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Itching for artisan/handcrafted cosmetic and bath products

This post is authored by, Jennifer Sikora:

It happened to me. Twice. The first time was at a spa in the Caribbean. It sounded like a great option: Fresh coconut body scrub. Sign me up! Unfortunately, about 10 minutes into my treatment, the woman who was 'scrubbing' me asked: "Do you have a skin condition?" Turns out, my body was breaking out in hives, also known as urticaria. Fortunately, that time, a few antihistamines did the trick and the hives were gone in about two hours.

The second time, it wasn't as obvious and took me a few days to figure out what was happening. I started developing hives once I got to the office (allergic to work?!), and they were mostly on my upper body. This happened for the next few days. Then it dawned on me: I had been using a new 'fancy' bar soap that I had purchased at one of those handcrafted and artisan cosmetic stores. In my case, the soap contained honey, honeycomb, and some kind of nut-based extract. A few weeks later, an allergist confirmed that I had a nut allergy that included coconut.

Unfortunately, this means for me that all these fantastic retail stores and offerings in the category of artisan, handcrafted, all-natural cosmetic and bath products require additional scrutiny or even avoidance. It's too bad; I would love to be a consumer of those goods – but not at the expense of itchy and blotched skin.

Diagnosis and treatment of urticaria can be usually handled very easily and quickly through an online visit with a board-certified dermatologist, such as on

Because even acute urticaria can last up to 6 weeks after its onset, most patients won't want to endure the drowsy side effects of first-generation over-the-counter antihistamines. Instead, a prescription for another antihistamine (and sometimes the addition of a steroid prescription will help too) may be needed from a doctor.

Cosmetic, bath, personal care, and even household products (such as detergents and cleaning products) are frequently the culprits of allergic hives, rashes, or other skin reactions that can be treated by a dermatologist. An online dermatologist can also help assess whether your case is one of acute or chronic urticaria, the latter of which might need a different diagnostic and treatment plan.

Feeling itchy? Start an online visit with a board-certified dermatologist now at