WARNING ⚠️ GRAPHIC IMAGES
I made a link between certain things I was putting on and in my body to the extreme skin symptoms I was experiencing long before I had a diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
When I say extreme, I mean extreme. At one point I spent multiple weeks in the hospital where it was eventually deduced that there was something immunological going on after what feels like every antibiotic know to man was pumped into my veins and only made things worse.
This was back before the Insurance Marketplace existed, and due to a pre-existing condition I was unable to get insurance. I had to pay out-of-pocket to see a variety of specialists, none of whom could figure out what was going on.
I began to take a strict inventory of what I was coming into contact with on a daily basis to try and see if there was any correlation between the symptoms I was experiencing and my environment. Artificial fragrances were the first obvious trigger I noticed that would without fail produce a reaction.
I couldn’t really find any body products in my price range that were free of fragrance, preservatives or parabans, so I used home-made shampoo, conditioner, face cream - basically everything - for almost a year until I could find suitable replacements.
I started avoiding artificial colors, flavors and preservatives in my food as well. This lead to more fresh choices and less processed foods which unintentionally reduced my intake of foods that were high in histamine and/or culprits behind mast cell degranulation.
I quit burning candles that had fragrance in them and using air fresheners and perfumes. I requested that those around me do so as well in my presence. I started making my own laundry detergent and quit using dryer sheets.
When I noticed a correlation between certain medications and adverse symptoms, I quit taking them.
The reactions I was having slowly became less frequent and less severe. I’m still not sure how much of what I have experienced can be attributed to MCAS, and I still experience multi-system complications - including dermatological symptoms - but nothing as severe as what you see in some of these pictures.