Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7 (NIV)
I was reminded today that I never posted what the results of the allergy testing were. I am allergic to formaldehyde and all of its related chemicals. Did you know that there is formaldehyde in shampoo, conditioner, furniture, clothing, soap, sunscreen, bubble bath, moisturizer, make up, and many other products? I used several things that all contained the offending ingredients so needed to stop using them right away. I decided to focus on four changes. The easiest was to cover our fake leather couch with a slipcover. The formaldehyde in the fake leather was what was causing the skin rash on my legs that would often keep me awake at night with terrible itching. The second thing I changed was my laundry soap. I noticed that I itched more when I used Purex Free and Clear, so I changed to All brand Free and Clear and that is working better. The third change was in my shampoo and face products. I have always relied on Neutrogena products, but many of their products contain diazolidnyl urea which is another name for formaldehyde. Armed with a list of chemicals to avoid, I went to the store to try and find substitutes. I was surprised how hard it was, and while I found Neutrogena Naturals Night Cream, and Aveeno Calming Cleanser, it was impossible to narrow down the shampoos because they are so many products. Using the Internet, I discovered Free and Clear Shampoo by Pharmaceutical Specialties, but it did not leave my hair feeling clean. So, I switched to Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo and that seems to work for me so far without making me itch. The fourth change was in my sunscreen. I had a sample of COTZ (which means “contains only titanium and zinc”) sunscreen that was sent to me with my new bathing suit. When we went to Rainbow River last week, I gingerly tried it as sunscreen was the greatest cause of my itching. It works so I ordered a tube on line. It is very expensive so I will use it sparingly and rely on the long sleeves and pants to keep all but my face covered. With those four changes, I have been itch and allergy free. Funny how all these years, I didn’t know the cause and now that I have the test results, it seems so clear what my problem was! Like an allergy test, the Holy Spirit guides us when we need direction. Sometimes, it is like an itch that won’t leave us alone until we follow His leading. Sometimes, it is a tingle that makes us think, “Maybe I shouldn’t behave that way.” While the Holy Spirit corrects us and helps us grow, God still loves us when we are messy and imperfect. He doesn’t ask us to be clean and sinfree when we turn to Him. The Bible says when He washes us, we are white as snow. And I bet His soap doesn’t have formaldehyde in it!