Thanks to everyone who's shared their story. It's good to know I'm not alone in my misery. ;)
I found this forum while also doing a search on "band-aid allergy" to get to the bottom of my allergic reactions. After finally getting tested, I discovered some answers to why I have bad reactions to certain bandages and not others. I hope what I share will be helpful to those reading this as well. Here's my story:
12 years ago, when I was 21, I fell off a scooter and scraped up my elbow and knees. I put Band-aid brand bandages on them (which I had always used before without problems), but days later, started getting a rash of hundreds of tiny blisters wherever the adhesive had touched! The blisters were so itchy, I involuntarily scratched them at night during my sleep, thereby popping them, which seemed to make the rash spread even more!
I tried putting Neosporin and hydrocortisone on the blisters/rash, but they did nothing to alleviate the itch or the rash! After 2 weeks without improvement, I finally went to a dermatologist who told me I probably had developed a contact allergy to latex. He prescribed "clobetasol propionate 0.05% ointment" for me, a stronger steroid than hydrocortisone, which immediately made things better! As soon as I put it on, the itch stopped, and within a couple days, the blisters were gone and my rash was finally starting to heal.
What boggled me years later was that I realized I wasn't allergic to latex. I could used latex gloves and latex condoms just fine. But I found that as long as I used "latex-free" bandages, I wouldn't get any bad reactions. ... until recently that is.
So, to solve the mystery, I finally went to get some extensive patch testing done with an allergist. What I discovered is that I am allergic to COLOPHONY (also known as ABIETIC ACID, or ROSIN), which is used in a lot of different adhesives and glues -- including some bandages, shoes, clothing, etc.
It was such an AHA! moment for me, solving so many mysteries I had in the past, like why I had an allergic reaction to a new bra (which upon inspection, had been assembled with adhesive on the front and sides), or to a left sandal and not the right ( to which there was some visible adhesive residue left over from manufacturing, and after removed with "Goo-gone", was no longer a problem). :)
The problem is, however, that even after knowing what my allergy is, it doesn't mean I will know which adhesives to avoid and which ones are safe for me, because companies don't list the ingredients in their adhesives!
But this is what I do know: I have no issues with 3M adhesives. 3M scotch tape, masking tape, blue tape, green tape, Micropore surgical paper tape, Nexcare, post-its, you name it -- they work great for me. Most latex-free bandages are good, but not all, so when in doubt, I just use some gauze (or tissue) and 3M tape to cover any wounds as needed. Also, if I start to see or sense a rash coming on, or catch it early (before any blisters develop), I use soap and alcohol wipes (or goo-gone) to remove the adhesive immediately off my skin. Then, a simple over-the-counter Hydrocortisone cream is usually enough to prevent the rash from developing or make it go away without me having to pull out the stronger stuff (Clobetasol).
But, what works for me may not work for everyone else because we may have different allergies to the numerous ingredients that go into adhesives. The best advice is to stick to the brands that are tried and true for YOU. It's a TRIAL AND ERROR process, but be vigilant. (For me, I check every bra I buy to avoid any that are assembled with adhesives -- which is a new trend apparently!)
And if you do by chance read my story, and discover for yourself the same patterns of allergic reactions as I had, then maybe you have a colophony allergy, too, in which case, I hope my post here helped.
Because knowing is half the battle! (G.I. JOE!!!) haha.
Good Luck Everyone, and get tested if you can! :)
Post Edited (Sandy Gravel) : 5/5/2014 7:59:58 AM (GMT-6)