as symptoms can sometimes be mild enough to ignore. No allergic reaction should be brushed aside, though, as allergies can worsen with increased exposure to the irritant. Here’s what to look out for in case you think you might have a latex allergy:

 

1. Redness and itching around the waist, chest, and shins

The most typical allergic reaction to latex comes in the form of skin irritation. Welts, hives, and general redness might occur at the parts of your body that are most often in contact with the substance because of clothing, namely: your waist (underwear bands), chest (bras and bra straps), and shins (socks). There’s also a chance these areas could itch, and the skin in the affected spots might dry out. At worst, the skin irritation feels like a burning sensation, so be on the lookout!

 

2. Runny nose and sneezing

Although a runny nose is usually associated with hay fever, it could also be the sign of an allergy to latex. Sneezing is another surprising symptom people don’t usually connect to latex, but it can happen when you accidentally inhale latex particles. This commonly happens with latex gloves, which also have a higher chance of being positioned near your nose while you’re working with them.

 

3. Itchy or teary eyes

This most often happens when items containing latex are worn on the face, like sleeping masks, although gloves are another common culprit. The irritants can land on the sensitive surface of your eyes, which will then tear up in an attempt to flush the latex out. You can also watch for redness in and around your eyes.

 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after being exposed to latex, there’s a chance you’re allergic to it. Visit your immunologist to get tested for the allergy before it gets worse. If the tests do prove positive, make the switch to latex-free clothing and 100% organic cotton apparel as soon as you can. While allergies typically cannot be cured, they can be avoided. Remember, knowledge is your best friend when it comes to allergies.

Three Common Clothing Chemicals You should Avoid (If You’re Allergic!) 0

While many people understand that a lot of chemicals go into the clothing manufacturing process, most aren’t completely sure of what these chemicals are – and why they could be harmful for those with skin allergies. The chemical treatments often leave residue on the fabric, which could then come into contact with skin, resulting in itchy, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful reactions. Here are three of the most common chemicals that go into clothes as they’re being made:

Towels being bleached during production. (Source)

1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, which most folks recognize to be the preserving agent for those animal specimens we see floating in jars at biology labs, has multiple uses in clothes production. The chemical is used to prevent wrinkles, fight off stains and mildew, and preserve colors in clothing. Unfortunately, it’s also a major cause for allergic reactions, and has been identified as a possible cancer risk.

2. Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite, known better to most households as bleach, is often used in the manufacturing process to make clothing stark-white, as natural cotton has a creamy tinge to it. The chemical – along with other bleaches – can cause severe irritation to the skin. In fact, the kind we see in household products is a very dilute solution, as the substance can be very harmful in stronger concentrations. A large portion of bleaches are chlorine-based, making it doubly dangerous for people who are allergic to chlorine.

3. Para-phenylenediamine

Para-pheylenediamine is used mainly in fabric dyes because colors treated with the chemical tend to fade less quickly. Although it isn’t very toxic, it’s a widely known contact allergen, meaning direct contact with human skin should be avoided. A good number of allergic reactions from henna tattoos, for instance, are a result of para-phenylenediamine.

If your skin is sensitive to any of these substances, you should look into organic, untreated cotton clothing. These items are guaranteed to have undergone no chemical processes, significantly reducing your risk of exposure to these allergens. Organic cotton undershirts and organic cotton underwear are among the most useful pieces, as you can wear them as a protective layer under other clothes that would normally cause allergic reactions.

The best way to fight allergies, of course, is to be informed, so consult your doctor if you have any suspicious reactions to your clothing.

We're Having a Fourth of July Sale! 9

This Fourth of July weekend, celebrate your freedom from chemically-treated clothing with massive savings at Cottonique! We're offering a 20% discount on all items from July 4 to 6, 2014!

On Independence Day, we celebrate our emancipation from elastics, our liberation from latex, and our autonomy from allergens! Take charge of your destiny and free yourself from the tyranny of treated textiles!

Join the 100% organic revolution!

  • Admin Cottonique

Breathe Easy with Cottonique’s Allergy-Free Bras 0

 A lot of problems associated with bras can be fixed simply by getting fitted for the right size. When it comes to rashes, itching, and other symptoms of skin allergies, however, it’s more a matter of material. Cottonique’s 100% cotton bras are exactly what the doctor’s ordered, especially if you’re among the many women who are allergic to their bras.

 

Wait – I Can Be Allergic to My Bra?

It’s not exactly the bra you might be allergic to, but what’s in it: latex. The latex found in the elastic bands and straps of conventional bras contain allergens that irritate sensitive skin, resulting in a slew of possible reactions that range from annoying to downright distressing.

Common symptoms of a latex allergy include itching, swelling, and the drying of skin. Dry skin can start of flake off and red rashes can develop. Allergies can get so bad that you could develop a serious case of eczema, which might cause your skin to crack or bleed. There’s also a chance that the allergy could lead to a case of psoriasis, which can sometimes result in pustules that break out on your skin.

 

Bra Elastic Allergy

That Sounds Horrible! How Do I Prevent Allergies?

You can avoid allergic reactions by keeping your skin free from irritants. That might be a little tough to pull off when you’re allergic to your underwear, but Cottonique’s got you covered where it counts. Our 100% organic cotton bras contain zero latex, zero rubber, and zero harmful chemicals, making each bra a welcome hypoallergenic piece of heaven.

Cottonique bras go the extra mile in being allergy-free, making sure no textile dyes and resins become part of the manufacturing process. There’s no metal to irritate your skin, either – just hypoallergenic plastic clasps and sliders for designs that use them. Even the tags used on Cottonique’s bras are allergy-free. Nothing synthetic is in the fabric; the only thing that touches your skin is pure organic cotton.

 

What About Support?

The most important feature of any bra is support, and Cottonique offers a wide variety of designs to help you get the right kind. Our pullover and front closure bras use a special rubber-free elastic for maximum support without irritating your skin. 

The drawstring and other adjustable designs, on the other hand, provide an adequate amount of lift and support without the need for any sort of elastic.

Each latex-free bra is manufactured with durability and comfort in mind, giving you a soft, breathable bra you can wear for ages. The fit and fabric work together to give you the support you require, without using spandex or other rubber-based elastics. Cottonique bras can be used for everyday activities as well as high-intensity workouts, all without losing their shape and form.

Cottonique bras are a breath of fresh air for anyone suffering from skin allergies. If you’re tired of feeling itchy in your bra area after a long day, switching to our 100% organic cotton bras will give you the peace of mind you deserve.