How Tricia handles her allergic reactions to ingredients in skin care and food
A group of 8 of us sat around a large table at Seasons 52 in Seaport, San Diego.
Sitting next to me was Tricia Callahan of Once a Month Meals. We were introduced at a conference and I was delighted to be invited to join this table of very intelligent and creative people.
Little did I know that it was Tricia's conversation with the waiter that caught my attention the most.
It went something like this: The waiter begins to scribble Tricia's order as she places it, but Tricia interrupts him to ask,
"Oh wait. Is there paprika in that?"
The waiter shakes his head.
"No garnish? Seasoned salt? No dried pepper flakes, right?"
I stared at her. How can she even eat? She was so specific about her allergies that I couldn't help but ask her about them.
"Red bell peppers are fine, but I can't have red pepper that's dry or hot. I have to avoid meat rubs, chipotle peppers..." and she rattled off a few other skin triggers.
"Please let me interview you!" I said. "My customers deal with skin conditions from allergies they probably don't even know they have. I want to hear your story."
The next day met up on the roof of the hotel building where we spent 45 minutes talking about her skin issue journey. I found out:
- what a spa treatment did to her skin,
- which skin care product ingredient caused her to break out,
- how she found out she has a capsaicin intolerance,
- what triggered her psoriasis,
- what in dye ingredient found in men's products caused her son to break out, and
- how she manages her skin and life now that she knows the triggers.
Are you or a family member struggling with a skin condition?
Listen in to the first part (6 minutes) of our interview here:
Tricia Callahan: (00:53)
About two years ago I was breaking out in psoriasis type stuff, so very itchy, behind my ears scaling, on my jawbone. It just kind of popped up in my life. I really, really struggled with it. And so, I went to see a dermatologist.
Tricia describes her journey of seeking out a TOPICAL DERMATOLOGIST, which involved taking all of her skin care products to the doctor's office for testing.
Tricia Callahan: (02:11)
Then they test against some baseline stuff that they test against. But they put these little metallic tabs on your back. They tape them on with the tape and you leave them on for a couple of days for an allergy test.
Renee Harris: (02:23)
So are you supposed to also use the products like you normally would or you're supposed to not use them?
No, you're not supposed to use any products. You're not supposed to take a shower. You're not supposed to sweat because it will all run together. And so, you have these strict instructions. And then you come back and they tell you the thing that you reacted to.
What precipitated this?
Tricia had treated herself to a spa experience and it was right after this that she had a flare-up.
Tricia Callahan: (02:47)
And I had taken my essential oils because my husband's like, "You need to take those. You're probably reacting to some of those." So I took those, too. I took those products and it was not the essential oils.
In fact, it was parfum. Parfum and fragrance. They're like, "Any product that says fragrance or parfum you need to run from because you're going to react to it." And so, I was like, "All right." I came home and every product, my deodorant, my shampoo, my shaving cream, everything I had had parfum.
Tricia is also allergic to gluten.
Tricia Callahan: (04:11)
And so, I need gluten free non-parfum products. It's not an easy thing to find, not at all.
Yeah, we get questions on that and it never dawned on me that it could absorb right into your skin and affect it that much, even gluten. So gluten is in a lot of preservatives like vitamin E. It could be a wheat-based vitamin E.
I had no idea about that until you said it.
Tricia Callahan: (04:47)
Yes. So there are times still that I get these flareups and what I have realized is that despite the doctor saying it's just topical there is some connection to food I eat. And so, when I do eat gluten or I have consumed some sort of gluten, I do a little cheat every now and then, I break out in the same way. I break out with the scaly- right behind my ears right here and then through my jawbone right here it gets red and itchy and the more I've had the bigger the flare. Then it peels. It's like I'm scaling. Almost like I have dandruff but on my face ...
✔️ Do you have flare-ups, psoriasis, eczema?
✔️ Do your skin care products contain parfum, perfume, or fragrance?
✔️ Are you allergic to gluten?
✔️ Have you checked out topical dermatology?
Tricia is the owner of Once a Month Meals, a meal-planning program that teaches you how to create 30 freezer meals in one day.
The recipes are categorized by allergens so those who are avoiding gluten, dairy, nuts, or if you're AIP, THM, diabetic, you'll find thousands of recipes. This is a free source although if you become a member, you'll have access to much, much more. My link is an affiliate link: https://onceamonthmeals.com/recipes/?ref=madeon&campaign=blogpost
Ready for more of Tricia's story? Click here to read on...